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Political Capitalism
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Book description

Problems associated with cronyism, corporatism, and policies that favor the elite over the masses have received increasing attention in recent years. Political Capitalism explains that what people often view as the result of corruption and unethical behavior are symptoms of a distinct system of political economy. The symptoms of political capitalism are often viewed as the result of government intervention in a market economy, or as attributes of a capitalist economy itself. Randall G. Holcombe combines well-established theories in economics and the social sciences to show that political capitalism is not a mixed economy, or government intervention in a market economy, or some intermediate step between capitalism and socialism. After developing the economic theory of political capitalism, Holcombe goes on to explain how changes in political ideology have facilitated the growth of political capitalism, and what can be done to redirect public policy back toward the public interest.

Reviews

The 'mixed economic systems' of the United States and Western Europe once combined market-based institutions operating, to greater or lesser extents, under public-sector control. Randall G. Holcombe’s Political Capitalism documents the morphing of 'mixed' into 'crony'. Like Joseph Schumpeter before him, he warns that capitalism may not survive in a democracy after private business owners realize they can buy protection from pitiless competitive market forces from public officials, who, to advance their own political careers, are only too happy to exercise the state’s coercive powers on behalf of the capitalists’ interests. Robust free and open markets, the engines of prosperity, are transformed thereby into stagnant and corrupt national socialism. Political Capitalism is a bravura contribution to the political economy literature and a death knell for so-called democratic capitalism.'

William F. Shughart II - J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice, Utah State University

'For a century, political rhetoric has been constructed around a left-right axis that contrasts markets and states. Randall G. Holcombe explains that this conventional axis is no longer meaningful because we now inhabit a world of political capitalism where politics and economics are thoroughly entangled and inseparable.'

Richard E. Wagner - George Mason University, Virginia

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