False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism
by John Gray


 
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Synopsis and Publisher and Readers' Comments

Synopsis:
Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as both "a convincing analysis of an international economy" and a "powerful challenge to economic orthodoxy," False Dawn, now available in paperback, shows that the attempt to impose the Anglo-American-style free market on the world will create a disaster, possibly on the scale of Soviet communism. Even America, the supposed flagship of the new civilization, risks moral and social disintegration as it loses ground to other cultures that have never forgotten that the market works best when it is embedded in society.

John Gray, well known in the 1980s as an important conservative political thinker, whose writings were relied upon by Margaret Thatcher and the New Right in Britain, has concluded that the conservative agenda is no longer viable. In his examination of the ripple effects of the economic turmoil in Russia and Asia on our collective future, Gray provides one of the most passionate polemics against the utopia of the free market since Carlyle and Marx.

John Gray is a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. His books include Isaiah Berlin and Enlightenment's Wake. He lives in London.


Praise for False Dawn:
"False Dawn is a powerful analysis of the deepening instability of global capitalism. It should be read by all who are concerned about the future of the world economy."�George Soros

"Mr. Gray is surely one of Britain's leading public intellectuals ... [his] economic theory ... offers a useful reminder that the global economy need not look the same everywhere."�The Wall Street Journal

"A worthwhile book talks to you. A really worthwhile one invites you to talk back. It won't take you many pages to enter into a dialogue with False Dawn." �Bloomberg

"[Gray's] new book argues-actually, thunders-that the global economic system is immoral, inequitable, unworkable, and unstable... . He recognizes that the movement toward free markets, goods and ideas is not a naturally occurring process but rather a political project that rests on American power."�The New York Times Book Review

"A convincing analysis of an international economy headed for disaster... . Listening to this powerful challenge to economic orthodoxy could improve human prospects."�Kirkus Reviews

Other views by Readers:
The Green Man
This is a book that I could easily go over the top about and hurl superlatives at ad-infinitum. It is a great book. First of all I'd like to clear up the point that this book is written by John Gray. This is NOT the John Gray that wrote the trite "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". This book is of an all together different class written by a professor of European Thought for LSE. Gray's thesis is that global capitalism is neither the natural manifestation of an unregualted state, one that it will progress to given time and a lack of government interference. He makes the point that global capitalism is inherently unstable and of its time, a time which is running out. Gray breaks his thesis down into eight sub-plots and examines these within the context of several world economies. His exposition of the American economic globalization project is compelling.

Gray looks at the development and decline of European, British, American, Russian and Eastern economies. He presents the historical as a map to the future and warns against the Post-Enlightenment super-narrative project, of which he sees the US as the last flailing attempt. Gresham's Law, that bad money drives out good money, but that good money cannot drive out bad, is cited as the downfall of all Laissez-faire economies. Gray considers how captilist markets are engineered in order to be 'free' and suggests that a 'social market', along European lines, is much more what you end up with without state intervention. He dispells the American myth that it has an economy which is free, deregulated and without government intervention.

There are a couple of sections which are updates for the 2002 edition (the original coming out in 1998). In these Gray considers the points he makes in the book in the light of the 11th September terrorist incidents. These sections are quite sobering and would be even more so if re-written in light of the terrorism in Indonesia and possibly the Phillipines over the past week. I have no background in economics and the book takes a fair bit of reading. However, it is written clearly and in a style that kept me interested to the very end. A really good book which is essential reading for anyone who wishes to be informed regarding current Western economic practices.

Ashwin- Bangalore, India
This is a very well written book that brings out a political perspective on Globalization, Free Trade and its impact/consequences.
Unlike most books which run into conspiracy theories of Capitalism running amok and corporations driving covert agendas, this book instead takes a look at the political scenarios existing in various key countries & the complex interplay between the political history of the state & the impact of capitalism & hence the very role of the State. After dissecting Britain & the US, the author goes on to give very well researched examples from Russia and East Asian States - he covers the political history of each of these places & clearly outlines how Capitalism morphs into a regional variant under different political systems and the consequences of this morphing.

The author powerfully argues how Capitalism & Globalization are not delinked from the role of the State ... and debunks the myth of a single universal culture. The book ends on a dark note where it raises serious questions about the presence & effectiveness of a Global governing body to handle the inadequacies of capitalism, driven by technological globalization.

Its not an easy book to read, and requires a good knowledge of political history (US/UK/Russia/Singapore/China/Japan) & basic economics; but once finished, it is a definitive eye opener from a political perspective, on how the situation today has developed and what the future holds out.
 

 

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