21st Century Capitalism

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 17, 1994 - Business & Economics - 176 pages
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"It is my hope that some grasp of what the twenty-first century holds in store for capitalism may enable us to avoid at least some of the pain we might otherwise have to endure," writes the eminent economist Robert Heilbroner in this important book on the world's economic future.

Although communism lies shattered almost everywhere it once existed, no single form of capitalism has emerged worldwide. Which of the varieties of capitalism will be hardy enough to survive into the next century? Will the private sector make way for government to redress the failures of the market system? Does the defeat of the socialist vision portend that unbridled acquisitiveness will dominate the world?

In tackling these questions, Heilbroner takes us to the roots of capitalist society. He views capitalism from a wide angle as both an economic system and a political order, showing the integral connections between the two that are often overlooked; finally, he addresses the overarching challenge ahead—a society that no longer believes in the inevitability of progress.

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21st century capitalism

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The downfall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of its centrally planned economic system marked the ultimate triumph of capitalism, or the market system, as an economic and political order ... Read full review

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this book is a result of a CBC massey lecture. heilbroner puts capitalism into an historical perspective in order to identify the characteristics that could prove to be relevant in the near future.
heilbroner contrasts capitalist societies with traditional and command societies and highlights the division between public and private realms of society as the primary structural advantage; an advantage resulting in prosperity but also instability.
a concise and enjoyable read. heilbroner's writing has some peculiarities but nonetheless the concepts come through and are logical and precise.
heilbroner is well versed in economic history and draws from the likes of smith, keynes, marx, schumpeter, schumacher, von mises, lange and others in his exposition. the author is very hesitant to make a "prediction" and attempts to explain the shared conclusion reached by smith, marx, keynes and schumpter - the eventual demise of capitalism - as coloured by the social position each observer held.
two conclusions reached were that government was the only mechanism to mitigate the effects of capitalism and that "participatory" economic system, though potentially workable, was not a candidate as a successor to capitalism.
 

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About the author (1994)

Robert L. Heilbroner was Norman Thomas Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research and author of The Worldly Philosophers and many other books.

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