Cover: Is Capitalism Obsolete?: A Journey through Alternative Economic Systems, from Harvard University PressCover: Is Capitalism Obsolete? in HARDCOVER

Is Capitalism Obsolete?

A Journey through Alternative Economic Systems

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$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674495289

Publication Date: 10/17/2017


312 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Corneo takes seriously the many criticisms of capitalism as it is practiced today but insists that detractors must confront the question of which alternative systems could realistically meet contemporary society’s economic needs. In this sweeping and informative discussion of the role of economy in society, he explores alternative systems, both hypothetical and real, and finds them all inferior to capitalism. The book then addresses how the modern welfare state has tempered capitalism’s worst features but has eroded since the late twentieth century—a development that is responsible for much of today’s public disillusionment with the free-market system. Corneo considers how the welfare state might be revived under current conditions, which would require new incentives for politicians and civil servants to construct a sturdier safety net.—Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs

An engaging volume that is well-balanced, often thought-provoking, and always accessible. More importantly, Corneo’s effort breathes new life into a conversation that is vital to the well-functioning of our democracy and to the sustainability of our economic system.—Simone Paci, Brink

Corneo takes us on a tour of a variety of alternative economic systems, from Plato’s Republic and More’s Utopia through anarchy, central planning, worker management, market socialism, shareholder socialism, and guaranteed basic income, to the market economy balanced by the welfare state. In each case, he explains the principles of the system, then considers how it would work in practice. More often than not, what appears on the surface to be an improvement over capitalism turns out to have fatal flaws when market and private property are removed from the equation… Both rigorous and entertaining.—M. Morgan-Davie, Choice

A fascinating portrait of our economic system—and possible alternatives. Corneo[’s] is not an angry critique of capitalism… Nevertheless, [he] says quite soberly that something is wrong in our system… Are there other, better ways? …Could other systems produce enough resources to create general prosperity? …Such questions are asked by the economist in a refreshingly undogmatic way.—Joseph Gepp, Falter Magazine [Vienna, Austria]

Is Capitalism Obsolete? is an important book, containing a sober, economically sophisticated analysis of the socialist alternatives to advanced capitalism. Timely, smart, and written in a popular vein, Corneo’s work will attract an audience as wide as the questions it seeks to answer.—John Roemer, Yale University

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