23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Ha-Joon Chang

Publisher: Penguin, 2010, 286 pages

ISBN: 978-0-14104-797-3

Keywords: Macroeconomics

Last modified: July 29, 2021, 8:04 a.m.

In this revelatory book, Ha-Joon Chang destroys the biggest myths of our times and shows us the truth about how the world really works, including: there's no such thing as a free market; the washing machine has changed lives more than the internet; people in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than in wealthy ones; and making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer.

We don't have to accept things as they are. Ha-Joon Chang is here to show us there's a better way.

  • Thing One: There is really no such thing as a free market.
  • Thing Two: Companies should not be run in the interest of their owners.
  • Thing Three: Most people in rich countries get paid more than they should.
  • Thing Four: The washing machine has changed the world more than the internet.
  • Thing Five: Assume the worst about people, and you get the worst.
  • Thing Six: Greater macroeconomic stability has not made the world economy more stable.
  • Thing Seven: Free-market policies rarely make poor countries richer.
  • Thing Eight: Capital has a nationality.
  • Thing Nine: We do not live in a post-industrial age.
  • Thing Ten: The US does not have the highest living standard in the world.
  • Thing Eleven: Africa is not destined for under-development.
  • Thing Twelve: Government can pick winners.
  • Thing Thirteen: Making rich people richer doesn’t make the rest of us richer.
  • Thing Fourteen: US managers are over-priced.
  • Thing Fifteen: People in poor countries are more entrepreneurial than people in rich countries.
  • Thing Sixteen: We are not smart enough to leave things to the market.
  • Thing Seventeen: More education in itself is not going to make a country richer.
  • Thing Eighteen: What is good for the General Motors is not necessarily good for the US.
  • Thing Nineteen: Despite the fall of Communism, we are still living in planned economies.
  • Thing Twenty: Equality of opportunities is unequal.
  • Thing Twenty-one: Big government makes people more, not less, open to changes.
  • Thing Twenty-two: Financial markets need to become less, not more, efficient.
  • Thing Twenty-three: Good economic policy does not require good economists.
  • Conclusion: How to rebuild the world economy


23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Excellent ********** (10 out of 10)

Last modified: March 2, 2013, 11:16 p.m.

Reading this book was a pure love affair! Not that I always agree with his conclusions, but he made me think and challenged a lot of my own assumptions. And he did it in very nice prose, with a lot of anecdotes (lacks a bit of references to be a truly academic work).

Whatever your view of capitalism is, this is a must read! A pleasure to read.


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)