Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System


I didn’t read it so far, since it fairly new. But it is definitely on my reading list:

Philip Kotler’s latest book:
Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

Book recommendations from our readng listThere are many books about capitalism. This one is written with the clear intention to be accessible, Kotler mentions in his introduction. This is not just another critique of the system; it is an attempt to transform the system to a better one.

Kotler makes it very clear that he considers capitalism better than any other system. Nevertheless, he identified fourteen major shortcomings and proposes solutions for them. Hence, he discusses problems like persisting poverty and income inequality, the debt burden and environment exploitation, capitalism’s short-term orientation, and several more.

These are indisputable problems of our time. Large parts of the broad public, as well as researchers, entrepreneurs, and other opinion leaders are aware of them and are concerned to a certain degree.

This book is not a textbook for strategy or marketing. Nevertheless, I think it is highly relevant in the context of business strategy:

  • Businesses should be concerned about their long-term prospects. This includes relationships with their stakeholders like employees, customers, interest groups and more. Obviously, many of these stakeholders believe that the business operates within a defective system. That should make the business think about how it positions itself towards this system.
  • Stakeholders’ concerns are always an important input for strategic thinking. Every business should take these concerns seriously. What is the businesses answer to these concerns?
  • I see three advantages for businesses which incorporate the general and perceived shortcomings of the capitalist system in their strategic thinking:
    – it improves the relationship with stakeholders that are equally concerned
    – it is a chance to positively differentiate from competitors
    – it is a good preparation for a potential change in the economic and social and landscape

We might not agree with all the solutions Kotler proposes. We might not even agree that all of his fourteen shortcomings are real problems. However, today’s capitalism has its problems. That is undeniable. Businesses are an integral part of the capitalist system. The least they have to do is to start thinking about these problems.

We all have to start somewhere. This book is a great starting point.

There is another great review of this book at Strategy + Business.

Get this book at amazon.com:
Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System

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