Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: Political Economic Realities of Today’s Capitalism

Political Economic Realities of Today’s Capitalism, by NORALV VEGGELAND, consists of ten articles, all of which have been published earlier separately in different journals, but never as a contribution to a coherent approach making political economic realities transparent and understandable as path dependent stories. The book analyzes todays' capitalistic world based on research conducted across European markets and European politics. 
It starts with a study of Neo-Liberalism, which in fact is a flow of management decisions and political actions deeply influenced by a deregulated free market concept. While examining the roots of which in leaders like Ronald Reagen and Margaret Thacher, the compulsions of present day international politics and the resulting threat to the traditional welfare state model is discussed here.
What follows is a commentary on 'The Political and Economic Realities of Present Day Capitalism'. Here, deviations from the Keynesian model, and the changes it brings to the administrative strategies, are analyzed. Next paper sums up how, 'Sustained and Focused Control Exercised by a Public Agency on Activities that are Valued by a Community', the essence of regulation, go along with the earlier discussed. Which in fact is a magnificent proposal - A Government that Works but Costs Less! It further illustrates the metamorphosis of such thoughts into New Public Management (NPM), how this idea has stormed the whole world, what essential safeguards are there, etc.
Birth of New Accounting Techniques became a necessity for the public sector to keep pace with NPM, the book explains. Next paper discusses the need for new modalities and accounting strategies for seamlessly accounting welfare budget and actual expenditure. Which is followed by a paper dealing with a very popular, rather enigmatic topic - social capital. Examining many welfare states, this paper analyses the impact of the new global view on the changing atmosphere in the welfare states - how, competition and intervention go hand in hand. The one following this, 'Capitalism in Crisis', caught my full attention. It seems, to get through current difficulties, governments are resorting to budget cuts and saving programs. This will reduce market demand, which can boost the crisis further. Here Keynesian principles need to be adopted in a  different framework of state intervention, which can be named neo-interventionism, the book says, while describing a couple of concrete proposals in this regard.
I liked this book. It answered many questions, I as a layman used to have on the economic front. Sadly, while incorporating principles of neo-economic realities, many states are leaving out the concepts of neo-interventionism, I think. Perhaps this idea needs more explanation.