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A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity (Anglais) Relié – 21 juin 2012

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A rising star in economics takes a forceful and sometimes personal look at how pro-business forces overwhelmed the pro-market principles that made American capitalism great, and how to get it back on track. Born in Italy, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales witnessed firsthand the consequences of high inflation and unemployment - paired with rampant nepotism and cronyism - on a country's economy. This experience profoundly shaped his professional interests, and in 1988 he arrived in the United States, armed with a political passion and the belief that economists should not merely interpret the world, but should change it for the better. In "A Capitalism for the People", Zingales makes a forceful, philosophical, and at times personal argument that the roots of American capitalism are dying, and that the result is a drift toward the more corrupt systems found throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world. American capitalism, according to Zingales, grew in a unique incubator that provided it with a distinct flavour of competitiveness, a meritocratic nature that fostered trust in markets and a faith in mobility. Lately, however, that trust has been eroded by a betrayal of US pro-business elites, whose lobbying has come to dictate the market rather than be subject to it, and this betrayal has taken place with the complicity of America's intellectual class. Because of this trend, much of the country is questioning - often with great anger - whether the system that has for so long buoyed their hopes has now betrayed them once and for all. What we are left with is either anti-market pitchfork populism or pro-business technocratic insularity. Neither of these options presents a way to preserve what the author calls "the lighthouse" of American capitalism. Zingales argues that the way forward is pro-market populism, a fostering of truly free and open competition for the good of the people - not for the good of big business. Drawing on the historical record o

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a8f0078) étoiles sur 5 58 commentaires
42 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a903b28) étoiles sur 5 great book 15 juin 2012
Par MxM - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Luigi Zingales' book is fascinating. Once I started it, I could not put it away and finished it in two days. Zingales presents a clear, comprehensive (and scary) analysis of the unhealthy relationship that has developed in the US between big business and politics, and its nefarious effects on competition, incentives, the lives of ordinary people, and the American Dream.
Many blame "capitalism" for the financial crisis. Zingales argues and demonstrates that there is an enormous difference between "capitalism" and "the capitalists", and between "pro-market" and "pro-business" choices and policies. It is the capitalists and pro-business policies that are to blame, not capitalism. Pro-business choices have favored the incumbents (rich people). As a result, outsiders (ordinary people) have seen their opportunities reduced, their shot at the American dream denied. The book argues that we need to put a stop to the cozy relationship between politicians, Wall Street and big business. Zingales demonstrates (with logic and plenty of examples) that we need pro-market policies that foster competition and meritocracy, and which ultimately benefit ordinary people.
This is a great book. I strongly recommend it to anyone who cares about the future of America, from supporters of (true) capitalism to Occupy Wall Streeters.
27 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a903e34) étoiles sur 5 A brilliant and principled critique of the Left and Right, from the Libertarian Right 30 juin 2012
Par Lawrence - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Zingales is an Italian who loves the best part of America. He writes with authority (economist at the University of Chicago business school) about the great threat to America: A corruption of its core engine of prosperity -- a free market. That corruption comes not from Reds in high places: It comes from the collusion successful capitalists engage in with dependent politicians, producing a bevy of regulations that happen to protect the successful, and block the competitors. Zingales applies this analysis to a wide range of policies, but none as important as a causes of the collapse on Wall Street. Critically important and perfectly timed: Read and recommend this book!
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a905048) étoiles sur 5 Important work documenting the woes of crony capitalism 20 août 2012
Par DFechter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Suppose you learned that in 1998 Citicorp planned to merge with insurance company Travelers, despite the fact that such a merger was illegal under the Glass-Steagall Act, which blocked banks from owning businesses in other financial sectors such as investment banking and, yes, insurance. You might ask, why would Citicorp press on with the merger? Luigi Zingales, in his well-footnoted book, reports it was because they "had enough discussions [with the Fed and the Treasury] to believe this will not be a problem."

Suppose you also learned that Robert Rubin, then the Secretary of Treasury under President Bill Clinton, was lobbying for changes to the Act that would remove the restrictions on banks. (Such a bill passed in 1999 with a bipartisan majority of 343-86.)

You still might not find that too outrageous. There were, after all, reasonable arguments against the Glass-Steagall restrictions and even today there is controversy over their advantages and disadvantages.

But finally you learn that Rubin left his post at the Treasury Department exactly one day after the bill passed (he had actually resigned 6 weeks before) and just 108 days later he was hired by Citigroup (yes, the firm he had helped through his lobbying efforts to change Glass-Steagall) for a salary of $15 million a year and, as author Luigi Zingales points out, "without any operating responsibilities."

It was not, as Zingales points out, illegal. But was it right?

Consider it Exhibit A in the case Zingales makes against "crony capitalism," the unholy alliance of business and government. "Business" may be commonly perceived to be in the camp of the Republicans but, as Zingales shows, crony capitalism is perhaps the most successful ongoing bipartisan effort since the fabrication of the first pork barrel.

