Capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty. Under its guiding hand, living standards throughout the Western world have been transformed. Further afield, the trail blazed by Japan is being followed by other emerging market countries across the globe, creating prosperity on a breathtaking scale. And yet, capitalism is unloved. From its discontents to its outright enemies, voices compete to point out the flaws in the system that allow increasingly powerful elites to grab an ever larger share of our collective wealth. In this incisive, clear-sighted guide, award-winning Financial Times journalist John Plender explores the paradoxes and pitfalls inherent in this extraordinarily dynamic mechanism - and in our attitudes to it. Taking us on a journey from the Venetian merchants of the Renaissance to the gleaming temples of commerce in 21st-century Canary Wharf via the South Sea Bubble, Dutch tulip mania and manic-depressive gambling addicts, Plender shows us our economic creation through the eyes of philosophers, novelists, poets, artists and divines. Along the way, he delves into the ethics of debt; reveals the truth about the unashamedly materialistic artistic giants who pioneered copyrighting; and traces the path of our instinctive conviction that entrepreneurs are greedy, unethical opportunists, hell-bent on capital accumulation, while manufacturing is innately virtuous. Thoughtful, eloquent and above all compelling, Capitalism is a remarkable contribution to the enduring debate.
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