TWILIGHT OR DAWN? a Travelers Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy
Prescient in several of his forecasts for how the globalized economy would play out in the new millennium, Gray's voice is definitely one that should be added to those hearkened to as we try to find our way out of the current slump that has spread its shadow around the world.
Feb 18, Phil rated it it was amazing. I can't believe that this book is 15 years old. Nassim Taleb referred to this book as "prophetic" but Gray's penetrating insights go beyond his now proven main thesis that American-style unregulated capitalism cannot go global in its current form without severe consequences for sustainability.
His peripheral analyses might be even more accurate. He destroys derivatives, the delusion of American secularism, and Newt Gingrich with what can best be described as "swagger. Jun 10, Alex Zakharov rated it it was amazing. False Dawn is John Gray's most cohesive, systematic, and focused work to date. In contrast to his typical style of jumping around, going off tangents, and throwing around all sorts of loosely coupled yet often sharp arguments this one reads like a manifesto. The main theme is a critique of Anglo-Saxon style free-market capitalism and it is argued brilliantly. Given that I definitely consider myself a free market leaning guy, the book made for a challenging but very rewarding read.
Gray admits False Dawn is John Gray's most cohesive, systematic, and focused work to date. Gray admits right off the bat that capitalism is the most efficient economic system known today, and that any form of socialism is doomed to failure. Gray continues on to point out that free market capitalism is only one form of capitalism, and any attempt to export it as a universal framework that would benefit any and every country is a utopian endeavor. He then argues and demonstrates how these various forms of capitalism arise as a function of the culture of the host country.
These cultures are different, will remain different, and there is no reason to expect the cultural values converge — and so the resulting forms of capitalism are bound to evolve along different trajectories. Another part of the book looks at historical record of free-market capitalism and analyzes a few countries where it was tried both successfully and unsuccessfully - obviously England twice — around s and under Thatcher , United States, New Zealand, Russia after Gorbachev, Eastern Europe.
In almost all examples Gray makes an argument that the attempted policies were either a complete fiasco e. Admittedly, this part of his analysis is debatable — for every single country he considered there are various counter arguments that could be made, and I believe they could be made successfully.
But that is hardly a "free-market". Or, when analyzing US — the fact that we're living under fiat currency, not tied to any commodity, and the Fed can print at will when it needs to would hardly qualify current regime as a free market. Anyway, my point is — this part of the book is debatable. That said he still brings about quite a few valid points, for example free market in practice always requires a large state. But more importantly, the argument that I found most interesting and most compelling is that free-market is incompatible with democracy.
After all, free-market policies do tend to increase income inequality in countries where they are introduced which btw is perfectly fine - people are not equal in their abilities and so yes "inequality" is bound to increase. But of course with time and almost by definition there is going to develop a minority which is more affluent than the majority. At that point it would not matter if those differences are deserved or not deserved and it also would not matter if the less affluent majority would still be comfortable economically.
In the end human nature will take over and the majority will attempt to reduce the perceived inequality. So pure democracy will necessarily result in majority rolling back the free-market policies that brought the perceived inequality into existence. The second brilliant argument that is hard disagree with is that free-market is in conflict with basic human needs of the majority.
Specifically, majority of people would value security over social mobility. Various studies in various disciplines have demonstrated it over and over again. For example, Kanehman showed that people are risk averse when it comes to gains and risk seeking when it comes to losses. In the end free-market capitalism seeks to achieve maximum economic efficiency and it does , but it fails to address the built-in human need for security. So in theory, if you want to run an enlightenment-inspired state for the benefit of the citizens allegedly you will have some hard choices to make… One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3, senior leaders from around the world.
To find out more, click here. The underlying theme of False Dawn is that the US is deluded by its own 'Enlightenment thesis', believing that democratic capitalism will soon be accepted throughout the world, merging into a single universal free market.
Although multinational corporations have become allies in promoting this 'unified theory' of a One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3, senior leaders from around the world. Although multinational corporations have become allies in promoting this 'unified theory' of a world civilisation, Gray believes it is desitned for failure, since it is based on the same flawed assumptions as communism: Jan 26, Philip Craggs rated it really liked it. One of our wisest modern philosophers predicts the global banking crisis ten years before it happened.
