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The Times (London)
April 16, 2003, Wednesday
BYLINE: Richard Lambert

“…In an ambitious and brilliantly executed book, John Kay exposes the flaws of what he describes as the American business model -one which is shaped by greed and self interest, free markets, low tax and a minimal role for the state.

…it is accessible and witty, and it sheds light on the way the world works. As the certainties of the 1990s fall into the past, Kay's conclusion is engaging.”


From The Economist print edition
May 1st 2003

…John Kay, one of Britain's leading economists, aims in his latest book to return some balance to the debate over the role of markets. He is at his best in his review of the big economic themes of the past century: why state planning failed; how international trade benefits both rich and poor; how stock markets blew up into such a bubble.

Mr Kay's urge to understand the unique evolution of markets in far-off places is most refreshing. He tours the flower market in San Remo for a locally grown version of perfect competition. He uses an auction of a painting by Van Gogh to illustrate how liberal economies allocate value to scarce goods. His analysis of electricity deregulation in Britain and the botched privatizations in Russia in the 1990s lead him to the same conclusion: that markets cannot be imposed, but are instead the sum of evolution and adaptation. They thrive within a society's laws and cultural norms; without them they fail…”


The Daily Telegraph [London]
April 26, 2003, Saturday
Byline: By Mertin Vander Weyer
…The Truth About Markets is written with wit and subtlety, its themes enlivened by a wide range of references and its chapters chopped into digestible bites. It is nevertheless a demanding read, and anyone who buys it purely on the strength of the cover quote from the Bank of England governor-in-waiting Mervyn King - "Everything you wanted to know about economics but were afraid to ask" - may feel the need in places for an ice pack on the head.

But Kay's book is an important contribution to the post-1990s reassessment of capitalism. It provides a counterblast to those on the pro-ABM side, including Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, authors of the influential book The Commanding Heights, as well as to Naomi Klein and an army of others for the antis. Kay's thesis should sit prominently alongside Niall Ferguson's The Cash Nexus as a reminder that, in human affairs, money isn't everything…”

 

The Independent [London]
April 26, 2003.
Byline: Jonathan Davis

“…Professor John Kay, who a few years ago produced the best work on corporate strategy I have yet read from a non-US author, sums up the status of efficient market theory neatly in his latest blockbuster offering, The Truth About Markets.”

 

The Independent [London]
May 1, 2003,
Byline: Hamish McRae
“…John Kay's new book seeks to explain why, for all their faults, they arrive at better decisions than cabinet ministers or Soviet planners. Because Professor Kay is one of the leading British economists of his generation, his voyage of discovery takes him into a crash course in economics. Here is a man who can explain Pareto efficiency in words that most of us can understand. He gives answers to those puzzling questions that nag the non-specialist. Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why do people doing the same job in Mexico and the US, a few miles apart, get completely different wages? Why did Argentina, 100 years ago one of the richest countries of the world, fall so far behind?...”


The Guardian [London]
April 29, 2003
Byline: Martin Kettle

…disciplined pluralism is a very big idea. As set out by the economist John Kay in his important new book The Truth About Markets (published this week by Allen Lane The Penguin Press), it offers one of the most truthful and fruitful ways in years of looking at the relationship between modern government and the modern economy…”
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Management Today
8th May 2003
Will Hutton
:
“..Kay’s book is a landmark work…”