Confronting capitalism Real solutions for a troubled economic system

Philip Kotler

Book - 2015

Assesses fourteen major vulnerabilities in the American economic system, and offers solutions for buttressing shortcomings and returning to a more sustainable capitalism.

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New York : AMACOM--American Management Association 2015.
First Edition
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
vi, 248 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Philip Kotler (author)
Review by Choice Reviews

Kotler (Northwestern Univ.) is a renowned marketing scholar with degrees in economics from the Univ. of Chicago and MIT.  This book shows him returning to his disciplinary roots in an attempt to highlight problems with capitalism primarily as practiced in the US.  For each shortcoming he notes in 14 chapters, Kotler suggests potential solutions.  Written for educated laypeople, the book largely draws from popular press books and newspaper articles.  Well-read readers are therefore unlikely to find anything new here as nearly all the criticisms of capitalism (economic instability, worker exploitation, monopolies, environmental damage, etc.) have been around for a long time.  Though some issues he raises are important problems, too often what Kotler lists as a problem of free markets is actually a problem of government.  In chapter 11, for example, he argues that low public investment in infrastructure in the US is a problem of capitalism, not democracy!  More generally, the analysis would have benefitted considerably had the author incorporated public choice insights into his criticism and proposals.  Actual market outcomes should be compared to actual government outcomes, not to some ideal outcome that the political system cannot achieve. Summing Up: Optional. General readers. --J. C. Hall, West Virginia University Joshua C. Hall West Virginia University Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Though known for his writings on marketing, Kotler (marketing, Northwestern Univ.) is a trained economist. His intent here is to examine the flaws in modern capitalism for a wide audience. He identifies 14 interrelated shortcomings, such as the persistence of poverty, its short-term orientation, and the exploitation of the environment. The author devotes a chapter to each, outlining criticisms and defenses, and offering possible solutions. For the problem of rising income inequality, he cites the criticisms of economist Thomas Piketty in his best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century as well as billionaire Warren Buffett's objections to having a lower tax rate than his secretary. Kotler then looks at ameliorating inequality by increasing the minimum wage, capping top executive pay, improving transfer payment programs, and closing tax loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy. VERDICT Kotler's discussion of the issues is both clear and concise; he succeeds in distilling complex ideas and contrasting opinions into a balanced analysis that all readers can understand. He does for the pitfalls of capitalism what Thomas L. Friedman did in explaining globalization in The World Is Flat. This deserves a wide readership.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA [Page 95]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

With one side of the political aisle proposing increasingly more socialistic and anti-capitalistic ideas, the other side has been quick to defend our country’s great economic model, with good reason. Capitalism--spanning a spectrum from laissez faire to authoritarian--shapes the market economies of all the wealthiest and fastest-growing nations. But does that mean it is perfect as is, and that we would not all benefit from an honest evaluation and reconstruction of the free market system that has shaped our country’s way of economic growth?The truth is, trouble is cracking capitalism’s shiny veneer. In the US, Europe, and Japan, economic growth has slowed down. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few; natural resources are exploited for short-term profit; and good jobs are hard to find. In Confronting Capitalism, business expert Philip Kotler explains 14 major problems undermining capitalism, including:• Persistent and increasing poverty• Automation’s effects on job creation• High debt burdens• Steep environmental costs• Boom-bust economic cycles• And moreBut this landmark book does not stop with merely revealing the problems. It also delivers a heartening message: We can turn things around! Movements toward shared prosperity and a higher purpose are reinvigorating companies large and small, while proposals abound on government policies that offer protections without stagnation. Kotler identifies the best ideas, linking private and public initiatives into a force for positive change, and offers suggestions for returning to a healthier, more sustainable capitalism that works for all.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Assesses fourteen major vulnerabilities in the American economic system, and offers solutions for buttressing shortcomings and returning to a more sustainable capitalism.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Kotler presents readers with an examination of fourteen problems he believes are undermining contemporary capitalism, including debt burdens, job creation struggles, persistent poverty, the disproportionate influence of the wealthy on public policy, environmental issues, the cyclical nature of the economy, and others. The author has organized the main body of his text in fourteen chapters devoted to the persistence of poverty, the rise of income inequity, job creation in the face of automation, and a wide variety of other related subjects. Philip Kotler is a faculty member of Northwester University, Illinois. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Review by Publisher Summary 4

We don’t need to replace capitalism, just improve it--so that it can work for all!