This text is a reflection on some of the weaknesses of the international economy. It maintains that a lack of global cooperation is at the heart of many of the problems associated with contemporary capitalism. Nevertheless, its usefulness is limited by three major factors.
Firstly, the environmental crisis has worsened significantly since the publication of the book. Secondly, the optimism about the potential for international cooperation has been undermined by Brexit and by the election of President Trump. Thirdly, the call for ethical capitalism underplays the realities which have been associated with the continuing role of multinational corporations.
It seems that Gordon Brown was too quick to put pen to paper after he was rejected by the British electorate. A more thoughtful work would have been less defensive in tone. Further, Brown could then have devised a clearer route to the moral universe he would like to dwell in. Unfortunately, his clunky rhetoric may be unpersuasive to the reader:
“We must affirm that markets are in the public interest but not to be automatically equated with it, be honest that the fault is not with markets but with the dogma that markets alone are all we need, and then we act on the truth that markets cannot flourish or even survive by market forces alone and demonstrate by the standards we insist upon that markets are free but never again values-free.”