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Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World | 1913 Intel
Ronald Reagan’s most-quoted living author – George Gilder – is back with an all-new paradigm-shifting theory of capitalism that will upturn conventional wisdom, just when our economy desperately needs a new direction.
America’s struggling economy needs a better philosophy than the college student’s lament: “I can’t be out of money, I still have checks in my checkbook!” We’ve tried a government spending spree, and we’ve learned it doesn’t work. Now is the time to rededicate our country to the pursuit of free market capitalism, before we’re buried under a mound of debt and unfunded entitlements. But how do we navigate between government spending that’s too big to sustain and financial institutions that are “too big to fail?” In Knowledge and Power, George Gilder proposes a bold new theory on how capitalism produces wealth and how our economy can regain its vitality and its growth.
Gilder breaks away from the supply-side model of economics to present a new economic paradigm: the epic conflict between the knowledge of entrepreneurs on one side, and the blunt power of government on the other. The knowledge of entrepreneurs, and their freedom to share and use that knowledge, are the sparks that light up the economy and set its gears in motion. The power of government to regulate, stifle, manipulate, subsidize or suppress knowledge and ideas is the inertia that slows those gears down, or keeps them from turning at all.
One of the twentieth century’s defining economic minds has returned with a new philosophy to carry us into the twenty-first. Knowledge and Power is a must-read for fiscal conservatives, business owners, CEOs, investors, and anyone interested in propelling America’s economy to future success.
Game-changing but flawed
July 7, 2013
By William R. Wiltschko
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
As other viewers have remarked, an information theory-based foundation for polical economy explained by this book is a big new idea. Revolutionary, game-changing, etc., all true. I have recommended the book to several friends, and will continue to do so, but the book is also flawed. The least of these flaws is that the core collection of important new ideas could have been explained in a magazine article. The book is divided into 25 chapters and three parts. Eleven chapters are in part one and are must reading. There are six interesting chapters in part two. All of part three can be skipped except the last chapter.
Gilder has integrated free markets and limited government under an information theory umbrella that credibly shows both theoretically and anecdotally how entrepreneurs drive economic and social progress. This is huge. He showed how more parts of the political-economic world fit together that I had formerly thought disparate.
Besides the length, a flaw of the book is that much of it is a series of extended book reviews. In many cases, I failed to see a compelling link to his information theory of political economy. Another flaw is the intellectual fights he picks with some unlikely targets. One of these fights is an attempt to resurrect “supply side” as a useful term. I agree with him on the substance, but see this as a re-branding loser.
A notable fight is with Nicholas Taleb, author of “Black Swan” and more recently “Anti-Fragile”. Gilder doesn’t acknowledge until the last two pages of the Taleb chapter (#18) that Taleb is on his side. Taleb has railed for years against over-dependence on Gaussian dogma, which is perfectly consistent with the acknowledgement of “surprises” that entrepreneurs produce. Gilder also fails to acknowledge that macro events, such as currency collapses, render moot for a short time any insider knowledge an investor might have about a company or industry. In the last two pages of the Black Swan chapter, Gilder seems to take back everything he said earlier in the chapter. If so, why did he leave in the chapter???
I have tremendous respect for Gilder. I actually met him once when I was at Intel. I respect his digging and digging to understand the economic ramifications of technology. While I think this book is a blockbuster of ideas, it is marred with misguided tangents and padding.