1sentenceReview of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism (2010, nonfiction)

81w6sfnazvl._sl1500_.jpgThough the ideas and facts presented by Ha-Joon Chang in 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism will doubtless make many of the dogmatic and almost-religiously-pious “free-market” capitalists cringe, we are in desperate need of alternatives to the economic status quo of the last 30 years (it’s been an unfolding catastrophe), and as economic works go, this is the most accessible yet insightful book you are likely to find — the writing is witty, light, playful, yet academically sound and analytical — from an accomlpished economist who is an honest critic of capitalism while at the same time considering himself a believer in capitalism, such that Chang says (with characteristic irony and playfulness): capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others;  hence if you are looking for explanations for and alternatives to the failed ideas of the cliché dogmas of so-called “free-market” capitalism, this work will not disappoint. #1sentenceReview

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

10 thoughts on “1sentenceReview of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism (2010, nonfiction)”

  1. Ha! Not quite. I’m not voting Trump or supporting Trump. I’m just making the case that strategically speaking, a Clinton presidency is worse for America than Trump. It gives Clinton control of the Democrat Party, it’s a victory for neoliberalism, it would tend to muffle the voices of true progressives and leftists (who might otherwise oppose things that Clinton will support), and it gives the Republicans and the right something to rally against (it unites the right against Clinton, whereas, if Trump were President then the Republican Party is split and the right is in chaos, while all those left of center can unite to oppose Trump)…..What do you think? I largely agree with one of the analysts on this TYT video:

    He makes most of the above points and appears rather early in the video. Let me know what you think……I just don’t think that we’re better off if Clinton wins. I don’t buy it, and I think the Stop Trump At All Costs crowd is largely a reaction to the bombastic rhetoric of Trump as opposed to objectively analyzing the reality of our political climate.


  2. You trace out a plausible future scenario. The lesser-of-two-evils argument gets old after awhile, and it’s evident that even some Republicans will vote for Clinton based on that rationale. One of the most worrisome things about Trump is the amount of support he’s gotten without Party support while having only about 25% of the money that the Clinton campaign has raised. He’s a demagogue to be sure, and probably a sociopath too, which makes it all the more remarkable that he appeals to so many people. His ascent makes me more skeptical about popular democracy in the U.S.

    Clinton’s platform, plank by plank, is more palatable to me than Trump’s, so in that regard “less evil” might actually be deemed “better.” But both parties are operating within a very narrow bandwidth on the political spectrum, so it’s not like the differences are that dramatic. And Hillary today has gotten more conservative, both economically and militarily, over the 20-plus years that she’s been on the national scene.

    So I’m still in the unsure camp: will I hold my nose and vote for Clinton, or will I abstain? How about you — have you decided what you’re going to do?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not certain that Clinton is the lesser of two evils. Now, I do agree with you that “plank by plank” Clinton is “more palatable,” but does that mean we should anoint her queen of the Democrat Party? I don’t think so. It gives her a mandate to pass destructive policies that set us back. With Trump, you know where he stands. He’s the big bad wolf, and all of us that are left of center and even at the center can unite to oppose him. We’d be forced to, and we could neutralize him. On the other hand, Clinton is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, which makes it much more difficult to oppose her. Liberals and centrists will support her and allow her to pass the pipleline, ramp up the military industrail complex, pander to the prison industrial complex, and continue to give Wall Street a free hand. She’ll be able to do all this, and there won’t be anyone to stop her or provide serious opposition, because the young Bernie coalition just won’t be strong enough, I don’t think. I see a lot more damage possible in a Clinton presidency. So, I’m quite set on voting Jill Stein or abstaining altogether. Give me the big bad wolf, not the wolf in sheep’s clothing.


  4. You’re surely right in focusing on the machinery that produces these candidates and platforms and campaigns, looking behind the curtain rather than getting distracted by the projected spectacle of the Great and Terrible Oz and his legion of simulacra.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your scenario is playing out even faster than you anticipated. The Republicans are now split, and it’s likely to widen as Trump goes full rogue in assailing the in-party traitors to his cause. Meanwhile the Democrats are worried that Clinton’s lead is so big by now that people won’t bother going to vote, leaving the door open to Republicans winning more of the down-ticket races.

    I just got a flyer stuck to our front door today which would seem to indicate that Ryan’s strategy has been in the works for some time now. It’s a “voter guide” put out by two right-wing Christian organizations: the American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. On the cover is a quote from R. Reagan: “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” Open up the flyer and the candidates for Senate, governor, and lieutenant governor are lined up against each other, with bullet points highlighting differences on the presumably godly issues: 2nd amendment, abortion, Obamacare, Israel, marriage, taxes, and religious freedom. No party affiliations are shown, probably because being Republican isn’t such a strong selling point for godliness in this election, even in a swing state like North Carolina. What’s most striking is that there is no mention whatever of the presidential candidates, even though on most if not issues Trump would line up on the godly side of the ledger while Clinton would be on the side of the devil.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good point about Dems having a lead that might be TOO big. Many progressives and leftists would rather not vote for HRC unless absolutely necessary (to stop Trump from winning their state). So, they might prefer just to stay home all together, allowing Republicans to expand their very artificial mandate. I recently read up on the details of the way Republicans have been rigging the Congressional elections by way of redistricting via sophisticated electronic data mining. https://www.amazon.com/Ratf-ked-Behind-Americas-Democracy/dp/1631491628


  7. Republicans in the recent decade have been far more successful at the local and grassroots level. So although they are an increasing minority and as America shifts in a progressive direction, they’ve been able to maintain what I call an artificial mandate, an over-representation that gives the sense that America is more conservative (and religious) than she really is. The new “silent majority” in America might actually be the Millennial liberals and progressives.


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