Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems

(Great Courses). 12 CDs. Recorded Bks. Aug. 2018. 12 hrs. ISBN 9781980010951. $120.75. digital download. ECON
OrangeReviewStarStuart (economics, Northeastern Illinois Univ.) here presents a comparative analysis of the world's primary economic systems. The goal of comparative economics is to understand the various histories, failures, and big ideas of various economic theories in order to reveal those that will present the greatest opportunity for success for the most people. In 24 illuminating 30-minute lectures, Stuart discusses how capitalism and socialism were developed, how they function, how they failed, and how these ideas operate in today's world. Stuart analyzes the key insights of Adam Smith, the first great economist and intellectual godfather of free-market capitalism, and the core ideas of Karl Marx, the chief critic of the capitalist system and the first major proponent of his new system of socialism. Stuart also contrasts the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman and explains the arguments for and against active government intervention in a market economy. In addition, Stuart examines China's intriguing attempt to combine Communist Party control with private enterprise in agriculture and manufacturing and includes a discussion of the relatively unknown economy of Slovenia as it attempts to transform itself from a Communist-style planned economy into a mix of private enterprise with egalitarian social welfare policies. Stuart smartly reminds listeners that absolutes in economics are impossible and ultimately unhelpful, and that it is in finding balance through comparison and compromise that economies discover how to prosper, stagnate, or even collapse. Stuart's lively, crisply narrated lectures manage to keep listener interest in this important course. Includes bonus disc with PDF file of the course workbook.
VERDICT Essential for all university libraries supporting an economics curriculum and all listeners committed to lifelong learning.

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