Capitalism: A Condensed Version

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Capitalism cmyk digital.qxd:State War

Arthur Seldon

In this new, condensed version of his masterpiece, Capitalism , Arthur Seldon explains why, despite its apparent imperfections, the market system is infinitely preferable to the alternatives. The market system has, since the eighteenth century, brought enormous gains in living standards, in contradiction to the Marxist theories that predicted capitalism’s collapse.

The institution of property rights has facilitated trade and investment, whilst the price mechanism has enabled people to benefit from dispersed knowledge about individual preferences. Yet politicians, needing to win votes in the short term, have largely failed to recognise the benefits of a market system with the minimum of government intervention. The development of the welfare state has been disastrous, almost destroying the voluntary provision of health and education, whilst creating institutions that serve producer interests at the expense of consumers. Seldon’s message is clear: if capitalism is to yield its best results, the political process must be confined to the minimal duties of the state.

This condensed version of Capitalism includes a foreword by the late Milton Friedman, an introduction by John Blundell and Philip Booth, and commentaries by James Bartholomew and D. R. Myddelton.

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