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False Dawn


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John Gray is a political philosopher and former professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. He is the author of "False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism," "Two Faces of Liberalism," and "Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern," all published by The New Press. He lives in London.


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

"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.)

"False Dawn is a powerful analysis of the deepening instability of global capitalism. It should be read by all who are concerned about the future of the world economy." --George Soros

"A worthwhile book talks to you. A really worthwhile one invites you to talk back. It won't take you many pages to enter into a dialogue with False Dawn." --Bloomberg "Gray is surely one of Britain's leading public intellectuals . . . [his] economic theory . . . offers a useful reminder that the global economy need not look the same everywhere." --The Wall Street Journal

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