23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

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23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism cover art.jpg
Cover art
AuthorHa-Joon Chang
LanguageEnglish
Subject
  • Economics
  • Sociology
GenreNon-fiction
PublisherPenguin
Publication date
1 September 2011
Media typePaperback
Pages304
ISBN978-0-14104-797-3

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism is a non-fiction book by economist Ha-Joon Chang. It was published on 1 September 2011 by Penguin. The book offers a 23-point rebuttal of aspects of neo-liberal capitalism.

Summary[edit]

Chang wrote 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis which he argues exemplifies his criticism of globalisation and free trade.[1][2][3]

The book's criticisms range from more commonplace assertions such as "companies should not be run in the interests of their owners"[4] to less common specific arguments such as "the washing machine has changed the world more than the internet has".[5]

After listing the twenty-three criticisms, Chang concludes in a section called "How to rebuild the world economy". He advocates a system of capitalism in which the government has a higher degree of control over the economy[6] and wariness towards the neo-liberal version of capitalism with minimal government involvement which he argues caused the 2008 financial crisis.[7]

Reception[edit]

John Gray of The Guardian said in his review that it "masterfully debunked the myths of capitalism".[8]

Sean O'Grady of The Independent argues that 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism is testament to the ability of economically poorer nations becoming more powerful over time.[9] Writing in the Financial Times, James Crabtree describes the points of Chang's rebuttal as ranging from "conventional left-wing claims" to "counter-intuitive ones" and highlights the close relationship between the rebuttal points and criticisms following the 2008 financial crisis.[10]

However, James Hannam, writing in the Huffington Post, re-visited the book three years after its publication and commented that many of the aspects Chang attacks are "straw-men", such as the claim that we do not have a free market due to the restriction of slavery, which Hannam criticises as a misrepresentation of capitalist claims because very few capitalists argue for a completely free market.[11] Hannam summarises that the most valuable aspect of the book is its "insight into how left wing economists are trying to come to terms with the failure of socialism".[11]

Business Insider's review of the book, written by Hannah Kim and Gregory White, argues that while Chang criticises the flaws of capitalism, he accepts that a modified version with more oversight is the best economic system.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kim, Hannah; White, Gregory. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  2. ^ Smith, David. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". The Times. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ Chang, Ha-Joon. "History debunks the free trade myth". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2018-09-12. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  4. ^ Lind, Michael. "Capitalism in question". Prospect Magazine. Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  5. ^ Skidelsky, William. "Ha-Joon Chang: The net isn't as important as we think". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2018-01-17. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. ^ Mason, Paul. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang |§ Book Review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2017-03-26. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  7. ^ Wilson, Joan. "Book Review: 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". London School of Economics. Archived from the original on 2017-08-13. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  8. ^ Gray, John. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2017-08-21. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  9. ^ O'Grady, Sean. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, By Ha-Joon Chang". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2017-07-25. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  10. ^ Crabtree, James. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-26. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b Hannam, James. "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism: A Second Look". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-08-07.