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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism [Book Review]

  • Author: Robert P. Murphy
  • Reading Level: Adult
  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (April 9, 2007)

COVER DESCRIPTION

“Most commonly accepted economic “facts” are wrong Here’s the unvarnished, politically incorrect truth. The liberal media and propagandists masquerading as educators have filled the world–and deformed public policy–with politically correct errors about capitalism and economics in general. In The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Capitalism, myth-busting professor Robert P. Murphy, a scholar and frequent speaker at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, cuts through all their nonsense, shattering liberal myths and fashionable socialist cliches to set the record straight. Murphy starts with a basic explanation of what capitalism really is, and then dives fearlessly into hot topics like:

* Outsourcing (why it’s good for Americans) and zoning restrictions (why they’re not)

* Why central planning has never worked and never will

* How prices operate in a free market (and why socialist schemes like rent control always backfire)

* How labor unions actually hurt workers more than they help them

* Why increasing the minimum wage is always a bad idea

* Why the free market is the best guard against racism

* How capitalism will save the environment–and why Communist countries were the most polluted on earth

* Raising taxes: why it is never “responsible”

* Why no genuine advocate for the downtrodden could endorse the dehumanizing Welfare State

* The single biggest myth underlying the public’s support for government regulation of business

* Antitrust suits: usually filed by firms that lose in free competition

* How tariffs and other restrictions “protect” privileged workers but make other Americans poorer

* The IMF and World Bank: why they don’t help poor countries

* Plus: Are you a capitalist pig? Take the quiz and find out! Breezy, witty, but always clear, precise, and elegantly reasoned, The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Capitalism is a solid and entertaining guide to free market economics. With his twelve-step plan for understanding the free market, Murphy shows why conservatives should resist attempts to socialize America and fight spiritedly for the free market.”

TWITTER-SIZE SUMMARY

#3words2describe – controversial, thought-provoking, dubious

MY TAKE

I imagine that this book could be quite the conversation piece, regardless of your position on capitalism. Murphy covers a number of topics from slavery in the United States to antitrust issues to outsourcing. He paints his positions with a conservative* laissez-faire brush. “To show how baseless these fears [of the liberal media and propagandists] are, in this book we will examine ‘pure’ capitalism, even though it doesn’t exist in this form today.”

While I certainly found Murphy’s purist positions thought-provoking, a number of his proposed outcomes seemed unrealistic. I think that he is underestimating the power of human influence – even in his pro-capitalist utopia (ex. humans often don’t do the right thing, humans often don’t act in their best interest, the government is not going away and isn’t always evil).

As expected, I had multiple reactions to his arguments:

  • I agree with that.
  • I never thought about it that way. Let me give that more thought.
  • That is a ludicrous bunch of crap (as he said I would).

Although book does contain a number of interesting points, I found some of Murphy’s arguments to be rather thin. I am not sure if that is due to him trying to be brief (in order to cover a wide variety of topics in minimal space) or if his some arguments are actually thin. I appreciate that he provides other book references throughout the text so that you can dig deeper into some of the arguments posed and judge for yourself.

I’ll take Murphy’s proposed suggestions as food for thought. I would be interested in reading a book that argues on the other side for comparison. Any suggestions?

* Regnery Publishing is a leading conservative publisher in United States.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism [audiobook]

I listened to the audiobook version of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism (Politically Incorrect Guides). I tried to list all of the books mentioned under Books Cited By This Book on Shelfari and in the Amazon widget below. I might have missed one or two. If I did, please let me know and I’ll add them.

Recommended for:

  • Readers of Austrian school of economics and pro capitalism literature
  • Readers wanting an introduction to basic economic concepts (understanding that this text has a conservative bent)

NOTE: I received a free copy of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism through a DearReader.com giveaway.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Updated!!! Swap Books for Free – PaperBackSwap.com: I am posting my copy of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism on my swapping bookshelf at PaperBackSwap. Drop by and request it if you are interested in reading it.

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