SAVING CAPITALISM FROM THE CAPITALISTS: Unleashing the Power of Financial Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity

Raghuram G. Rajan, Author, Luigi Zingales, Author, Luigi Zingales, Joint Author . Crown Business $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-609-61070-1

Rajan and Zingales take the Chicago school of economic theory in a new direction with an erudite, comprehensive defense of the free market system, steering a course between conservative isolationists and liberal antiglobalizationists. Only unfettered markets, rather than protectionism, they argue, can provide an environment supporting competition, innovation and economic growth. When businesses suffer losses or fail completely, it means competition is successfully weeding out the incapable—and the authors have nothing but harsh words for governmental attempts to prop up sagging industries through subsidies or tariffs on foreign competitors. They're honest in acknowledging that their "tough break" approach to failure offers little consolation to downsized laborers, but gamely suggest the economically "distressed" should recognize their options and look beyond obfuscating corporate rhetoric about "saving jobs." The book draws strong historical parallels between the half-century market clampdown following the Great Depression, when the public recoiled at the consequences of unmanaged economic risk, and the pessimism fostered by recent high-profile failures and corporate excesses. Because the authors view political support for the free market system as always tenuous, they offer suggestions on how to combat antimarket sentiments by promoting a stronger international market, which would reduce the ability of economic "incumbents" to persuade governments to suppress competition while offering workers some protection against the risks of failure. They argue their case well (though general readers may find some of the more academic passages tough going) and provide a clear new definition for the terms of the free market debate. (Feb. 18)

Reviewed on: 01/20/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
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Paperback - 369 pages - 978-0-691-12128-4
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