Capitalism in America PDF ð Capitalism in MOBI ¿ eBook

From the legendary former Fed Chairman and the acclaimed Economist writer and historian the full epic story of America's evolution from a small patchwork of threadbare colonies to the most powerful engine of wealth and innovation the world has ever seenShortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year AwardFrom even the start of his fabled career Alan Greenspan was duly famous for his deep understanding of even the most arcane corners of the American economy and his restless curiosity to know even To the extent possible he has made a science of understanding how the US economy works almost as a living organism how it grows and changes surges and stalls He has made a particular study of the uestion of productivity growth at the heart of which is the riddle of innovation Where does innovation come from and how does it spread through a society? And why do some eras see the fruits of innovation spread democratically and others including our own see the opposite?In Capitalism in America Greenspan distills a lifetime of grappling with these uestions into a thrilling and profound master reckoning with the decisive drivers of the US economy over the course of its history In partnership with the celebrated Economist journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge he unfolds a tale involving vast landscapes titanic figures triumphant breakthroughs enlightenment ideals as well as terrible moral failings Every crucial debate is here from the role of slavery in the antebellum Southern economy to the real impact of FDR's New Deal to America's violent mood swings in its openness to global trade and its impact But to read Capitalism in America is above all to be stirred deeply by the extraordinary productive energies unleashed by millions of ordinary Americans that have driven this country to unprecedented heights of power and prosperity At heart the authors argue America's genius has been its uniue tolerance for the effects of creative destruction the ceaseless churn of the old giving way to the new driven by new people and new ideas Often messy and painful creative destruction has also lifted almost all Americans to standards of living unimaginable to even the wealthiest citizens of the world a few generations past A sense of justice and human decency demands that those who bear the brunt of the pain of change be protected but America has always accepted pain for gain and its vaunted rise cannot otherwise be understood or its challenges faced without recognizing this legacy For now in our time productivity growth has stalled again stirring up the populist furies There's no better moment to apply the lessons of history to the most pressing uestion we face that of whether the United States will preserve its preeminence or see its leadership pass to other inevitably less democratic powers

10 thoughts on “Capitalism in America

  1. says:

    I grabbed this book on an impulse at the library It was surprisingly entertaining and informative Written by the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank it had the potential to be a dense boring work of economic minutiae However it is written in a very readable and enjoyable prose For the most part the economic concepts described in the book are presented such that an average reader can understand what is being discussedThe title of the book is apropos Whereas most history books are concerned with political history this book is concerned with the economic history of the United States It covers such topics as the economic development of the early colonies; the economic effects of westward expansion; the development of transportation particularly canalsrailroads roads cars trucks and railroads; the rise of titans like Carnegie Morgan Rockefeller Stanford Vanderbilt; the rise of conglomerates; the Depression; the effects of WWI and WWII and the Civil War; the effect of government; the effect of slavery; the effect of immigration; stagflation; Reaganomics; Dot Com bubble; the Great Recession and the recovery; and globalizationIn recent years Greenspan had as much of an affect on American economics as any single person in recent years so he writes from a position of exceptional authority Ever since the Great Bust of 2007 I have been very interested in in the functioning of the US economy and this book is one of the best and most informative I have foundIf you want to understand where the US has been economically and where it may be headed this book is a must

  2. says:

