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False Dawn: The Delusions of Global…

False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism

by John Gray

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3291153,594 (3.79)2
Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as both "a convincing analysis of an international economy headed for disaster" and a "powerful challenge to economic orthodoxy," False Dawn shows that the attempt to impose the Anglo-American-style free market on the world will create a disaster, possibly on the scale of Soviet communism. Even America, the supposed flagship of the new civilization, risks moral and social disintegration as it loses ground to other cultures that have never forgotten that the market works best when it is embedded in society. John Gray, well known in the 1980s as an important conservative political thinker, whose writings were relied upon by Margaret Thatcher and the New Right in Britain, has concluded that the conservative agenda is no longer viable. In his examination of the ripple effects of the economic turmoil in Russia and Asia on our collective future, Gray provides one of the most passionate polemics against the utopia of the free market since Carlyle and Marx.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
In this dense and dull read, Gray puts forward the idea that global free markets are an ideology based on faith without any redeeming feature, and that the implementation of free markets is irreversible.

This early work from Gray is not as clean and fresh as his later more philosophical works. False Dawn suffers from the academic language, and also from Gray's tendency to declare a fact without supporting it with example or evidence.

I wasn't able to finish the book, but skimming the pages ahead of where I finished showed the relentless dense prose continued. ( )
  Beniaminus | Nov 1, 2017 |
You could skip chapters 6 and 7. ( Read the postscript first ) Needs a ' further reading 'list ~ ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Bit strident at first: rather too much the parti pris Jeremiad against capitalism with a touch of reification - capitalism taking on the aspect of a hated idol. Later more interesting as he starts to describe different forms of capitalism, how they are culturally and historically rooted. Excellent on the differences between Russian, Chinese and Japanese worlds ( mainly a matter of peasantry).Then the argument that US style free market capitalism is just one form and unlikely to take over the world either by natural evolution or by conquest starts to make sense.
Written in the 90s, revised as the 2008 crisis began, he falls short as a prophet; US cap came as near to crash-and-burn as it could but seems to have done a Phoenix. There is something appealing about his pessimism, sometimes quite wittily expressed. Good contrast with Harford's optimistic belief in the workings of rationality in daily life.
Interesting points: the US is no longer typically "Western" especially with its strong religiosity contrasting with Europe,and its incarceration rates; Communism was an alien Western import imposed on Russia and China, just as much as laisser faire capitalism. ( )
  vguy | Sep 12, 2014 |
Having read a few glowing reviews of the book, I had high expectations. Reading it, I was however soon disappointed. While the author certainly makes a few valid points, there are also some which are not only questionable, but also poorly supported by any arguments.

Another gripe I have with this book is that it feels rushed and sloppily implemented. The author has his ideas which he present and argue for (using pretty much the same arguments every time) over and over again. His arguments would probably be better displayed in a shorter booklet, than by trying to extend it into a book. Because when you are near the end of the book, which is no more than just over 200 pages, you have read many of the arguments and conclusions so many times that you are glad it is soon over.

The fact that the book is just over 200 pages may explain why the author included substantial sections covering Russian and Chinese communist era history. While these sections are mostly disconnected from the rest of the book, they do of course add an extra 17 pages, which must be a big reason why they were included, because they don’t really add much to the discussion.

Another problem I have with his book is that for all his declarations that the markets are there to serve the people, not the other way around, it is odd to see him fawning over authoritarian states in Asia. Not to mention the fact that he is of the opinion that a regime is legitimate, not because it is democratic, but because it provide its citizens with certain services. The idea that people having a say on issues that relate to them have a value in itself, seems totally alien to John Gray.

Lastly I have to say it is annoying to come across plenty of typos in a book that is in its 3rd edition. ( )
  mib | Apr 8, 2014 |
You could skip chapters 6 and 7. ( Read the postscript first ) Needs a ' further reading 'list ~ ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
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