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The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In his previous bestsellers, Who Will Tell the People and Secrets of the Temple, William Greider laid bare the inner workings of American politics and the Federal Reserve, revealing how they often work against the interests of the majority of us. In The Soul of Capitalism, Greider examines how the greatest wealth-creation engine in the history of the world is failing most ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Simon Schuster (first published 2003)
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Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like where the author is coming from--that the perpetual drive for growth and profits is hurting us and the planet. But I am just not so optimistic that "good business" is the answer. I am not sure the master's tools can bring down his house. I think we need some government regulation against bad actors. We need to stop hoping that consumers and markets will reward good actors like patagonia and other social enterprise businesses. To be fair, when the book was written, there was more room for ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some years back I read Greider's Who Will Tell the People and was deeply impressed by the quality of his thought. With that experience in mind, I was very much looking forward to The Soul of Capitalism, and subsequently very much disappointed.

I guess the theme of The Soul of Capitalism is something to do with ideas for making capitalism more responsible and responsive to the public. Greider moves from chapter to chapter focused on various concepts that would nudge us toward better outcomes: mayb
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
I am well into William Greider's The Soul of Capitalism & am finding it OK but a somewhat slow slog & similar in content & conclusions to Gar Alperovitz but I just an hour ago came across a gem. As an alternative reading to our current apochalyptic fear that AI will lead to robots that take over & enslave or eliminate humanity, Greider suggests that it has already happened except that the non-human intelligence is the corporation! I think he's got a point! ...more
William J. Wood Jr MD
One of the best books I've ever read to explain what corporations really are and how they function. Very depressing.
Steve McAllister
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish everyone who has ever contemplated capitalism would read this.
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Greider loves Capitalism and wants to make it open up its heart and soul. But first he spends a couple chapters telling you just how bad it is, while remaining conveniently vague about the brutality and rapaciousness of its conquests (especially outside of the U.S.) Then he shifts gears and spends half of the book describing the best examples he can find of egalitarian and green progress, while occasionally drifting into the drab verbiage of business law and corporate finance. Finally he daydrea ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it liked it
The first chapters come off a little radical, like I'm being prepared to read the 21st Century version of the Communist Manifesto. Greider likens working in Corporate America to something akin to, if not slavery, then endentured servitude. He challenges the idea that the essense of man comes down to pure ecomonic. He points out that since love, family, friendship, worship, and the environment have no quantitative value, it is impossible for capitalism to take them into account, and therefore dis ...more
Feb 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: politik

I enjoyed what Greider had to say but I didn't understand enough of his subject on my own (my fault, of course) to really get the full brunt of it.

It would have been nice if he had written it with more of a historical background in mind, or maybe a brief outline on the economics at hand.

It's not that he wrote pompously over my head, its more that I lost out on much of what he was saying because I'm not attuned to much of buisness thinking or standards.

That said, his conclusions make sense (let
William Thomas
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
a very focused and well researched book. i would have preferred it to discuss what would make a more moral economy and to define what the author meant by moral, but instead he takes this as a given. if it had been more theory and discourse, i would have given it 5 stars. instead, it began to read like guns, germs and steel, which was a fabulous book, but one which does not leave much room for moralizing or for philosophical discourse. his thoughts on the current capitalism being practiced mirror ...more
Noah Enelow
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it

A pleasantly written exploration of alternatives to the predatory, cutthroat form of capitalism we have seen arise since the 1980s. The interesting thing about these alternatives is that they have arisen within capitalism itself. Some examples: environmental screening of corporations for social investors; use of pension funds and shareholder proxies to discipline corporate behavior; worker buyouts of failing companies leveraged by bank borrowing and private equity and orchestrated by Wall Street
The Capital Institute
Greider probes the question of why the American economic system clashes with society’s publically professed goals of equal rights and a democratic economy. The Soul of Capitalism presents the idea that our capitalist economic system can be restructured to promote what he calls an “authentic democracy,” which serves the values of the majority instead of just the “wealthy few.” Greider argues that though substantial change is necessary and certain to be a long-drawn out process, the few “small suc ...more
Jason Lowe
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Most fans of open-mindedness
Recommended to Jason by: Dr. Tom Barlow
I've just started this book, but i must say, its been a powerful read. Are we merely pawns of our own insatiable economy? One could suggest that we really live in a fuedal society- How many of the hallowed Bill of Rights do we leave at the time-clock each day when we punch into most jobs? We work the bulk of our lives-Are we truly happy and fulfilled with our work that is increasingly being automated and stripped of intrinsic worth in the quest for effeciency? These powerful ideas are ewxplored ...more
Patricia Tennesen
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
He gave me much to ponder. The concepts sound great but too good to ever be true. Most American's don't enjoy sharing, especially American Businesses. Like nearly all non-fiction, repetitive, could have been said in half the words. If every American took the time to read this book, or a condensed
(Common Sense type) book our nation might move forward to a true middle class and a shared prosperity, but... you know.
Marcello Eduardo
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realidade
Great book. Greider is an enlightened author. While reading his books, one can feel the real life behind them, almost vividly experience his arguments. He allows our minds to dialogue with him just like we were face to face.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Published in 2003, it was uncanny to realize how many of his predictions have come true! An amazing re-thinking of capitalism & exposure of the lies we get fed by corporate America. There are ways to be capitalist & be respectful of persons, nature, and the future. ...more
Michelle Greenwood
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The argument for ESOP (Employee Share Ownership Plan) gives more depth and nuance for the structure. It also expands the leadership debate.
Jun 01, 2007 marked it as to-read
I've heard that this book highlights many capitalist alternatives to the capitalist system, such as worker-owned cooperatives. I'm very curious!
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Greider, one of my favorite authors, lays out a vision for an alternative form of capitalism in this book which was written before the financial crisis but which is even more relevant today.
C. Scott
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really great. This is the third book I've read by William Greider and I always feel like I learn something from him. He is an optimist with an inspiring vision for the future.
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