The symptoms are hard to ignore. First the Thai crisis precipitated the currency collapse in Asia. Next the Russian meltdown inflicted temporary chaos on the Western financial system. And the recent volatility of the world’s stock markets has caused most investors a lot more than heartburn. The connection? According to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, there’s a profound and dangerous imbalance between the explosive growth of the global economy and the development of a free and open society. In The Crisis of Global Capitalism, Soros argues that in the last 20 years, the emergence of “market fundamentalism”–that is, the idea that markets need only be regulated by the forces of profit and competition–has distorted the role of capital to the extent that it “is today a greater threat to open society than any totalitarian ideology.” Not that Soros advocates the demise of the capitalist system.
On the contrary, Soros himself has made billions on Wall Street, and it’s his aim to save capitalism from itself. While his theory of reflexivity reads a bit thick, his analysis of our present financial system is lucid and convincing. If wondering about the stability of today’s markets keeps you up at night, then put this book at your bedside. Highly recommended. –Harry C. Edwards
Business Week, Robert J. Dowling
Abstract and exasperating as this book is, it is also worth sticking with, both for a brilliant narrative of what went wrong in Asia, Russia, and other emerging markets and also for some challenging, perhaps kooky, intellectual leaps for which he’s willing to risk ridicule.