    This one is a bit hard to review It has its good points and is entertaining is spots It is a too basic and clearly intended for a general reading audience It is well written and draws on the best of current historical scholarship The book also has a clear perspective which is a mixed blessingThis is a one volume history of American capitalism that stretches temporally from colonial times to the beginning year of the Trump administration The lead author is a former head of the Federal Reserve and a legendary guruoracle of finance during the 1990s and early 2000s He is not free from concerns that he may have contributed to some of the events in the book through his policies His coauthor is a well known and very skilled business writer for the Economist magazine I suspect that this book is seen as a potential text for some introductory classes as various secondary and post secondary levels as well as perhaps in some online MOOC courses On this account the book is effective and if there had to be one text with this set of coverage parameters one could choose worse ones than this Readers can follow up this book with others and make their own judgments regarding gaps and balanceAs a basic book Greenspan’s perspective about a grand history of American capitalism with a focus on entrepreneurship and “creative destruction” is valuable It is really important for a book to have a strong story so that readers see how the range of events that go into such a history fit together at least or less The book views the history of American capitalism as the progressive triumph of entrepreneurship that has led to American prosperity and which has brought benefits to the masses that were hardly dreamed of at the time of the revolution This occurs through processes of innovation and “creative destruction” that lead old ways of doing things to the dustbin of history while ushering in new and productive approaches Good bye buggies horses and buggy whips; hello automobiles but The problem with grand historical narratives especially of economic activity is that they are inherently oversimplified and at their worst simplistic Yes yes the country has prospered but what about those pesky costs social and economic that arose from creative destruction and were imposed upon others who did not make life choices that were blessed by the economic gods and perhaps did not see the history as a beneficial one especially for them Indians? Women? Slaves? Freed slaves? Chinese laborers? Don’t trouble me with details after all one needs to break some eggs to get This does not even begin to cover the costs of workers and families dislocated by economic changes with reduced possibilities for second chances At a metaphysical level how does one begin to think about the roads not taken? Ok so the US went for mass production and consumerism was the alternative to that really Stalinist repression or third world poverty? The simulation fallacy looms large here and we will never know what might have happenedA broad history almost has to adopt a position that of course there were the disadvantaged and dislocated and that slavery and continental expansion were hard on indigenous people but it all turned out for the better didn’t it? Up to a point I understand this but seriously? It is really not OK as a method to average out the costs of massive social change across the various parties Personal utilities are not standardized or interchangeable Do were really want to dismiss the subjugation of millions of slaves along with the traumas placed on freed slaves and their dependents by Jim Crow? That is a bit hard to fit into the story without wincing Once you get going on this it should be possible to rationalize anything in the name of progress anythingMore generally a book like this must of necessity be an amalgamation of numerous subsections each of which has its own body of scholarship behind it For US economic history there have been huge advances in research on virtually every topic included in this volume To the authors’ credit they cite the right researchers and appear to have done their homework I know where to turn for detail The trouble of course is that for any of these topics the implication of the research is far from clear even for experts For a new reader to this area I have to think that follow up reading will almost invariably lead to the conclusion that the history is far complicated and hard to clearly interpret than is made the case in this volume There is always nuance and it is not always clear how hard the authors are pushing their particular perspectives as opposed to broader levels of consensus Particularly egregious was the critical analysis of the New Deal and the mini recession of 1937 as well as the concluding analysis of the current causes of reduced US economic dynamism Virtually all along the way the perspectives of the authors are uite clearThis is OK so I do not agree with the “march of entrepreneurship and creative destruction” story in its full range and detail There are other stories to tell as well and the effort to present a grand narrative is problematic But if it gets people to read and think about these topics and perhaps even read in detail and take issue with the authors then that for me is a good resultI did not get much new material out of the book but I was able to stick with it and did not give it upIt was OK and worth the effort

  3. says:

