Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 October, 2010, 12:00am
 

Economics Without Illusions: Debunking the Myths of Modern Capitalism
by Joseph Heath
Broadway, HK$149

There is something highly likeable, even seductive, about Joseph Heath's writing. An associate professor at the University of Toronto in Canada, he tells the reader from the outset that he shares the unease most people feel about capitalism. And he conveys his views in a compelling way. For instance, he highlights as 'a non-sequitur', how those with a left-leaning focus are unable to counter those on the right who suggest that reducing greenhouse gas emissions leads to lower growth rates and causes unemployment. Instead of responding constructively by debunking this, those on the left, he argues, change tack and talk about the benefits of avoiding climatic instability or the jobs that could be created by green technology. In other words, they sidestep the issue. As for a happy ending, Heath is the first to admit there is no easy solution in responding to the pitfalls of capitalism. He points out: 'Competition is presented as a universal panacea and market 'solutions' are recommended even when the hope of organising anything like a competitive market is self-evidently absurd.'

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