Fascinating and highly frustrating reading. May 19, Ezreal rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Delusions of Global Capitalism is a book by political philosopher John Gray that argues that free market globalization is unstable and is in the process of collapsing. Gray notes how the economic shock therapy in post-Communist nations has resulted in "the resources of the vast Soviet war machine In chapter one, Gray groups together thinkers such as John Locke and Karl Marx on the basis of striving for an Enlightenment Utopia in which "a diversity of cultures.
Aug 14, Ben rated it it was ok Shelves: In this dense and dull read, Gray puts forward the idea that global free markets are an ideology based on faith without any redeeming feature, and that the implementation of free markets is irreversible. This early work from Gray is not as clean and fresh as his later more philosophical works. False Dawn suffers from the academic language, and also from Gray's tendency to declare a fact without supporting it with example or evidence. I wasn't able to finish the book, but skimming the pages ahead In this dense and dull read, Gray puts forward the idea that global free markets are an ideology based on faith without any redeeming feature, and that the implementation of free markets is irreversible.
I wasn't able to finish the book, but skimming the pages ahead of where I finished showed the relentless dense prose continued. Jul 03, Ali Rizvi rated it liked it.
False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism
Chapters on America are really good as he knows something about it ; you can safely ignore the stuff on Russia and China, as it's mostly second hand stuff. Sep 26, Lynn rated it liked it Shelves: Economic analysis is important but not, to me, incredibly interesting. View all 3 comments. Dec 14, Babak Fakhamzadeh rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm not an economist and since Gray assumes the reader is knowledgeable in several complex economic theories, the book is hard to follow at times.
But it's worth it. Despite the rather complex nature of the material, Gray paints a lucid picture of the current state of global economic affairs and is able to show that, indeed, global capitalism as projected by "the Washington Consensus" USA, IMF, World bank is a farce.
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Gray points out that the world is on the verge of turmoil on a scale not unli I'm not an economist and since Gray assumes the reader is knowledgeable in several complex economic theories, the book is hard to follow at times. Gray points out that the world is on the verge of turmoil on a scale not unlike the world wars of the previous centuries and that we're on the eve of the start of a new "Great Game" the struggle for power in central Asia.
Given that the book was written in , Gray has already had his thesis proven. The book holds eight major arguments: Free markets are creatures of strong government and cannot exist without them. The natural tendency of society is to curb markets and free markets can only be created by a strong centralized state. Democracy and the free market are competitors rather than partners.
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The normal concomitant of free markets is not stable democratic government but the volatile politics of economic insecurity. Socialism as an economic system has broken down irretrievably. In both human and economic terms, the legacy of socialist central planning has been ruinous, both in Russia and in China. Though the implosion of Marxian socialism which in itself is a western orthodoxy has been welcomed in western countries, especially the United States, as a triumph for free market capitalism, it has not been followed in most formerly communist countries by the adoption of any western economic model.
In Russia and China, as well as the Asian "tiger" economies, indigenous forms of capitalism have been created that take into account local, historical and social elements that shape specific societies. Marxism-Leninism and free market economic rationalism, though they support different economic systems, have much in common. Both adopt a Promethean "use it as much as you can" attitude to nature and exhibit scant sympathy for the casualties of economic progress.
Both are varieties of the Enlightenment project of supplanting the historic diversity of human cultures with a single, universal civilization. The American idea of American exceptionalism has fused with free-market ideology. Americans view the global free market as an American project. However, by its nature, the American economy as a free market cannot be a winner in a global free market think of high tech jobs moving to India.
The chronic insecurities of late modern capitalism, especially in its most virulent free-market variants, corrode some of the central institutions and values of bourgeois life. The free market neglects the need for security and social identity that used to be met by the vocational structures of bourgeois societies. Examples for this argument are the non-existence of the extended family in the US and the high incarceration rates.
The US does not have the hegemonic power needed to make a universal free market a reality, even for a short time, but it has the power to veto reform of the world economy. As long as the US remains wedded to "the Washington consensus" on global laissez-faire, there can be no reform of world markets. An additional problem for ensuring hegemonic power is that globalization does not spread the free market; it spreads high-tech knowledge and machinery across the globe, allowing for organizations that are not managed by nation-states to wage war on their perceived enemies Al-Qaeda, etc.