    This book written by one of the supposedly most brilliant chairs of the Federal Reserve in our history is a major disappointment It essentially is a paean to unfettered capitalism and almost entirely ignores its fundamental and often devastating flaws It either ignores or whitewashes the most serious problems of our age that capitalists have caused or been major contributors to worsening climate change severe environmental degradation growing income ineuality the urgent need to reform the financial system the capitalist oligarchy that controls both political parties the crushing national debt the death of organized labor and protections for the working class and many He conveniently forgets the awful history of how capitalists have fought tooth and nail with bribery outsized political influence monopolies and oligarchies conspiracies and yes violence to defeat delay and castrate every significant reform that has benefitted the middle and working classes since the 19th century Today very uietly and with total bipartisan support the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on are taking the maximum amount of campaign contributions from whoever will give it to them Congress has stripped the Dodd Frank Act of many of its protections The current administration has neutralized the Consumer Protection Bureau and done much to weaken protections for the environment and the very people the disaffected millions of deplorables who voted for Trump in 2016 Greenspan gives capitalism far too much credit for reforms that either state and local government carried out especially the major improvements in public health such as public water and sewer systems or it was forced to adopt by progressive administrations It is little than a long excuse and deliberate cover up for the serious flaws in the capitalist system that Greenspan himself caused that led to the 2008 Great Recession and its long term aftermath To make clear I am NOT a marxist or socialist In fact I am a Edmund Burke conservative I believe that capitalism is the best economic system available to have prosperous mass societies BUT corporations must be managed based on the spiritual and smart business concept of STEWARDSHIP They cannot be solely motivated by the highest profit at the lowest cost or the uarterly earnings report that drives their stock price AND multi million dollar executive bonuses For example it is obscene for one man to have earned an income in 2018 of almost 1 billion They must be stewards of their employees the environment their stockholders and creditors their customers their suppliers everyone and everything they touch Greenspan ignores virtually the deep responsibility capitalists have to everyone This book is a travesty Enough said

  4. says:

    I was pleasantly surprised how readable and interesting this book turned out to be If you're thinking about reading it spoiler alert the authors present capitalism and America in a favorable light your best approach would be to download the free Kindle sample which contains the entire Introduction which is very nicely done If you like that your library probably has a copyA few tidbits from my notesAn ugly truth from the postwar South the planters still needed labor A good source rented convicts from Southern prisons Death rates 11 to 16% per year 1887 A planter remarked one dies you get anotherFrederick Terman of Stanford has as good a claim as anybody to be the father of Silicon Valley He built Stanford's engineering department into a world class institution built the Stanford Industrial Park and loaned his students Hewlett and Packard 538 from his own pocket in 1939 so they could start their business in Packard's garage I'd never heard of him not to do taxation in 1976 Astrid Lindgren the Swedish author of the Pippi Longstocking books received a tax bill for 102% of her income In 1991 Swedish spending and taxation hit the wall and they drastically reformed entitlements and their tax structure We could too if the political will could be foundI could go on but I'll close with a strong recommendation if the subject interests you give the book a try It's a good one 4 stars

  5. says:

    Excellent book about different stages of capitalism in America When I saw the author is Greenspan I've prepared myself to pages full of uantitative easing and irrational exuberance sentences The book was very vivid and refreshing excellent language and information highly recommended

  6. says:

    Capitalism in America A history by Alan Greenspan is an interesting overview of the history of Capitalism in America and generally an examination of economic trends in America from conception to modern times Greenspan is the former chair of the Federal Reserve in the United States and as chair a rampant supporter of the high growth lasseiz faire capitalism that was common in the States in the 1980's and 1990's The book has its particular biases which I will talk about later The book generally examines US economic history for the past few centuries From an Agrarian economy at its inception to one that promoted chattel slavery onto industrialization in the 19th century In the 20th century the US economy began to take the shape it has today first a modernizing economy dominated by industries but slowly evolved into the global power we see today with control over global trade finance and with a very powerful domestic industry focused on services and consumerism The book closely examines the great men who made this possible your Ford's Rockefeller's etc etc Greenspan is very much enthused with these Capitalist giants and although he does mention some of the negative externalizes they unleashed on the economy he mostly focuses on the positive no criticism necessarily The development of modern management structures production techniues industrial organization and so forth mostly originated or were innovated in the United States Greenspan is also positive on the development of middle management culture and the promotion of shareholder value as a key pillar of the financial system of the US Greenspan does examine modern issues such as the growth of stagflation inefficient labour ie powerful unions and workforces and the bubbles of the 1990's and early 2000's which was an era of growth focus over economic stability Greenspan's solutions to the 2008 recession are vague not a bad thing necessarily He seems to take a Chicago school outlook criticizing banks for their lack of reserves on their balance sheets He does talk about the positive and negative aspects of creative destruction how capitalism has historically disrupted previous generations in favour of new techniues production efficiencies and ideas This is one of the key playoffs of the book Greenspan admits that the negative aspects of creative destruction can be damaging but ultimately concludes they are worth it and those protesting against changes are like modern Luddites Greenspan is a capitalist of the 1990's big on finance positive toward shareholder value but thoughtful on slow conservative reform of the economic system The downsides of rampant capitalism are clear but Greenspan looks at the positives throughout history and ultimately concludes the cost benefit analysis is in favour AS my rating attests this book is positive but a mixed bag in my opinion I certainly do not fully agree with his prognosis on Capitalism and Greenspan's fawning endorsement Destroying people now to encourage creative destruction which largely benefits the already wealthy in order to reform the system in their favour is not a positive thing in my opinion Wealth should be distributed evenly across societies The rabid and unfaltering adherence to pure individualism in society in modern times is wrong communities must and should share resources promote each others well being and ensure wealth labour and leisure are efficiently divided among all individuals Greenspan would not agree some great men it seems are worthy of wealth than others even if they trend toward megalomaniac behaviour Greenspan is not populist but thoroughly capitalist Their is no room for a democratic system that promotes the interests of consumers workers and the poor Instead the market will efficiently allocate resources if the G' in government remains small Whatever I think about these ideas they are certainly ideas If you are interested in Capitalism or economics at all this is a good if basic overview of American Capitalism It is certainly simple in some parts and lacks greater detail on all sorts of interesting topics but even so is worthy of a read for the discourse and historical overview it offers I would recommend this book to those looking for a status uo analysis of Capitalism in the United States

  7. says:

    A very useful economic history of the US There may be detail here than many readers would care to plow through but it moves along surprisingly uickly The concluding chapter is excellent — serving as a summary explaining the prosconsnecessity of creative destruction and laying out a prescription for renewing our economic dynamism including a fascinating look at how we can learn from Sweden’s experience The book is worth buying for the last chapter alone

  8. says:

    Capitalism in America uses history to frame Alan Greenspan's traditional conservative ideology and his prescription for the future maintenance of the macroeconomy With this book as evidence I submit that his old school brand of conservatism while palatable than the mindless populism currently in vogue relies upon a several convenient omissions from the economic history of the United States as well as a uintessentially aristocratic perspective on labor For that reason I am deeply skeptical of his conclusionsOne thing Greenspan shares with Trump's populist movement is his belief that things used to be better Not in terms of living standards Greenspan goes on for several pages about the hardships of colonial life but in terms of economic structure The book begins with his commemoration of the 18th century Americans who in the face of great adversity managed to build a better society than Britain's From 1600 1766 the colonies enjoyed the world's fastest growth rate growing than twice as fast as the mother country And by the time they were ready for divorce Americans were the world's richest people with an average output her head of 471 a day measured in 2017 dollars Americans were two to three inches taller than Europeans They were also fertile by 1800 the new country had dozens of universities at a time when England only had two He expounds upon the great resources and open space the pioneering men of the age used to create this economy using hard work and ingenuity within a system free of regulation He commends the founding fathers for banning internal tariffs and extending property rights to ideas via a system of copywriting He fails to mention that the 'free land' and resources were stolen from the people who already lived there He fails to mention that women could not own property until the mid 1800s In later chapters he discusses slavery and calls it barbaric but does not backtrack tarnish the rosy picture he painted of America in its infancy In other words his vision of early America focuses on the economic advancement of white men and blurs out everything elseI think this is the narrative many conservatives share of the early days of the United States It is a myth of merit based achievement and the myth persists after the Civil War with the rise of oil steel and railroad tycoons I should stop to say that Rockefeller Carnegie and JP Morgan deserve credit for their work just as Eli Whitney deserves credit for his cotton gin because I don't claim that these titans of industry had nothing uniue about them They were brilliant workaholics who pushed society into the 20th century But Greenspan waves his hands at liberal accusations of ineuality and mistreatment of the common laborer saying these businesspeople where neither 'robbers' nor 'barons'These men got rich by rolling up their sleeves and seizing their chances He discusses the pollution overcrowding and poverty of industrial American cities but never suggests that his great capitalists had anything to do with it or could have done anything to improve mattersI interpreted Greenspan's history prior to 1930 about half the book as a merely backdrop for his philosophy of political economy I first saw glimmers of this philosophy emerge in his chapter on the great depression In this chapter he makes two things clear government spending is bad for the long term health of an economy and labor unions will slow economic growth He rails against Roosevelt's New Deal and takes repeated shots at the union agreements that were signed in this era The Treaty of Detroit was eating away at the foundations of American affluence I found myself groaning at his apparent disregard for living wages and other benefits In any case he finds a way to apply these two components of his philosophy to each decade until the present throughout the rest of the bookI thoroughly disliked the extent of Greenspan's bias in this book He uses Enron as an example of prosperous American enterprise that went