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First of, by way of full disclosure, I was forced to read this book for an economics class. And I didn't really like it. Until I finished it, at which time I liked it a little better.

Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism

This might be the same effect that causes me to remember former presidents more fondly after their funerals, I don't know. The authors main point is really very simple- free markets are better for society than "collectivist" systems. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but his take on political and social situations, and what he presumes to be cause and effect relationships with economic situations, are interesting; the real truth is that I couldn't put down the book, even while disagreeing with and occasionally disliking the author.

Mr Lindsey has another point, a result of the first: And he might have a point.


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My disagreements with him tend to be associated with ommission- his view of Global Capitalism is a tad rosy, and it rarely takes responsibility for its actions. I wouldn't swear to it, but I do not remember him ever using the word "Sweatshop", for example. He may just have been spelling it differently "e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d-e-m-p-l-o-y-m-e-n-t" or something similar , but he never addresses the dark side of unfettered capitalism to my satisfaction.

Nor does he sufficiently contemplate the idea that socialist revoltions in asia and europe might be a result of the economic liberalism of the victorian age.

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Just sayin, that's all. So anyway, there it is. It's a good read, if you like that kind of thing, and despite the many and multifarious ways in which the author is fundamentally wrong, his opinions and arguments are worth reading, if only sharpen your own veiwpoint.

Sep 06, Marcella rated it it was amazing. I couldn't put this book down once I started it. It's a very engaging, well written book explaining the importance of globalization in our forward economic progress and the barriers to globalization the dead hand that still attempt to block globalization. If you don't understand already, this book helps you realize just how small the world really is and how important it is that we all work together to promote what is in all our best economic interests.

Alysemac rated it really liked it May 05, Jonathan rated it really liked it Sep 27, Kate rated it liked it Jan 07, David C rated it really liked it May 02, Paul rated it really liked it Sep 16, Alex rated it really liked it Feb 06, Warren Meyer rated it really liked it Jul 17, Matsini1 rated it it was amazing Jun 30, Colin rated it really liked it May 12, Victor Chiang rated it really liked it Nov 03, Stephen Rauscher rated it really liked it Sep 27, Nicholas rated it really liked it Mar 12, Milena Thomas rated it it was amazing Feb 10, Sovereign governments, we have come to believe, are increasingly passive respondents to the initiatives of international capital.

Brink Lindsey, however, challenges the new consensus in his sweeping book Against the Dead Hand: The Uncertain Struggle for Global Capitalism. He portrays globalization as a kind of wholesome vacuum filler, the vacuum having been created by the loss of credibility and authority of statism and collectivism, the regnant economic and political doctrines in the world for most of the twentieth century.

Near-universal statism, he maintains, choked off the naturally expansive impulses of capital, the precedent for which was the explosion of the world economy in the half-century or so before World War I.

He claims that blame for the interwar implosion of the world economy lies with statism and collectivism. He starts blandly, stating the consensus view that the Industrial Revolution made possible an unprecedented degree of international integration by means of plunging transportation and communication costs in the second half of the nineteenth century. Then, becoming boldly original, he identifies a nasty by-product, the rise of a widespread engineering attitude toward economics and a concomitant faith in technology and science as the engines of economic progress.

This belief, he claims, in turn fostered faith in top-down control and central planning as the appropriate means for encouraging economic development. The results at the political level were a set of policies and programs that he labels the Industrial Counterrevolution. Generally speaking, this sensibility was conducive to a collectivist or at least nonliberal social order because social institutions and the rule of law were deemed at best secondary or at worst irrelevant in promoting economic progress, which was viewed as a mere engineering problem.

Following from the ascendancy of collectivism, however, was the death of the cosmopolitan vision of free trade and international peace because they came increasingly into conflict with national goals and group solidarity but were not perceived as critical to national prosperity. Thus, during the interwar period, the old international system met an untimely end when confronted with a variety of challenges, including new political realities, inflation and debt in various countries, and ultimately the Great Depression.

This dichotomy persisted until the s, when the counterrevolutionary ideal became exhausted and extensive links with the market were forged by China and other countries that formerly had practiced import substitution or other statist nostrums. Mr Lindsey points out that today's period of globalisation has a precursor in the free markets and economic integration of the midth century. That early bout, however, was cruelly interrupted by what Mr Lindsey calls the industrial counter-revolution: For much of the 20th century, the invisible hand of the market gave way, he writes, to the dead hand of the state.

That changed when large parts of the world emerged from communism and statism. But the process is far from finished.

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With his stories from the Russian steel mills of Magnitogorsk to backyard makers of ""boogis"" bare-boned home-made vehicles in India, Mr Lindsey explains how the effects of state ownership, price controls, trade barriers and other leftovers from the statist era still grossly impede the global economy. He regards the failings attributed to globalisation the financial crises of the late s, for instance as the result of a collision between markets and statism. Yes, globalisation has been unstable.

The cause is less market liberalisation as such than the fact that the liberalisation remains incomplete. At times Mr Lindsey's faith in the market may be extreme, but mostly this book is full of elegantly argued good sense.

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The Economist , May 2, Brink Lindsey provides an eloquent, much needed corrective by putting international integration into historical context Brink Lindsey's Against the Dead Hand: Lindsey articulates a fervent defense of open markets at the same time he poses serious concerns about their future. Director of the libertarian Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, a Washington think tank, Lindsey worries that too many people assume that the continuation of globalization is inevitable. He instead believes that globalization is in its infancy and will be threatened by a series of childhood maladies that could include national and regional financial crises, protectionist backlashes, and antiglobalization political movements.


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  4. Lindsey recasts the history of trade and commerce over the past years in a highly original way that will intrigue anyone involved in international business. His thesis is that the first great wave of globalization, which lasted until World War I, arose both because of the strength of the intellectual argument in its favor and because of the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution. But as early as the s, he finds the beginnings of what he calls ""the Industrial Counterrevolution.