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Capitalist fools : tales of American business, from Carnegie to Forbes to the Milken gang

Author: Nicholas Von Hoffman
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Whatever one might say about America's original business giants - the Carnegies, the Morgans, the du Ponts - they built America, virtually inventing modern business techniques in the process, so as to reap profits while improving every American's standard of living. Today's rich and powerful, on the other hand, accumulate vast wealth through sleight-of-hand paper-shuffling, business song-and-dance routines like  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Von Hoffman, Nicholas.
Capitalist fools.
New York : Doubleday, c1992
(OCoLC)680493810
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Nicholas Von Hoffman
ISBN: 0385416741 9780385416740
OCLC Number: 25630081
Description: xix, 313 p. ; 25 cm.
Responsibility: Nicholas von Hoffman.

Abstract:

Whatever one might say about America's original business giants - the Carnegies, the Morgans, the du Ponts - they built America, virtually inventing modern business techniques in the process, so as to reap profits while improving every American's standard of living. Today's rich and powerful, on the other hand, accumulate vast wealth through sleight-of-hand paper-shuffling, business song-and-dance routines like "leveraged buyouts," and swapping blips on computer screens. They don't make anything, except exorbitant incomes, and improving our quality of life is nowhere near the top of their agenda. What went wrong? When, and how, did we lose our way? In Capitalist Fools, Nicholas von Hoffman answers these questions by telling the surprising, often rollicking story of American business - what its strengths were in its heyday, what went wrong in the last two decades, and what we can do to get it back on track. It is no accident that in the mid-1970s Malcolm Forbes became a national celebrity. The good times were ending. The glory days of American business were long past, and the growth years of the sixties were unequivocally over. With the reality of increasing wealth and higher standards of living a thing of the past, the illusion became all that much more important. If Americans could no longer lead the good life, they could at least watch Malcolm live it for them. But Malcolm played his part too well. He and his peers spent so flamboyantly and publicly that Americans actually believed, all through the "go-go years" of the eighties, that this country's wealth was increasing, and that there was plenty to go around. They were wrong. American business and industry were corrupt and collapsing. While many books, from Liar's Poker to Den of Thieves, have exposed modern business evils, they have treated them as isolated cases and concluded, in essence, that the problem was that the men involved were thieves. Capitalist Fools is the first book to give these evils a context, to show us the big picture, to rage at the decline in our standards, performance, and ethics, and to conclude with a call to action. In this passionate and timely book, Nicholas von Hoffman has written a fascinating, scathing cultural history of American business. It includes colorful portraits of this country's greatest industrialists, from Sam Insull to Andrew Carnegie, of our great managers, like Alfred Sloan, and of the most controversial of the new breed, like Henry Kravis and Carl Icahn. Capitalist Fools is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of American business, or cares about its future.

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