By John Plender
Capitalism has lifted hundreds of thousands out of poverty. lower than its guiding hand, dwelling criteria in the course of the Western international were remodeled. extra afield, the path blazed via Japan is being via different rising marketplace nations around the globe, growing prosperity on a panoramic scale.
And but, capitalism is unloved. From its discontents to its outright enemies, voices compete to show the failings within the method that permit more and more strong elites to snatch an ever greater percentage of our collective wealth.
In this incisive, clear-sighted consultant, award profitable monetary instances journalist John Plender explores the paradoxes and pitfalls inherent during this terribly dynamic mechanism – and in our attitudes to it. Taking us on a trip from the Venetian retailers of the Rennaissance to the sparkling temples of trade in 21st-century Canary Wharf through the South Sea Bubble, Dutch tulip mania and manic-depressive playing addicts, Plender indicates us our financial production in the course of the eyes of philosophers, novelists, poets, artists and the divines.
Along the best way, he delves into the ethics of debt; finds the reality concerning the unashamedly materialistic inventive giants who pioneered copyrighting; and lines the trail of our instinctive conviction that marketers are grasping, unethical opportunists, hell-bent on capital accumulation, whereas production is innately virtuous.
Thoughtful, eloquent and principally compelling, Capitalism is a impressive contribution to the long-lasting debate.
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Additional info for Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets
In part, it was because extending credit was seen as an act of friendship and trust, so there was a moral and social dimension to the activity. Lending was often a form of help to a neighbour in distress. Charging interest could thus be seen as a breach of trust. From a more economic perspective, the bias against charging interest is perfectly logical if you bear in mind the context. The mindset stems not so much from a failure to grasp the time value of money as from the nature of a world where minimal or non-existent growth in per capita income was the norm.
Because in America a rich butter-and-egg man is only a rich butter-and-egg man or at most an honorary LLD of some hungry university, but in England, why before he knows it he is Sir Benjamin Buttery, Bart. ) Not that rampant materialism has always gone uncriticised in America. US literature has its fair share of business villains and snake-oil peddlers, most notably F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, whose fortune came from bootlegging. The Great Gatsby was both a disillusioned exploration of the Roaring Twenties before the 1929 crash and a jaundiced verdict on the American dream.
21 Anticipating Marx, he was equally concerned with the dehumanising nature of work in the modern economy. In an apparent reference to the division of labour – that fundamental characteristic of capitalist production – he said that a time had come when enjoyment was separated from labour, the means from the end, the effort from the reward. Man himself, eternally chained down to a little fragment of the whole, only forms a kind of fragment; having nothing in his ears but the monotonous sound of the perpetually revolving wheel, he never develops the harmony of his being; and instead of imprinting the seal of humanity on his being, he ends by being nothing more than the living impress of the craft to which he devotes himself, of the science that he cultivates.
Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender