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The book discusses the crisis tendencies of capitalism, such as the Southeast Asian banking crisis, the collapse of the Russian economy, and the 1997-98 global financial crisis, and asks whether capitalism is doomed. In the end, the author ruminates on a possible alternative to capitalism, discussing socialism, communal and cooperative experiments, and the alternatives proposed by environmentalists.
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By David on 07-03-10
The author's analysis is appropriate and balanced. In contrast to some other reviewers opinions, I found his presentation of class relations and economic philosophy to be relatively centrist. His use of the term "exploitation" to characterize captive labor markets (much maligned by others) is in keeping the classical economic philosophy as outlined by Adam Smith in his two most important works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and later An Inquiry into the Causes and Nature of the Wealth of Nations. I found the author's treatment of Socialism to be neither sympathetic, not sentimental.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By melecaum12 on 06-06-11
Very Short Introductions is the best collection!!
This was the first book I read in the "Very Short Introduction" series. I was surprised by how substantial it is. It also seems quite balanced. References, suggestions for further reading and a 5 page index are included.
My overall impression is how strong capitalism is world-wide. That supports Fulcher's conclusion that reform must take place within capitalism rather than seeking a replacement for capitalism. However, when Fulcher writes that a "search for an alternative to capitalism is fruitless ... and no final crisis is in sight, or, short of some ecological catastrope, even really conceivable", how improbable is that ecological catastrophe?
As the globe warms and the oceans die, will the rich hold out expecting to be able to use their wealth to make their lives bearable as the rest of us suffer? Just how will capitalism respond to a growing pressure for sustainability? By not exploring the ecological challenges to capitalism, Fulcher has indeed introduced capitalism but not addressed its fate and ours later in this century. Although this is a "very short introduction", Michael Newman's "Socialism: A Very Short Introduction" and Colin Ward's "Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction" do address the ecological issue. Even if socialism and anarchism seem improbable and reform is possible within capitalism, it would have been useful to hear Fulcher's impression of whether and how capitalism might address the challenge of ecological sustainability.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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By Chris on 08-17-11
A very good review of the subject
A very satisfactory review of Capitalism. It's a shame for the English listener that the reader is American as this rather subtracts from the pleasure of listening. But that does not affect the content, which is excellent.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By William Nelson on 08-24-15
Does what it sets out to do.
Would you consider the audio edition of Capitalism to be better than the print version?
Who was your favorite character and why?
Would you be willing to try another one of Nick Sullivan’s performances?
Only if it was by an American, and didn't contain the word "Eng-er-land".
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yeah. It's pretty short.
Any additional comments?
This is a very good example of the series, and does a good job of covering the subject matter in a short space. The objectivity was also impressive.