Barefoot capitalism

Some years ago, I accepted an invitation to referee a book manuscript that defended capitalism. The author responded that my critique revealed traces of my lifelong commitment to socialism. Comparing notes, six of us referees found that we had all received identical letters informing us of our hitherto undiscovered commitment. If I refereed a manuscript defending socialism, I imagine the author would find that my critique revealed traces of a lifelong commitment to capitalism.

Rejecting both labels, I have found one that transcends both: “barefoot capitalism.” I picked up the name from an easily overlooked but important book by Jim Klobuchar and Susan Cornell Wilkes, The Miracles of Barefoot Capitalism. The authors, a columnist-photographer married to a consultant to foundations, came back from a world tour with stories you should read. (The book can be ordered from


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