Gray concludes that "The Great Game" in which world powers struggled a century ago for control of oil in Central Asia might well recur soon enough as it has! Gray also nails the political situation for recognizing and reacting to the limits of a finite environment: Both are variants of the Enlightenment project of supplanting the historic diversity of human cultures with a single, universal civilization.
The global free market is that Enlightenment project in its latest — perhaps last — form. This could be better thought out — though this may disturb his nihilist-curmudgeon reputation. Mar 06, Adrian rated it really liked it. This book examines different modes of economic organization around the world. The social or even socialist capitalism of the E. The purpose of the book is to examine how the economies of these countries actually work, not how their policies fit into theoretical models of economic behavior. Gray is highly critical of Free Market Capitalism because of its fundamental irrationality.
Our economy is based on the belief that markets work better than any other system, on faith that the market can solve any problem, improve any inefficiency. Other methods of economic organization are dismissed in the US because they pose a challenge to orthodoxy, to religion, not only to our elite classes. The biggest problem with the book in my mind is that it is rapidly becoming out of date. The world economy has changed so much since the book was first published and a comprehensively updated edition would be very welcome. May 15, Alex rated it really liked it. John Gray is at his best when eviscerating the assumptions of Global Capitalism.
That this book was written in the early 90s merely makes it seem all the more prophetic. Of particular value are the sections on Asian capitalism and the idea of classical Japan as genuine, successful no-growth economy with high standards of living and services. Interestingly, Japan's protracted economic 'slump' may be a return to this culturally unique form of capitalism. Some of Gray's economic analysis is a bit la John Gray is at his best when eviscerating the assumptions of Global Capitalism. Some of Gray's economic analysis is a bit lacking - he seems to at times confuse or mis-characterize many aspects of trade or economic theory - then again, Gray is a philosopher, and his most trenchant points hold.
What Gray does do is an alternative and equally valid way of looking at market interactions, as noted above. The idea of "species" of capitalism is critical to an understanding of Gray's overall analysis. Aug 12, Manuel J. It's a book a little difficult to classify. In a sense, it's a call to look at things economic from a different perspective. The author does not assume that there is one solution for everybody, quite the contrary. The best way to describe it is by a citation from the page before the last The freedoms of the market are not ends in It's a book a little difficult to classify.
Can anyone suggest a simpler word processer? If you watch much TV you have to be impressed how color-blind it has been lately. Or on the regular shows black talk show hosts, game, or courtroom dramas feature black women or men lawyers and judges. The same could be written about the real professional folk who are featured often in gushing prose in the newspapers and news shows.
The point is it sometimes looks like a conspiracy in reverse. No doubt the cards were stacked against blacks before, nowadays the doubt is a that blacks are dominant n in the media and for that matter in the culture. The only counter-trend is the popularity of President Donald Trump. Whom some Democrats see as a dangerous racist. He has appointed some high IQ blacks and women to high office and more importantly, he has kept his promise—manufacturing is coming back and the black unemployment numbers for Blacks are at historic lows!! Leftist clergy like to make fun of claims that American culture is superior.
They are especially offended by the claim that America led the way into the Modern Age exceptualism. They seem to take delight in pointing out that the slavery of Blacks and our crimes against Native Americans make any claims of superiority a virtual laughing stock. Why am I not laughing? Because slavery was very common for hundreds of thousands of years in pretty much all societies ad empires including African and Native American tribes. And it took half a million, mostly white and mostly prejudiced, American lives, including my great-grandfather, to get rid of slavery once and for all.
Their remote ancestors came from Asia—over the Aleutian land bridge connecting the two continents. With no doubt a great deal more pain and trouble than our ancestors had to deal with on the Mayflower. A few graduated to the Agricultural Age and founded large cities and thriving Civilizations in Mexico, Peru, and Illinois. All of these civilizations featured impressive buildings, social order, many diseases, cruelty, slavery, and religions that demanded human sacrifice.
Getting back to the theme I started with. It is extremely unlikely that Trump will be impeached. He probably will do better than expected in mid-term elections. Along with a backfire from too much extreme color-blindness on TV courtesy of liberal and sympathetic -media Jews who do own the media broadcasts and newspapers.
And the celebrities of New York and Hollywood. Eventually it is inevitable. Looking for gift for people who have everything but care about ideas—young devout Catholic to strident middle-aged left-liberal clergy to old-guy conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!
Or view some sound ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on Youtube. The only counter trend is the popularity of President Donald Trump. He has appointed some high IQ blacks and women to high office and more important he has kept his promise—manufacturing is coming back and the black unemployment numbers for Blacks are at historic lows!! He has appointed some high IQ blacks and women to high office and more importantly he has kept his promise—manufacturing is coming back and the black unemployment numbers for Blacks are at historic lows!!
They are especially offended by the claim that America led the way into the Modern Age. Along with a backfire from too much extreme and phony color-blindness on TV courtesy of liberal and sympathetic -media Jews who do own the majority of media broadcasts and newspapers.
Eventually, it is inevitable. I come from a divorced family so that makes a difference. I do truly love and care about all members of my extended family, including my first wife and all the children of Jane and Virginia qnd all my wonderful nieces, sister Judy, nephews and in-laws whom I am happy to report are all living well and still working for the most part But face it, there is some dissent and some bitterness about the past on all sides as well as different styles of living so I better continue to stick to my specialty—abstract ideas. I believe this country, the USA, is exceptional in that it that has led the world into the Modern Age.
Ant still leads, yes, with Trump as president. Leftists think this claim is a laughing stock because of slavery and our crimes against the Native Americans. Many if not most civilizations and empires, had slavery, including African ones. Leftists argue slavery and our crimes against Native Americans make the laughing even louder.
They also seem to forget that half a million white guys, including my great-grandfather, gave their lives to preserve the union and get rid of slavery for good. To abolish this meme of working could not be easily changed. Expecting a quick and easy transition was always unrealistic.
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It still is unrealistic over years later. It would help if authorities recognized the different values of different Ages.
False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism by John N. Gray
Most important of all assumption memes from previous Ages is that wealth is measured in things—land, gold, and resources based on the land. Wealth is measured in accomplishments in science, technology, business, energy, or art and not in things however rich and cool they seem. Japan, Taiwan,, Switzerland, Israel, and Singapore are all very wealthy countries.
They all have few resources but are very rich nevertheless. Tanzania, Egypt, Poland, Cuba, Afghanistan, and Palestine do have abundant resources and are very poor. These have had unfortunate flirts and bloody wars with fascism and communism. They have natural resources in abundance and are wealthy. It was not always so. Once they adapted science and technology, freedom of religion, and capitalist market economies in earnest they have made rapid progress in the Modern Age and as a matter of fact are exporting food and other resources of value.
In fact, I think recycling is a recipe for poverty and recession, if not deep depression.. It all got started with a report to the president at the turn of the century. This report warned that we might be running out of resources to feed, shelter, clothe, and move a rapidly expanding population on earth. The only way possible for humanity to make it was a quick turn to reuse, repair, and recycle. Meanwhile food itself, along with other life necessary resources was setting records for production and cheapness. A companion story in the same issue as the alarming quote on recycling told readers that filly half the food produced was never eaten!
Instead millions of Americans are on diets in the 21st century and the AP reports there is twice as much food produced. India and China are self- sufficient and as a matter of fact are exporters of food. Miners worldwide are eager to mine coal, iron and aluminum ore, sand and limestone. Energy workers and companies are eager to drill oil wells and frack natural gas to provide the energy required for manufacturers to convert the steel, aluminum, and plastic into cars, refrigerators, and smartphones.
The left-liberal clergy is great when it comes to fighting racism and sexism. They are not so great when they tell us we have too many people, the climate is going to do us in, we are going to run out of everything, and that the only way we can possibly survive is to reuse, repair, and recycle!
Sill another myth is that we are running out of landfill space. Or of course, we could always return to imperialist wars! Looking for the gift for people who have everything but care about ideas—young devout Catholic to strident middle-aged left-liberal clergy to old-guy conservative libertarian.
Nowadays Jane and I do have an income now.