Masterful ... Alan remains down-to-earth, extremely articulate and a clear, sharp thinker ... You don’t have to be an economics wonk to enjoy and learn from Capitalism in America. As long as you engage your brain and pay attention, you will find plenty of food for thought in this lucid, accessible potted history of what one might call Capitalism American Style ... Readers — and leaders — seeking a reliable road map to solutions will find many of them in Capitalism in America.
Less a conventional history than an extended polemic, Capitalism in America: A History...explores and ultimately celebrates the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of 'creative destruction' ... While this approach risks oversimplifying centuries of American economic history, it provides a useful lens for analyzing America’s current polarization and for understanding the centrifugal forces that have given rise to a President Trump, on the right, or a Bernie Sanders on the left. Other than a few paragraphs arguing the case that the Fed’s easy money policy had little to no impact on the housing bubble that led to the Great Recession, Capitalism in America has almost nothing to say about Greenspan’s own role in recent economic history, and he offers no defense of his tenure as Fed chairman. But that isn’t his purpose here ... The entire book is an indictment of Trump’s stands on immigration and protectionism and his attempts to resurrect fading mining and industrial concerns—attempts that, as Capitalism in America shows repeatedly, are almost surely doomed ... Capitalism in America, in both its interpretation of economic history and its recipe for revival, is likely to offend the dominant Trump wing of the Republican Party and the resurgent left among Democrats. It’s not clear who, if anyone, will pick up the Greenspan torch.
While it is no surprise that Greenspan and Wooldridge have produced this book, they are, I think, broadly correct in their argument ... The argument, however, is one-sided and does have blind spots ... [The various takes on issues within economics] is one of the things that makes this book well worth reading. Greenspan is wise, is trying his best to think things through, wants only the best, and it’s perfectly fine that he thinks very differently than I do. I am pleased to welcome and endorse this contribution to our public conversation today.
A sweeping tome that takes us from the Founders to the election of Donald Trump. Their work is an accessible overview of American business history, but also presents a case for capitalism ... Readers who already believe our future depends on a dynamic, free market will have their beliefs bolstered by Capitalism in America. Yet I suspect few millennial supporters of Sen. Sanders will read these pages, feel the scales drop from their eyes and suddenly believe that the answer is less government.
I was gobsmacked by this account of that period by Alan Greenspan, former chair of the US Federal Reserve, and Adrian Wooldridge, the Economist’s political editor. Neither man would deign to descend to the deep stacks of the wonderful library on Capitol Hill to discover anything, or to read sources that might challenge their deeply entrenched ideological views ... The overall story is one of bewildering advance – the book rollicks along like a good Victorian adventure story – but only as long as those malevolent forces can be kept at bay ... What threatens American capitalism now is not regulation and entitlement – it is the decline of the Enlightenment spirit and the accompanying public realm under assault from intellectual hawkers and proselytisers of an ultra-libertarian barbarism. This book, for all its breathless enthusiasm for capitalism, has sadly helped their cause.
Capitalism in America is an unabashed, detailed defense of capitalism ... This book, however, is more than a history of creative destruction. For example, Greenspan offers a history of the federal government’s increased role in the American economy which surged in the Great Depression ... While Greenspan does not ignore the harmful side of creative destruction, some readers will want more about the labor strife, worker safety, poverty, and pollution of the era. Moreover, for the book as a whole, do not expect the full case against capitalism, including issues of inequality, to be stated and rebutted therein. Still, Greenspan has accomplished a great deal because, by showing what capitalism has achieved for America in the past, he has made the best case possible for keeping and improving capitalism for the future.
Part popular history, part political intervention, part subtle exoneration of Greenspan for the financial crisis of 2008, this strange book is at heart a declension narrative—an elegy for the American capitalism of yesteryear ... Although the long sweep of American economic history is the ostensible subject of Capitalism in America, the answers that it provides to these questions tell us more about Alan Greenspan than about the history of capitalism in America ... The book is shot through with remarkably ideological readings of American history—everything from the unabashed deification of individual entrepreneurs to occasional exegeses on the glory of gold. In his old age, Greenspan appears to be returning to the faiths that inspired him as a young man (or perhaps he’d never left them behind) ... Some readers may be tempted to skip ahead to the concluding chapters for some insight into how Greenspan views recent economic events, especially those in which he himself was involved. However, anyone looking for particular evidence of how the economy looked from the viewpoint of the Federal Reserve will be disappointed ... Greenspan and Wooldridge’s historical scholarship leaves much to be desired ... While Capitalism in America falls short as a work of history, its larger problems are political.
The authors provide a predictably triumphalist reading of the growth of American capitalism ... Consistently engaging and packed with fun facts, the book speeds along at high velocity, pausing only to extol the virtues of American democracy and capitalism—which, for the authors, are essentially the same thing. This book will hold no surprises for those familiar with Greenspan’s career.