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Making Capitalism Fit For Society by Colin…

Making Capitalism Fit For Society

by Colin Crouch

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In "Making Capitalism Fit for Society," Colin Crouch argues that there is a need for assertive social democracy. Crouch makes clear that social democracy differs from socialism. While socialism seeks to replace capitalism with state control of the economy, social democracy accepts the market and private ownership as the best way to conduct most economic business. However, markets are unable to meet all societal goals. There is a role for government within capitalist society. That role is to ensure that the collective needs of citizens not addressed by the markets are met.

Crouch clearly explains the differences between the dominant neoliberal paradigm and that of social democracy. He discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each mindset. Crouch does not hide his dissatisfaction with the neoliberal approach to the economy. The book’s purpose is to justify the need for social democracy. However, the book is not a mindless, emotionally-driven attack on neoliberalism. This book is for readers who want to understand the challenges of creating a form of capitalism that supports a more equitable society. Crouch writes for the thoughtful reader who is interested in living within a society that balances profit and people. ( )
  mitchellray | Jan 19, 2014 |
I approached this book in the spirit of something that I ought to read, rather than wanting so to do. The book was a pleasant surprise, in that it is written in a style that, whilst professorial and measured, never loses the average reader (me!!).

Professor Crouch writes from an unashamedly left of centre position, but is far from the old idea of the raving 'Trot' academic. He explains clearly, and I think in a fairly unconfrontational way, where we are politically and how we got here. He concentrates, but not exclusively, on the UK and seems to instinctively know when to push on at speed and where greater explanation is required. I found that I could understand every concept after a single reading - and I am certainly no financial wizz-kid!

Where the book is a little more fuzzy, is in the strategies needed to move to a fair society now that the Labour Party has renounced the old socialist propositions of state ownership of the means of production. Again, I would be surprised if many people would argue the fact that, whilst a level of common sense from the Labour Party is welcome, the headlong rush into a congested middle ground, where one party looks much like another, is something to be regretted. Many people feel disenfranchised and the number of voters falls with each fresh election.

The one concept which I (remember, a fiscal ignoramus) would have liked to see tackled, is the possibility that Capitalism is simply running out of time: this is an almost taboo topic and, whenever I try to raise it, it seems that the stock reaction is to shout it down as proof that I am a Communist (I AM NOT!!!) Capitalism has not been an ever present state of human life and, I see no reason why it should last for ever, however, this is not broached and so, I shall get off my soap box.

This book is well worth the read, whether your political persuasion is to the left, right or totally apathetic. Colin Crouch has written a book that, were everyone to read it, the discussion of our future could be held upon a higher plain than it is currently. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Nov 11, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074567223X, Paperback)

Capitalism is the only complex system known to us that can provide an efficient and innovative economy, but the financial crisis has brought out the pernicious side of capitalism and shown that it remains dependent on the state to rescue it from its own deficiencies. Can capitalism be reshaped so that it is fit for society, or must we acquiesce to the neoliberal view that society will be at its best when markets are given free rein in all areas of life?

The aim of this book is to show that the acceptance of capitalism and the market does not require us to accept the full neoliberal agenda of unrestrained markets, insecurity in our working lives, and neglect of the environment and of public services. In particular, it should not mean supporting the growing dominance of public life by corporate wealth. The world’s most successful mature economies are those that fully embrace both the discipline of the market and the need for protection against its negative outcomes. Indeed, a continuing, unresolved clash between these two forces is itself a major source of vitality and innovation for economy and society. But maintenance of that tension depends on the enduring strength of trade unions and other critical groups in civil society - a strength that is threatened by neoliberalism’s increasingly intolerant onward march.

Outlining the principles for a renewed and more assertive social democracy, this timely and important book shows that real possibilities exist to create a better world than that which is being offered by the wealthy elites who dominate our public and private lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:19 -0400)

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