Saturday, May 29, 2010

The End of the Free Market: For People Too Busy to Read the Book

Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group—disclosure: I work part-time for Eurasia Groupgives a talk on his new book The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and the Corporations? on the New America Foundation website. Despite the dismal title, he gives the long-run edge to free market capitalism over state capitalism, basically the state using economic tools—state enterprises and flagship companies, sovereign funds, regulatory powers—to achieve political goals and not the other way around. However, he explains that it won’t be easy to get there.

Actually, watch the video, then go buy the book. (No, I can’t lend it to you; I only have the electronic galley proof. Besides, Ian needs the money; look at his clothes if you don’t believe me.) There’s obviously a lot more to the story than seventy-one minutes of talk, some of it from Steve Clemons, the interviewer. Ian always makes the extra effort to make his books an easy read*, and this one is no exception.
* This is a very desirable if often overlooked trait. One of the reasons that I respect Bernard Lewis so much is the overwhelming clarity and eloquence that he brings to his writing. At the other end of the spectrum is Francis Fukuyama, for whose books the word “turgid” was invented.

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