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The Economists' Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society

Binyamin Appelbaum

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Picador
05 September 2019
Central government policies; Business & Economics; Economic history
The Economists' Hour by Binyamin Appelbaum is the biography of a revolution: the story of how economists who believed in the power and the glory of free markets transformed the business of government, the conduct of business and, as a result, the patterns of everyday life. In the four decades between 1969 and 2008, these economists played a leading role in reshaping taxation and public spending and clearing the way for globalization. They reshaped the US government's approach to regulation, assigning a value to human life to determine which rules are worthwhile. Economists even convinced President Nixon to end military conscription.

The United States was the epicentre of the intellectual ferment, but the embrace of markets was a global phenomenon, seizing the imagination of politicians in countries including the United Kingdom, Chile and New Zealand.

The revolution failed to deliver on its central promise of increased prosperity. In the United States, growth has slowed in every successive decade since the 1960s. And the cost of the failure was steep. Policymakers traded well-paid jobs for low-cost electronics; the loss of work weakened the fabric of society and of democracy. