Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Review of Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises by Anwar Shaikh

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Elaborate Description

Normally, the economy is described in either a Neoclassical or a Keynesian perspective. Shaikh provides an alternative, the Classical perspective. Each chapter’s issues are discussed in all three ways to view the economy. Each chapter has a theoretical, a historical, and an empirical analysis of the economy using the three different perspectives. Each different economic perspective is represented in how it views capitalism, competition, and its ability to explain real world changes.

Neoclassical is supply side driven, Keynesian is demand side driven, while Classical is profit seeking driven. The explanation on what ails or helps the economy is heavily depended on the theoretical background. Shaikh uses a myriad of economic research and presents the way other authors viewed the topics, providing a flavor of variety of explanations to the same example even within the same the theory framework.

Rather than a static state of equilibrium, Shaikh focuses on economics as a turbulent equilibrating process. Competition is presented as firms vying for profit, price cutting as much as possible. Regulating capital is a major theme for that determines the general price level of the industry. The economy goes through different cycles, represented in the reoccurrence of crises within a time range. This book provides a really good understanding of how a capitalist economy operates.

The book is not an introduction to economics, although the author uses and explains various major research, it does require a pretty good understanding of at least basic economics. Some parts are written very eloquently, while others sporadically explain a little bit of many different research approaches, which means major issues within the research remain unexplained, making it harder to read. One particular problem creates two issues with reading, the problem is that many parts of the book explain what will be discussed in the future. This creates a lot of additional of pages slowing down the read without much information added, and it seems that certain sections require the an understanding of the future topic to comprehend the other presented topic before the future topic is fully introduced.


Book Details

Edition ISBN:  9780199390632
Pages to read:   898
Publication:     2016
1st Edition:      2016
Format:            Hardcover

Ratings out of 5:
Readability    4
Content          5
Overall           5