Confronting Capitalism

Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

 Confronting Capitalism

Author: Philip Kotler
Pub Date: April 2015
Print Edition: $26.00
Print ISBN: 9780814436455
Page Count: 256
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436462

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In one dramatic swoop, the Great Recession exposed flaws in the financial industry and the danger of bubbles. But the subsequent fallout has revealed more—structural weaknesses so severe that they threaten our nation’s economic health and the welfare of our democratic society.

The problems are immense: a scarcity of well-paid jobs, underemployment, heavy consumer debt, and a scandalous number of children living in poverty. Multinationals and the megawealthy tuck their money into tax havens, while the rest of us—the middle class, the mom-and-pop businesses, the strivers grasping for a better life—just barely hang on.

What happened to the American Dream? Capitalism is not working like it used to, concludes Philip Kotler, a renowned business thinker and classically trained economist. Fourteen interlocked forces are undermining our once exceptional market economy, which now struggles to sustain its roles as the engine of growth and prosperity and as a rudder in turbulent times.

Confronting Capitalism delivers a sweeping assessment of the vulnerabilities in our system. Cutting through the noise—the political squabbles, finger pointing, and strident ideologies—it carefully analyzes what’s gone wrong. It synthesizes a vast amount of data, analysis, and ideas, considering opposing arguments and identifying the ones that stand up to scrutiny. And it offers dozens of suggestions for fixing problems and buffering weaknesses.

From the impact of tax loopholes on income inequality to the corrupting influence of corporate lobbyists on politics, refreshingly clear explanations provide both the big picture and the depth and nuance needed to grasp the issues. The book looks at challenges in the global economy, then focuses its lens at home, including:

• How worker well-being has plummeted as the minimum wage fails to meet sustenance levels, while companies rely on taxpayers to shoulder the gap . . . with ideas for how to raise the minimum wage while minimizing job loss and maintaining global competitiveness

• How technology and automation have disrupted industries from music to retail to manufacturing, and threaten the steady demise of more jobs . . . with strategies for expanding opportunities through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship programs, and more training in STEM fields

• How the trough-to-peak business cycle intrinsic to capitalist market economies has triggered 33 recessions in the United States from 1857 to today . . . with proposed policies for cooling down over-heated economies and reducing speculation as well as corporate strategies for moderating turbulence

Every shortcoming—the financialization of the economic system, companies’ short-term growth and profit objectives, insufficient investment in the infrastructure, neglect of the environment, and more—is linked, and each surmountable. Confronting Capitalism maps out the most pressing challenges we face as a nation, and plots a bold new direction for achieving a society that offers a better and fairer chance for all its citizens.

Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Although best known as a marketing guru, Kotler trained as an economist. He received his Master’s in Economics at the University of Chicago under famed Nobel laureate and free-market evangelist Milton Friedman before pursuing his Ph.D. at MIT under Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow, two Nobel Prize–winning Keynesian economists. He is the author of more than 50 books, including the bestselling Marketing Management.

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