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Publisher's Summary

Ever since we produced our course Thinking About Capitalism, customers have expressed interest in a follow-up course that could help them understand socialism in the same way. After much consideration, we determined that it actually would be more beneficial to create a course that compares and contrasts the two major global economic theories, examining them in ways that move past the polemics many of us are used to and looking at these systems as they relate to one another and the world at large.

Politics and economics are inextricable, so it can be difficult to find the right person to tackle such a complex and often polarizing subject as objectively as possible. Luckily, we found Professor Edward Stuart, an economist and teacher who specializes in comparative economics. Professor Stuart brings not only economic expertise, but personal experience gleaned from teaching, traveling, and consulting all over the world, and it is this wide lens of experience that helps make Capitalism vs. Socialism such an engaging new entry in our library of courses.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Tom
  • 2021-04-14

Good quality, American bias

The presenter is American and it shows. Over all good quality if you adjust for the bias.

1 person found this helpful

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great summary

good potted summary of the out comes of different economic approaches. author very likable

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Great Presentation

Some people have the gift of being able to bring what could be considered a dry subject, to life. This guys makes it very interesting without becoming political.

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Useful and Absorbing

Something for everybody here. Educational and always easy to listen to. As an armchair economist I gained a refreshing update and insight into history.
Most of my TGC selections are video, however audio worked fine for me on this one.

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Awesome materials with incredible relevance today

Lots of great info and examples throughout the course! Well paced, well narrated and relatively neutral opinions on a topic that can be incredibly tempting to show bias. I truly enjoyed this course!

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The was truly a 5 out of 5 star rating.

Ed Stuart has natural ease in how he presented this course, super interesting, a real eye opening topic and fun to listen to.

Ed Mullens Calgary Alberta

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Engaging and enjoyable

Indeed a great course, rich with knowledge and insight. Dr. Stewart is consistently engaging and occasionally humorous. It's a down-to-earth, easy to comprehend analysis of over 100 years of historical events and their effects on economies and populations. It was my intro to economics and I hungrily listened all the way through. Sincerely recommended.

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Good lecture

Good collection of information, not really a good narrative if you're not already interested in the subject. Well read, not sure you expect a good performance in a lecture, but I found this to be pretty engaging. Would prefer if it dug in a little deeper to each of the topics, but it seems like good introductory material, maybe a good companion to an economics course.

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riveting

every lecture was not just full of information, historical reference, and backed by great analysis but I found the lecturer very entertaining. knowledgeable would be an understatement, and his on topic antidotes and personal stories kept a potentially dull subject a joy to listen. I'm listening a second time,

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Great course

Lot of facts that I was unaware of before listening to this book. It was very interesting to hear how country developers succeed or failed in their attempts to help their economy. Also how countries influences world economy. Only this book I hear author says democracy is not the only key to success. It's not one size fits all. I highly recommend it to those history and economy lovers.

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  • David S. Westby
  • 2019-09-03

A biased view of economics.

This is a very biased presentation toward socialism. I have listened to a portion of the book, and realized Dr. Stewart has biased views.
I do not recommend this book as an intellectual exploration of economic ideas.


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  • neil
  • 2019-08-14

Smart guy but a bit one sided

Knows his history but he clearly is just making an argument for highly government regulated economic systems

87 people found this helpful

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  • Marc Mallette
  • 2018-07-06

Good course, misleading title

This is an interesting and well-presented course on modern economic history, not so much an actual comparison of economic systems.

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  • Mariann
  • 2018-07-24

Two thirds Great

The teacher is really good. It seems like he has personal experience in every single nation he mentioned. A huge chunk of the beginning was basic economic theory (Adams, Cain and Marks) and the economics of Soviet Russia and present day United States. I dearly wish he had spent a little more time on the European Union. He said it was a success AND a failure, then didn’t fully say why. Another topic which I wish he had elaborated more on was the three Asian tigers. Why are these places so different from the rest of the world? I know this was generalized course and there are doubtless a lot of books on the topic but there was a lot of time spent reiterating stuff on Russia. If the Soviet system was the same in all the Russian satellite countries, then I don’t need a new general background on communism for every country that was communist.
Still, was really solid. I had no idea how different France and Germany were compared to the US economically. Most people will probably learn a lot.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Naji R. Constantine
  • 2018-12-20

