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What are the main arguments put forward in Ha Joon Chang's 23 things they don't teach you about capitalism?

A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 4 Feb 2023

Ha Joon Chang's "23 Things They Don't Teach You About Capitalism" is a book that critiques mainstream economics and challenges many of the assumptions and beliefs commonly held about capitalism.

Here are some of the main arguments put forward in the book:

  1. Capitalism is not natural or eternal, but is a historical and social construct that has evolved over time.
  2. The idea that markets are self-regulating is a myth, and the role of government in regulating markets is critical to maintaining stability and promoting economic growth.
  3. Free trade is not always beneficial, and protectionist policies can be necessary in some cases to promote economic development.
  4. The notion that globalization and multinational corporations are necessarily good for economic growth and development is not supported by the evidence.
  5. The idea that there is a trade-off between efficiency and fairness is a false dichotomy, and it is possible to have both.
  6. The belief that financial markets are rational and efficient is misguided, and the recent financial crisis is evidence of the dangers of unchecked financial speculation.
  7. The notion that the welfare state is a burden on the economy is a myth, and social safety nets play an important role in promoting economic stability and reducing poverty.
  8. The belief that economic growth is the only indicator of progress is a narrow and limited perspective, and other measures, such as well-being, happiness, and environmental sustainability, should also be taken into account.

These are some of the main arguments put forward in "23 Things They Don't Teach You About Capitalism." The book provides a critical and alternative perspective on capitalism and its impact on the economy and society, and challenges many of the conventional wisdom and assumptions about economics and capitalism.

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