Summary of The End of the Free Market

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No truce appears on the horizon in the battle between government control and free markets, a conflict that has intensified in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 recession. Political strategist Ian Bremmer examines the differing models of “state capitalism” that have gained ground in emerging economies around the world. Using varying levels of political control, countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are adapting the capitalist scenario to their particular situations and needs, thereby presenting obstacles to a fair fight with Western businesses. While decrying the unfair advantage governments bring to successful emerging economies, Bremmer concedes that free markets alone can’t solve all society’s issues, and he advocates for “better government, not less government.” getAbstract recommends this thorough, cogent study to global business executives looking to understand and compete in state-capitalist countries.

About the Author

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, a political-risk consulting company.



Back to the Future

Public ownership of private enterprise had a dramatic resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century. Despite the widespread belief that state-controlled economies were on their way out with the fall of communism in the late 1980s, the 2008 financial crisis has resulted in a revival of government intervention, investment and financing in many of the world’s banking and industrial sectors. In addition, the blossoming of the G7 bloc into the G20 group means that what was once a coalition of firm “champions of free-market capitalism” has morphed to include “relative free-market skeptics” such as Russia, China and India.

What does this mean for Western capitalism? Other nations see the US as the origin of the 2008 crisis and the ensuing recession, which quickly moved worldwide. The US and Europe had to intervene rapidly and massively to protect their financial systems from collapse. Western nations bailed out and effectively nationalized banks, insurance companies and car manufacturers. The huge infusion of public money into private companies gave free-market skeptics an opening to question the viability of US and European capitalist hegemony; they...

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