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Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System    by Philip Kotler order for
Confronting Capitalism
by Philip Kotler
Order:  USA  Can
AMACOM, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

There's been a lot written about the shortcomings of capitalism and the resulting imbalance in how wealth is distributed in the United States. If you can believe the figures, there is obviously a problem when an inordinate amount of wealth is concentrated in the hands of just a handful of individuals.

A professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Philip Kotler addresses the structural weakness of the current economic system under which the United States works. That is not to say Kotler is anti-capitalism. He's not! But he believes that it is not working as it should and needs to be improved upon.

Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System provides a sweeping assessment of the current vulnerabilities of capitalism as practiced in the U.S. and explains what has gone wrong. The problems are many and range from tax loopholes, that allow the rich to get richer while the middle class shrinks even more, to the power and influence wielded by corporate lobbying groups.

The major approaches for governing capitalism stretch on a laissez-faire form of governance on one side of the coin (which advocates minimal intervention and regulation) to the idea that 'the government should play an active regulatory role, a social welfare role and an intervention role in times of economic distress'.

Not only does he examine the shortcomings of modern capitalism but Kotler also suggests possible solutions to the problems he cites. The fourteen shortcomings the author focuses upon include the problem of persisting poverty, wealth inequality, and a failure to create living wages for billions of workers to job creation in the face of growing automation, economic instability embedded in business cycles, high consumer debt and adequate regulations regarding product quality, safety, truth in advertising and anticompetitive behavior.

Obviously not everyone will agree with Kotler's assessment of where we are today economically nor will they accept his solutions for setting a new course for future prosperity. The author is not looking for an alternative to capitalism, but he does believe that capitalism can do a better job of reducing poverty, constraining income disparity, and can be more caring on its impact on the environment.

There's plenty of food for thought in this book and much worth mulling over. You don't need an economics degree to understand what Philip Kotler is saying and it isn't necessary to agree with all of his conclusions. What the reader must be willing to do, though, is approach this book with an open mind. Otherwise, reading Confronting Capitalism will be a waste of time!

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