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Can American Capitalism Survive?: Why Greed Is Not Good, Opportunity Is Not Equal, and Fairness Won't Make Us Poor
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Can American Capitalism Survive?: Why Greed Is Not Good, Opportunity Is Not Equal, and Fairness Won't Make Us Poor

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"If anyone can save capitalism from the capitalists, it's Steven Pearlstein. This lucid, brilliant book refuses to abandon capitalism to those who believe morality and justice irrelevant to an economic system." --Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at-large, Vox

Pulitzer Prize-winning economics journalist Steven Pearlstein argues that our thirty year experiment in unfettered
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pearlstein has been a jounalist writing about finance and economics for a long time. He described the current problems of American capitalism and some solutions:

1. Corporations run only to maximise profits: chief executives of public companies are so scared of hostile takeovers of corporate raiders that the only defence is a high stock price. Oh and that is good for their compensation as well. Workers are outsourced, work is automated, goods are sourced from the cheapest global source, and taxes
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
In a rousing but measured indictment of American Capitalism in its prevalent form, Steven Pearlstein in this very essential, compelling and relevant book, charts the insidious trajectory of a dangerous variety of capitalism which has gripped both the imagination as well as fervor of its fevered apologists. Raising its seemingly innocuous head as justification to and of the following three ideas (as argued by Mr. Pearlstein), capitalism has spawned a riotously active set of proponents who in the ...more
Vladimir Vasilyev
Tomorrow will be better for people than just protecting capitalism.
Morgan Schulman
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is not a book about how left-wing politics can save our country. This is written from the perspective of someone who would probably have been a moderate Republican in the 1950s or 60s, but now would be considered a Democrat. It’s how we can reform capitalism to make it non-corrupt. But still capitalism.

2018 is sad
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ultimately, I feel that Steven Pearlstein's book is very on point and accurate in it's description of why American Capitalism has lost its way and goes decently into detail of how it can be made to serve the common good.

This is likely to anger multiple sides. Market fundamentalists will likely bristle with anger at the mere suggestion that American Capitalism has any flaws or problems, besides what it is they can (try) to pin on the Government (s) they despise. Socialist fundamentalists will be
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a great fix for my nerdy macroeconomics interest. Pearlstein's journalistic style was very readable and understandable. He lays out some progressive solutions to inequality while defending the positive attributes of capitalism. In today's political arena the term "socialism" is being bantered about as a threat to America's capitalistic fervor. My view is that Pearlstein's thoughtful discussion of the shortfalls of unbridled capitalism combined with his progressive ideas, actually ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pearlstein makes convincing arguments that we should be concerned about the growing inequality between the rich and the poor, and that capitalism shouldn't be a winner-takes-all game. This book might be preaching to the choir (which I'm in) and I wonder whether the Republicans would have similarly compelling rebuttal about the issues discussed.
Cristie Underwood
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
The author laid out facts on how America can still have Capitalism, but in a non-corrupt way and how our current situation is destroying us. Very well written and easy to follow.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Who lets this stuff get published? Seriously. If you've been following the news at all in the last couple of years, nothing in this hodgepodge of stats or solutions will strike you as new or interesting. It is just a long and tedious take on inequality, wage stagnation with some choice quotes from the typical neoliberal commentators like Fukuyama and Pinker. The one bright spot is that this dude is a clear centrist--the sort of David Brookes of the left and if he's questioning the basis of ...more
Richard Subber
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Steven Pearlstein’s heart is in the right place, but he lets his mind wander in Can American Capitalism Survive?
Does a distinctly American capitalism exist? I think not.
Is Can American Capitalism Survive? a battle cry? Yes.
Does it present a workable strategy? No.
Pearlstein didn’t have to write a whole book to make the argument that greed is not good, opportunity is not equal, and fairness won’t condemn folks to poverty. Lots of other folks have done that.
Can American Capitalism Survive? is
D.  St. Germain
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: capitalism
In Can American Capitalism survive, Pulitzer-winner Steven Pearlstein sets out to address how, "in less than a generation, what was once considered the optimal system for organizing economic activity is now widely viewed, at home and abroad, as having betrayed its ideals and its purpose and forfeited its moral legitimacy."