That is how we end up with Dwayne Andreas, once the CEO of food and commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland, buying Jimmy Carter's peanut warehouse and, a few years later, selling Bob Dole an apartment in Bal Harbor, Florida. (Andreas' Wikipedia page reports that he is "one of the most prominent political campaign donors in the United States, having contributed millions of dollars to Democratic and Republican candidates alike.")

Similar examples abound in Zingales' systematic documentation of how the US economy has gone from "pro-market" capitalism to "pro-business" cronyism. Our overly large federal government has spawned an explosion of lobbying, influence peddling and corruption. Zingales astutely points out that the "Occupy" and the "Tea Party" movements are actually aligned against the same opponent. The Occupiers may focus their wrath on business and the Tea Party on government, but to Zingales they are two sides of the same coin.

Zingales, a professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, is particularly sensitive about crony capitalism. He immigrated to the United States from Italy specifically to escape the corruption of the Italian system, in which getting ahead was a function of who you know and not what you know. Corruption is the norm. In an amusing but telling example Zingales says that if a mayor in Italy advised the citizens to tape their windows, as an American mayor did in advance of stormy weather, Zingales would have ignored the advice, assuming the mayor's brother was selling tape.

Zingales is a capitalist, a believer in the free market. In his view, however, many of the elements which enabled the free market to create so much wealth while generating so little resentment in the United States are shifting unfavorably. He highlights the undermining of support for the free-market system driven by increases in inequality for reasons other than meritocracy. As Zingales says, "the perception...that the system is rigged."

One manifestation of this "rigging" is the bailouts. Zingales devotes a chapter to detailing how the increasing involvement of the government in the economy, through spending and regulation, and the increasing coziness of government with the businesses it was ostensibly regulating, led almost naturally to the use of taxpayer money to bail out financial institutions in crisis. (And not just financial institutions, as evidenced by the multiple bailouts of the auto industry.) All of which is harmful both to popular support for what is called "the free market" as well as to the operation of the market itself.

Zingales is at his best documenting how we have gone astray. The book is filled with examples and anecdotes and supplemented by Zingales' insight as an economist, explaining exactly how these developments are harmful.

He provides several recommendations, which make up about half of the book. His proposals are a mix of traditional solutions, such as school vouchers to improve education and improvements in bankruptcy laws to restore the balance between borrowers and lenders, and some creative ideas such as "retooling vouchers" to reward schools based on their success in actually finding new jobs for the unemployed workers they train. He has a host of proposals designed to "promote" competition (such as "reinventing" antitrust to focus not on market power but on political power).

As a member of academia, Zingales believes business ethics should be featured more prominently in business schools. He would like to see opprobrium become the social norm for unethical business behavior as opposed to the current culture of turning a blind eye or even rewarding it.

Finally, Zingales desperately wants to reduce the influence of lobbying on the political and economic landscape. While he makes a convincing case that lobbying should be curtailed, his proposals do not inspire confidence. He calls for "public shaming" of companies which abuse lobbying. He believes in an increase in the use of class-action lawsuits. The reality is that as long as government remains large and intrusive, lobbying will be a problem. Reducing the size of government, and therefore reducing the rewards from lobbying, may be the best hope.
25 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a90539c) étoiles sur 5 A Book for All of Us 11 juin 2012
Par Ann Westchester - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I am not a finance person or an economist or an academic, just a self employed American who likes to be informed and have some grasp of what is going on in our country. Mr. Zingales has written an extremely insightful and provocative book that would appeal to all of the above vocations as well as me. Born and raised in a rather corrupt Italy, he reminds Americans how our country became so strong in the first place and offers solutions to get back on track. It is akin to learning a foreign language in that by learning about the mechanics of the Italian Government, one learns more about the Government in America. He uses current events to illustrate his ideas which helps puts things in perspective and keeps the read fresh and relatable. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the state of our nation.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a9053cc) étoiles sur 5 A fresh new take on current US affairs 18 juin 2012
Par Eataly - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I am also Italian and I also lived in Chicago for the past 4 yrs. Reading Zingales is like a revelation to me. Everything I thought has been formalized and written down by Zingales. Both the corrupt state of our home nation and the worrying trend in the US towards crony capitalism. He is able to clarify the difference between pro-market and pro-business. e analyzes the differences between Occupy WS and the Tea Party movements, being able to synthesize their frustration against crony capitalism. I also think that this book teaches Americans how lucky they are and how easy it is to lose the "top spot", from tech innovation to academics. It is a book I would suggest to anyone, especially those who define themselves "democrats", because this book proposes new solutions that are market-friendly to old social problems like healthcare, inequality and environment. Mitt Romney should read it as well btw.
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