The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy

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9780434009336: The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy
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The way we are governed is changing. Government has less and less power to influence how we live our lives, while the private sector has more power than ever before to control what we do and what we think. Yet the business pages of the newspapers still come as a supplement, while the activities of governments dominate the front pages and the headlines. Endless scandals have shown the extent to which big-business now has politicians in its pockets; recent allegations against Peter Mandelson and Keith Vaz are only the latest in a series that have included senior politicians all over Europe and elsewhere. To understand the new world in which we are living, we need to learn to challenge long-held assumptions about the nature of power in society; The Silent Takeover is an essential guide to that new understanding as we enter the 21st century: a time in which we can no longer rely on politicians - of whatever stripe - to meet our needs; a time in which business, rather than political parties, offers the way forward; a time in which we can make more of an impact through our pockets than we have ever done through the ballot box. Based not only on Noreena Hertz's experience as a consultant to businesses and governments, but also on dozens of research interviews conducted especially for this book, The Silent Takeover is an agenda-setting book.

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Review:

The Silent Takeover might be thought of as something of a contradiction in terms. In the world of modern mergers and acquisitions, hardly a single transaction goes by without noisy comment from every conceivable angle. But the Takeover here is of an altogether different order, referring to the takeover of the planet itself rather than a business rival. Did you know that of the world's largest economies, 51 are now corporations and only 49 are nation-states? You do now.

Noreena Hertz gives an evocative and highly readable account of economic change over the past two decades. Such material in the wrong hands can be stultifingly boring, but this is fast and accessible, personal, almost intimate. The reader is left in little doubt of the author's view that not everyone benefits from the capitalist dream (the work is, after all, subtitled Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy). "The 20-year neo-liberal experiment that began in Westminster and Washington has not delivered for all of us".

One would expect to see the names of Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Time Warner, General Electric and McDonalds in any review of the rise and rise of the corporate giant. But Big Brother, Buddha, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Ku Klux Klan and Soylent Green? Noreena Hertz, once an investment banker in Russia, now based at the University of Cambridge, draws attention to the apocalyptic visions of several films of the 1970s. Included in the list is Rollerball, a depiction of life on earth after a series of corporate wars. Anyone who thought that far-fetched in the 1970s might care to reconsider, she ventures to suggest. "A world in which Rupert Murdoch has more power than Tony Blair, and corporations set the political agenda, is frightening and undemocratic", she writes. "We stand today at a critical juncture. If we do nothing... all is lost", she concludes. --Brian Bollen

Review:

"Dr Hertz is one of the world's leading young thinkers, whose agenda-setting book on corporate power is already sparking intense debate on both sides of the Atlantic" (Observer)

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9780434008131: The Silent Takeover

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ISBN 10:  0434008133 ISBN 13:  9780434008131
Publisher: Free Press, 2001
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NOREENA HERTZ
Published by WILLIAM HEINEMANN LTD (2001)
ISBN 10: 0434009334 ISBN 13: 9780434009336
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