Capitalism faltered at the end of the 1990s as corporations were rocked by fraud, the stock-market bubble burst and the American business model – unfettered self-interest, privatisation and low tax – faced a storm of protest. But what are the alternatives to the mantras of market fundamentalism?
In his ambitious and wide-ranging book, John unravels the truth about markets. He explains why market economies outperformed socialist or centrally directed ones, but also why the imposition of market institutions often fails. This search for the truth about markets takes him from the shores of Lake Zurich to the streets of Mumbai, through evolutionary psychology and moral philosophy, to the flower market at San Remo and Christies’ salesroom in New York. Through this wide range of material, John shows that market economies function because they are embedded in a social, political and cultural context, and cannot work otherwise.
“Why are some people and some countries rich, and others are poor? Why did centrally planned regimes fail in economic competition with market economies? How do decentralised market economies coordinate complex products and global distribution? How do economic systems handle risks? How do they deal with inequalities of information in markets for technologically sophisticated products? (…) What really determines our economic behaviour – how we work and what we consume? What should be the role of the government in a modern economy? These are questions with which this book is concerned.”
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