Flawed Capitalism

The Anglo-American Condition and its Resolution

David Coates

£30.00  |  $40.00
ISBN 9781911116332
£30.00  |  $40.00
ISBN 9781911116349
328 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  30 April 2018


“Anybody seeking to understand why Donald Trump is president and why the UK voted for Brexit should read David Coates’s important new book. It explains the flaws in the Anglo-Saxon economic model; even better, it suggests ways of putting things right.” – Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian

"With this provocative book and its bold examination of the past fifty years of political and economic change in the United States and the UK, David Coates makes an essential contribution to our understanding of the enormous challenges facing both sides of the Atlantic today. Beyond that, it lays bare the choices people and their leaders must make if future generations are to have a semblance of the opportunities we have had." – Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour

"This excellent book not only shows us how the model of capitalism operating in the US and the UK is flawed, it also tells us why, through an original and engaging account of imperialist politics and ideological hubris in American and British statecraft. Coates's writing combines both depth and breadth – a very rare feat – and this book deserves to be widely read." – Craig Berry, SPERI, University of Sheffield

"An outstanding study of the Anglo-American condition: Coates combines a powerful moral impulse with impeccable research and a fine grasp of the differences and the similarities between the two nations." – Michael Moran, Emeritus Professor of Government, University of Manchester

"Our economic system feels like it's natural: it’s not and it’s not working. In Flawed Capitalism David Coates tells us what’s going wrong and why. More importantly the book sets out the alternatives. Flawed Capitalism is a route map out of crisis and towards a good society." – Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass

"An erudite diagnosis of what Coates terms the ‘Anglo-American condition’, a deep malaise which threatens to destabilise the global order. Panoramic in its perspective and meticulous in its empirical detail, this is required reading for anyone interested in the entrenched pathologies of capitalism’s Anglophone heartlands". – Scott Lavery, speri.comment: the political economy blog


Drawing on over four decades of research and writing on the political economy of the UK and United States, David Coates offers a masterly account of the Anglo-American condition and the social and economic crisis besetting both countries.

Charting the rise and fall of the social settlements that have shaped and defined the postwar years, Coates traces the history of the two economies through first their New Deal and then their Reaganite periods – ones labelled differently in the UK, but similarly marked by the development first of a Keynesian welfare state and then a Thatcherite neoliberal one.

Coates exposes the failings and shortcomings of the Reagan/Thatcher years, showing how the underlying fragility of a settlement based on the weakening of organized labour and the extensive deregulation of business culminated in the financial crisis of 2008.

The legacies of that crisis haunt us still – a squeezed middle class, further embedded poverty, deepened racial divisions, an adverse work–life balance for two-income families, and a growing crisis of housing and employment for the young. Flawed Capitalism deals with each in turn, and makes the case for the creation of a new transatlantic social settlement – a less flawed capitalism – one based on greater degrees of income equality and social justice.

As members of the millennial generation come to their maturity on each side of the Atlantic, Flawed Capitalism offers the critical intellectual tools that they will need if they are ever to break decisively with the failed public policies of the past.


1. The Anglo-American condition: similarities and differences

Part I Flawed Economies
2. The rise and fall of American economic leadership
3. Chasing hard and standing still: the UK economy in the American shadow

Part II Divided Societies
4. The fading of the American dream?
5. The slow disintegration of the UK’s postwar social settlement

Part III Inadequate Politics
6. The continuing costs of empire
7. The folly of austerity politics
8. Conclusion: towards a better future

Author Information

David Coates (1946–2018) held the Worrell Chair in Anglo–American Studies in the Department of Political Science at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

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David Coates discusses his book.