Ian Bremmer, head of the Eurasia Group consulting firm, has his finger on the pulse of a lot of countries that most Americans probably don’t think about very much – and yet we probably should. In The End of the Free Market, he argues that these countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will substantially affect our future well-being. They will do so, he says, not just because of the growth of their economies but also because of the economic systems they choose.
Bremmer’s book is a warning about the rise and consequences of state capitalism, which he defines as “using markets to create wealth that can be directed as political officials see fit.” It is the system used most notably by China and several other countries in the G-20, the group of big countries that has essentially replaced the G-7 in managing the global economy. It is also, Bremmer asserts, a system that is “fundamentally incompatible” with the free-market capitalism that exists to varying degrees in the United States, Europe, and other relatively wealthy and democratic countries. (more…)