under at the turn of the millennium conveniently omitting anything about their rampant accounting and energy fraud He laments the overreach of government regulation citing a child's lemonade stand that got shut down in Maryland a few years ago In fact the incident in uestion apparently involved kids hawking bottled beverages under a 10 foot by 10 foot tent near a nationally televised sports event an operation mostly orchestrated by the parents This is an intellectually dishonest misconstrual of the facts I am confident dozens of other examples exist in the book that I did not catchFor this reason I'm skeptical of the conclusions Greenspan makes about regulation government spending and organized labor Specifically although I think we can tidy up regulation I think it plays a crucial role in fostering a functional if not safe society I agree that we could streamline social security but I think medicaid should be expanded in fact I believe in single payer healthcare I firmly disagree with his misgivings on labor I think laborers should be organized Executive pay needs to be cut and distributed to the work force Greenspan would have a heart attackNow comes the HOWEVER I found some value in reading this book I agree to some extent in his thesis that creative destruction drives progress I even agree that the current economic environment disincentivizes such creative destruction with start ups generally selling themselves to big uasi monopolies rather than defeating inefficient ageing competitors; with complex regulations impeding entry to new business Further I walked away with two new ideas 1 perhaps social security should be need based and not age based I'm not sure Greenspan explicitly suggested this idea in the book although he certainly proposed pushing the age to receive federal retirement benefits to 67 or even 70 years of age If you have 2 million in your retirement fund should you really be getting a check from the government every month at the expense of the health of the economy?2 I'm now less convinced that Roosevelt's New Deal was the economic boone I previously believed it to be In fact between 1931 and 1937 unemployment increased from 16% to 17% Gross National Product and private investment did not return to pre crisis levels until the advent of World War II Without a counterfactual we can't know the true value of Roosevelt's policies But my beliefs on the matter may be shifting nowAs annoying as I found much of this book I can't walk away from something that both kept me interested and introduced me to new ideas without giving it at least three stars

  9. says:

    “Capitalism in America” is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time To be honest when I picked it up from the library I wasn’t sure that I was in the mood for a challenging read about the history of capitalism in America especially right around the Christmas holidays However I was pleasantly surprised once I began to read it It is very well written and very user friendly and I couldn't put it down Greenspan focuses on three organizing themes productivity creative destruction and politics Throughout our history productivity society’s ability to get output from a given input has continually increased The process that drives productivity is creative destruction We continually create new ways of doing things and making things which make our former ways of doing things obsolete Politics is involved with respect to how we deal with the fallout of creative destruction as a society Lost manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt is a good example From the beginning of our republic in 1776 through the Civil War the age of railroads WWI the Great Depression WWII the economic and manufacturing boom after WWII stagflation of the 1970s the optimism of the Reagan years and the 1990s and the Great Recession Greenspan reveals the creative economic political and social forces at work which shaped our economy and our lives The chapter on America’s fading dynamism is a cautionary tale for our future This is an outstanding book

  10. says:

    A compelling narrative which chronologically covers the economic history of the United States The 19th and most of the 20th century are covered in detail with interesting insights but the last 25 years do not get the same attention The last chapter proposes a policy response to America's fading economic dynamism which failed to entirely convince me Nevertheless well worth reading