Cover image for False dawn : the delusions of global capitalism
False dawn : the delusions of global capitalism
Gray, John, 1948-
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Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton, [1998]

Physical Description:
262 pages ; 22 cm
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HF1713 .G586 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Hailed by Kirkus Reviews as both "a convincing analysis of an international economy headed for disaster" and a "powerful challenge to economic orthodoxy," False Dawn shows that the attempt to impose the Anglo-American-style free market on the world will create a disaster, possibly on the scale of Soviet communism. Even America, the supposed flagship of the new civilization, risks moral and social disintegration as it loses ground to other cultures that have never forgotten that the market works best when it is embedded in society. John Gray, well known in the 1980s as an important conservative political thinker, whose writings were relied upon by Margaret Thatcher and the New Right in Britain, has concluded that the conservative agenda is no longer viable. In his examination of the ripple effects of the economic turmoil in Russia and Asia on our collective future, Gray provides one of the most passionate polemics against the utopia of the free market since Carlyle and Marx.

Author Notes

John Gray was born on April 17, 1948 in South Shields, England. He received a B.A., M.Phil., and D.Phil. from Exeter College, Oxford. He taught at several universities including the University of Essex, Jesus College, Oxford, and the University of Oxford. He retired as Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008.

He contributes regularly to The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, where he is the lead book reviewer. He is the author of several books including False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and The Death of Utopia, and The Immortalisation Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gray's "false dawn" is an allusion to what he sees as the failures of global capitalism. He finds his evidence in the economic collapse of Asia, Russia, and Mexico, but also in the "social disintegration" of the U.S. The "breakdown" of the American family, crime and mass incarceration, and growing disparities in income can all be traced to the global free market and the unregulated growth of trade and transnational corporations. Gray is now professor of European thought at the London School of Economics, but he was also an early influence on Margaret Thatcher and a New Right polemicist. Like those of a small but vocal and growing number of conservatives in the U.S., Gray's arguments are flavored by populism and nationalism. False Dawn was published last spring in Britain, and it stirred a flurry of criticism. Gray has not changed the text in this edition but has added a final, lengthy chapter that addresses many of the arguments that were targeted in the first. --David Rouse

Publisher's Weekly Review

"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy and the market economy." So begins The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, the latest salvo from David C. Korten (When Corporations Rule the World). In four sections of three or four chapters each, Korten lays out how it happened and what we can do about it, using model communities that have already begun to "treat money as a facilitator, not the purpose, of our economic lives." 25,000 first printing. (Berrett-Koehler and Kumarian, co-publishers, $27.95 300p ISBN 1-57675-051-5; Mar.) Can the Net really foster, as in Bill Gates's phrase, "friction-free capitalism"? How about "robust direct democracy"? In Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Marketing System, Dan Schiller, professor of communications at UC-San Diego, turns a skeptic's eye to the screen. After reviewing how Internet technology differs from previous forms of telecommunication (and how a "Neoliberal" agenda drove its development), Schiller examines its ever-closer ties with commerce and prognostications for educational revolution. His conclusion: "Digital capitalism has strengthened, rather than banished, the ago-old scourges of the market system: inequality and domination." (MIT, $29.95 320p ISBN 0-262-19417-1; Apr.) Oxford professor of politics John Gray has been an acknowledged influence on Margaret Thatcher, and his writings were appropriated by Britain's New Right. It was thus astonishing to U.K. readers that, in False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Gray does an about-face and argues against a market untethered to cultural foundations within particular societies. Updated with a chapter on the controversy it sparked on its U.K. release, the American version further stresses the all-too-apparent instability of global markets. (New Press, $25 272p ISBN 1-56584-521-8; Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gray (political science, Oxford) believes that the attempt to impose an Anglo American-style free market on the global economy will create a disaster on the scale of Soviet communism. From any long and broad historical perspective, he argues, the free market is a rare, short-lived aberration. The socially destructive effects of free markets have made them politically unsustainable. Regulated markets, on the other hand, are the norm, arising spontaneously in every society. Nevertheless, the reform of world markets is unlikely in the near future, and the world will therefore fracture into warring economic blocs. Gray believes that a basic shift in economic philosophy is needed. Markets must be made to serve the people, and not vice versa. Gray's writing is polemical and forceful but often turgid. Recommended for international economics collections in academic libraries.ÄHarry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements and Author's notep. viii
1 From the Great Transformation to the global free marketp. 1
2 Engineering free marketsp. 22
3 What globalization is notp. 55
4 How global free markets favour the worst kinds of capitalism: a new Gresham's Law?p. 78
5 The United States and the Utopia of global capitalismp. 100
6 Anarcho-capitalism in post-communist Russiap. 133
7 Occidental twilight and the rise of Asia's capitalismsp. 166
8 The ends of laissez-fairep. 194
Postscriptp. 209
Notesp. 236
Indexp. 257