This is a work of how we got here, a clear-eyed history lesson that examine at the assumptions underlying "Capitalism is Great!" dogma. When and why did we decide greed was
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book examines the myths promoted by the apologists for “market justice” or the idea that some form of market capitalism is inherently good and that any tinkering with the so-called “free market” will inevitably lead to economic disaster. Although the author is not an economist or political scientist he has long experience writing on these issues and has consulted a range of thinkers and data sources.

The author contends that the worship of maximized shareholder value in the short run is
Alex Lennon
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first four parts of the book are an extremely concise and efficient recitation of statistics you have probably heard before about the levels of inequality in the US economy, dangers of maximizing wealth at the exclusion of all other goals, etc. but it is very well done.

The last chapter (5) about the potential remedies to these problems is where this book is at its best. There certainly is a bit of a feeling that chapter as a stand alone article would have served the same purpose as the
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This excellent book not only outlines the problems with our economic system, but suggests how we can fix things. The title is a bit of a teaser. One of the author's main points is that the idea that corporations are to be managed with the idea of maximizing profits for shareholders and no other purpose has lead to or contributed to a lot of problems in the American economy and in society. That orientation is not legally required, and it exacerbates inequality and means that other ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A confirmation of an impression I've had for some time, that capitalism has gone off the rails in the last several decades. Much of what has happened seems to have come from the corrections to the harsh business climate of the 1970's, but after the pendulum swung toward the side of a less restrictive business climate it just continued to swing on in that direction. I agree with the author that there is room to correct American capitalism without throwing it out entirely and embracing socialism. ...more
Tom Hohman
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a Libertarian and strongly believe capitalism has brought benefits(economically, socially and educationally) to the greatest amount of people in the shortest amount of time than any other system could have provided and will continue to do so if not co opted as it has now. The author does an outstanding job of pointing out a few place where the system needs to be tweaked and how to do so while not destroying capitalism as we know it.
The book diagnoses the issues well but I found the solutions less convincing. I'm not sure it would convert those on the fence, but it's a good set of arguments and overviews of the positions. It's a short read covering brief arguments on dense topics including a history of inequality and the strengths of bottom-up democracy. Some of the solutions are still caught in an old job ecosystem but it's worth thinking about, and the solutions have to start somewhere.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought Pearlstein’s explanation of what capitalism has done in the United States was right on. However, I find it very interesting that ANYONE thinks for two seconds that equality has a chance to improve or change. Even after we finally bring forth the fact that brains are not identical so we can’t all think and therefore behave identically, one must consider why we behave as we do. After you explain greed to me, please tell me when enough is enough.
Tim Strotman
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pearlstein identifies flaws in the current execution of regulated capitalism, that it does not reward productivity gains and it values the individual over the community good. He presents several stories to help the reader understand that many success stories have two sides. He presents remedies to these shortcomings. He is an engaging writer since he believes in capitalism but will admit its current flaws.
Art Petrenko
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book because I wanted a fuller fleshing-out of post-cspitalism alternatives, along the same vein as Kim Stanley Robinson touched on in his Mars books. But this book is very pragmatic, and offers solutions like minimum income and a civil service corps that I hope we will whole-heartedly adopt as a society.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title itself piqued my curiosity. When I started it, I was disappointed, since it seemed the author blamed regulations as the cause of the problems in the '70s. Social issues usually have many causes. However, the rest of the book was quite well-written.

One thing nagged me quite a bit when I read this book: free market in developing countries such as China and India. The author seemed to shy away about it. When I started to read "Bad Samaritans", I realized that Chang expressed exactly what
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is more fast paced and interesting than I judged it to be from the title and cover. I was surprised by how engaging and varied the book was. I expected the book to hammer on one economic subject and loose me, but I ended up reading the first 90 pages standing next to the shelf in the library. I decided to check it out and I was not disappointing in the rest of the book.
Dan McMillan
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. It is very detailed and has some great corporate finance and political history entailed in larger themes. I found it very informative and higher recommend it to anyone, especially individual from the United States as that is the focus.
Mark Singer
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting take on problems with our current economic system.
Key quote: "the only difference between the current campaign finance system and a governing system based on bribery is merely one of semantics."
Janet Foley
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time to start making in changes in what works so American can stay a world leader in business.
Ellen Miller
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and well written. He is one of my favorite journalists from the WA Post.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A perceptive analysis of how the US economy went wrong and a prescription for how to fix it.
Beth G
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
An important read.
Bob Griendling
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pearlstein is one of the best liberal economic writers.
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