I am a regular watcher of the Daily Show. My friends all know this. Frequently Jon Stewart has authors as guests on the show. Ian Bremmer appeared to discuss his book The End of The Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? A friend saw this show and got me the book as a gift. I gave it a read.
Though not wanting to seem ungrateful, this was not my favorite book. I believe the book makes a few simple points.
- The wealth of the United States was built on free market capitalism.
- Some governments want the advantages that capitalism offers but are wary of uncontrolled free markets. These governments practice what can be termed state capitalism.
- Whereas free market capitalism seeks to get consumers the lowest price and producers the highest profits, state capitalism is designed to provide political advantage to the governments in power - independent of supply and demand.
- Examples of state capitalism (found right on the book's inner jacket) include:
- Saudi royals use the kingdom's oil revenues to buy their citizen's loyalty.
- The Chinese government sends state-owned firms abroad in search of long-term access to oil, gas, metals, and minerals.
- Russia's prime minister warns local grocery chains that they charge too much for pork.
- Free market capitalist economies have to be wary of state capitalism as both are competing in the same global economy.
- With the recent financial crisis, many believe that governments should play a more active role in capitalism as unregulated free markets are what led to the crisis.
To me these simple points were enough; however, the book goes into excruciating detail to back up these points. So this is a book I believe you can omit from your reading list.