The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism
From the author of The Shifts and the Shocks, and one of the most influential writers on economics, a reckoning with how and why the relationship between democracy and capitalism is coming undone
We are living in an age when economic failings have shaken faith in global capitalism. Political failings have undermined trust in liberal democracy and in the very notion of truth. The ties that ought to bind open markets to free and fair elections are being strained and rejected, even in democracy’s notional heartlands. Around the world, democratic capitalism, which depends on the determined separation of power from wealth, is in crisis. Some now argue that capitalism is better without democracy; others that democracy is better without capitalism.
This book is a forceful rejoinder to both views. It analyses how the marriage between capitalism and democracy has become so fraught and yet insists that a divorce would be an almost unimaginable calamity. Martin Wolf, one of the wisest public voices on global affairs, argues that for all its recent failings – slowing growth, increasing inequality, widespread popular disillusion – democratic capitalism, though inherently fragile, remains the best system we know for human flourishing. Capitalism and democracy are complementary opposites: they need each other if either is to thrive. Wolf’s superb exploration of their marriage shows us how citizenship and a shared faith in the common good are not romantic slogans but the essential foundation of our economic and political freedom.
Martin Wolf has been an incisive commentator on economics and politics for a long time. This book is an excellent and thought-provoking synthesis of his views on democratic capitalism and how to fix it. -- Ben Bernanke, former chair of the Federal Reserve Martin Wolf is one of the deepest thinkers of our times and his latest book is a must-read! He brilliantly analyzes the causes of current crisis of democratic capitalism and presents the reforms needed to successfully rejuvenate it. He rightly calls for a new alliance of reformed democratic capitalist states to protect global peace, inclusive prosperity and the planet against plutocratic populism and tyranny. Hopefully, his words will be carefully read and heeded. -- Nouriel Roubini, Professor, New York University Martin Wolf is a great humanist and a sharp analytical mind. He unfurls here a bracing indictment of democratic capitalism and an inspiring defense of it. To defend the values of freedom and dignity, democracy and capitalism must both be reformed. A necessary book- and a guide -- for our times -- Daniel Ziblatt, Professsor, Harvard University and co-author of HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE Martin Wolf brings together many decades' worth of thought and analysis into this superb synthesis. An important guide for anyone seeking answers to the most difficult questions of our time. -- Anne Applebaum, Atlantic staff writer and author of TWILIGHT OF DEMOCRACY Martin Wolf is our wisest, most acute, and most experienced commentator. He has long been an optimist, but no more. He believes that today's market economy is no longer compatible with a stable liberal democracy. As Plato long ago warned, insecurity and fear can be the gateways to tyranny. Wolf's recommendations are smart and sensible and perhaps not too late. A must read for both optimists and pessimists. -- Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize in Economics 2015 Martin Wolf has written the definitive account of what ails capitalism and democracy. This staggeringly erudite and beautifully written book is sure to become required reading for anybody who wants to understand how democratic capitalism slid into a deep crisis, why it is worth rescuing, and how to do so. -- Yascha Mounk, Professor, Johns Hopkins University and author of THE GREAT EXPERIMENT The arrival of this book could not be timelier as the global economy darkens further. Who better than Martin Wolf, with his masterful knowledge of history and understanding of economics, to identify the twin threats of predatory capitalism and demagogic politics and to plot a narrow corridor to escape? It takes someone with a knowledge of the entire forest to isolate the rot at the base of the trees. -- Carmen M. Reinhart, Professor of Economics, Harvard University Passionate, alarmed, wise: Martin Wolf has poured his soul into the book that may be recognized as his masterpiece. In it, he confronts the disturbing truths dismissed by his own complacent generation, and their consequences, with which the young will contend. -- Sir Paul Collier, author of THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM
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