Let me start with a confession: I live in a capitalistic country. Let me add another confession: my believe in capitalism is sketchy at best.
O.k.; I did it, I came out as a doubter of capitalism.
But why am I doubting capitalism? To keep a long story short: the fundamental assumptions of contemporary “pure capitalism” are flawed (homo economics, knowledge symmetry …), and even state-controlled capitalism has its major problems (influence of policy making through economic processes, etc.). Further more, the scientific basis of capitalism, as it is taught at business schools today, is sketchy at best. Major criticism against the scientific basis of modern economics was, for instance, launched by Nicolas Taleb, who had come to the insight that the statistical models used in finance significantly and systematically underestimate the probability of big events (financial crisis in 2007/2008, dotcom stock-market crisis at the beginning of the millennium, …). This bias in the economic models actually amplified and even accelerated the impact of these crises. Other critics have undermined the rational-actor assumption in economics the way innovation affects companies and the market and ,and whether market processes even lead locally to efficiency. And the list goes on.
So, capitalism is not perfect, and the globally hummed mantra of neo-liberalism is based on core believes that do not square with reality. Since we all are inundated with neo-liberal ideas every day, it would of course be good to know all these shortcomings and pitfalls of free-market ideology by heart. However, if you do not want to study this topic one weighty book at a time, a cliff-note version of all the arguments against neo-liberalism is a real perk. That brings me to the title of this blog: The Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang wrote a book for “lazy readers” of economy. In his book (23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism), he engages 23 myths about capitalism in dense, informative, perspicuous, and often times even entertaining focus chapters. They span all the way from destroying foundational myths, like the existence of a free market, to more detailed criticism of free-market economics. An example for the latter is that a country does not need good economists to pursue good national economics.