Disappointing

You can use statistics to tell any story you want to tell. The relationship between government regulations and levels of opportunity is completely ignored. Just because the professor spent a great deal of time abroad, doesn’t mean that he is the best qualified. While he has clearly stated that communism is a failed endeavor, he fails to see that socialism will suffer the same fate, it will just take longer to get there. This course is full of half truths insinuations and wrong conclusions. I’ve come to expect more from the teaching company and I hope my Next selection will be presented by a more fair minded Professor

49 people found this helpful

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  • R. Beise-Zee
  • 2018-07-20

Too much history, not enough theory

I was looking forward to the counterpoint to Thinking about capitalism, but was somewhat disappointed. I was expecting a bit more about the ideological or theoretical system of socialism and marxism and less an historical overview of countries. There too much about Keynesian economics and some of the historical vignettes seemed superficial. Overall a superficial treatise of socialism.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Trebla
  • 2018-05-15

More History than Econ

I am neither historian nor economist, but I did expect more explanation of the ideas and workings of economics and especially the differences between capitalism and socialism. While there was some talk of economic functions it was almost lost under the verbose repetition of European and some world history- but with little in the way of building an overview of the two systems

45 people found this helpful

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  • Dragon'sDen (el Jefe)
  • 2020-11-26

Okay...but a little misleading ... a lot of omissions

More of a historical summary then a real in discussion about economics. This professor skips a lot and presents things in a way that seem misleading or a misrepresentation. 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing': he's very selective and omits important facts. Let's take Smith: 1) Yes, he mentions the Invisible Hand in his book, but Smith (and no real economist) accepts this as some serious proposal or hard fact about supply and demand curves in markets. Why? Because Smith has used this before in other works not related to Wealth of Nations. The Invisible Hand is actually the hand of Jupiter, a poetic flourish Smith employs, not a principle. 2) Smith's pin theory on specialisation of labour is not his own: It is in the book, but he stole that from the French, and it's context does not apply for today. Yes, we have high degrees of specialisation but we also have general labour, and not every job requires the breakdown in his book, due to automation. On Marx, you'd get the impression he was a smart Socialist thinker, who wrote some ideas, inspired Unions, then died. Nothing about Marx's 1) Surplus Value Theory of Labour; 2) Use-Value, Exchange, and Wealth expressed as Commodification; nor his greatest and most relevant work for today: 3) The Alienation of Man, which is a commentary on Smith's specialisation theory. But, he does find time to say in the Soviet section: how in a Capitalist nation like the United States: People who are layed off, just find new jobs, and everything is wonderful and works out because of good ol' Capitalism. I find the distorted and abusive employment of so-callec Soviet or Chinese Communism to be indefensible. In both countries, there was no freedom, no democracy, no debate. This is not Marx. That's not what he would have supported. And Leninism and Stalinism do not represent Marx's ideas. This professor is clearly someone who would've supported Reaganomic's or trickle down because he fails (while correctly pointing out the flaws of Stalinism) to state the main problem with Capitalism's driving force. Is it greed? In a way, yes, but even worse. It's COERCION and inequality. Both which I suspect are okay with this author. What happens if you don't want a job, but still need income? What happens when you are layed off and need to find work and can't get one? He seems to skip over this part very quickly with sentences that suggest with creative destruction: people just find new jobs. Kind of the same way people change brands when shopping for tyres. The problem and basic question they can never escape, which is why Marxism, Socialism, and Communism are still with us as ideas: if Reaganomics and conservative Replublican economic mores were true, then after 40 years, we would all be living in paradise right now. The United States would be a virtual utopia. Yet we have record homeless, poverty, and disease. The most advanced industrial nation in the world, and we still allow people to go hungry, live on the streets, and have little or no access to life-saving healthcare. One country he forgot to mention in his analysis of comparing Socialist regimes, was the United States. The US is the most successful Socialist nation in human history. It socialises debt and privatises profits, and it is for that omission that I rate this two stars.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Hansen
  • 2018-08-05

The Great Courses are appropriately named

This was the best, non political, explanation of economics I have heard in a long time.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Hanoch Yokev
  • 2018-10-14

impressivel lecture

too long, emphsizes the obvious. nevertheless , very good big picture, and the description of the collapse of iron sheild is fascinating.

6 people found this helpful