A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity

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A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity
By Luigi Zingales
Basic Books, 2012
336 pp. $27.99

Zingales is an entertaining and helpful guide to the story of how the U.S. government’s bailouts of Wall Street firms triggered populist resistance on both the left and the right of the U.S. political spectrum. He believes that regulatory capture -- when business interests and lobbyists exercise undue influence over the bureaucracies and legal structures meant to oversee them -- is creating exactly the kind of crony capitalism that sparked major populist surges in earlier eras of U.S. history. With a worried glance at Latin America, where antimarket populist leaders have led a number of countries into deep trouble, Zingales argues that pro-market populism can help fuel economic recovery in the United States and calls for policies that would foster a sense of fairness and bolster public support for capitalism and free markets. At times, the policy discussion seems a bit disjointed, and the enthusiasm Zingales has for economic theory sometimes leads him into digressions. But overall, this is an important and engaging look at some of the most consequential issues facing the United States today.

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