Don't panic! I haven't given up on capitalism, and neither has author Richard Posner. Blurb from the review:
Coming from a leading free-marketer, Richard Posner’s new book may look at first glance like a confession of intellectual defeat. Actually, it is closer to healthy self-criticism. Capitalism, writes Posner, should be not rejected but repaired. Posner has joined the still-modest number of scholars who try to understand their mistakes without jettisoning their entire system of beliefs.There's even more interesting stuff in the review. You may find this thumbnail sketch to be useful (my emphasis):
. . . Posner’s book is an explosive manifesto in the ongoing philosophical feud among economists between rational-action theorists and behaviorists. This may sound arcane and tangential—but it’s central. Today, free-market economists and the politicians who more or less follow their lead split into two leading schools of thought. On one side, the rational-action theorists, led by Chicago economist Gary Becker, think of individuals as behaving rationally, with their own best interests in mind . . .
Behaviorists, on the other hand, based on some still-limited psychological experiments and brain scans, conclude that individuals are moved more by passions—Keynes called them animal spirits—than by reason. (Nobel Prize–winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman is the founding father of this school, and Robert Frank, author of the just-published The Economic Naturalist, is its best public advocate.) We thus are prone to make financially unsound choices that eventually work against our best interests. Rational-action theorists are inclined to let individuals choose what’s best for them in slightly regulated markets where information flows abundantly. Behaviorists suggest strong government regulations to protect people against their own instincts.
I don't need to tell you which camp I belong to, do I?
I don't want a nanny government in my bank accounts anymore than I want one in my refrigerator or anywhere else, trying to protect me from myself. And who are they to know better, anyway? The only protection I want or need is called the United States Constitution, if you really want to get down to brass tacks. Now I'll be off with my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (where happiness includes property, thanks), which I shall chase with other unrepentant rational-action individualists.
UPDATE: Gentle reader Jay of the Blackstone in America blog recommends the New York Times review of the book. It's a nice one; do take a look.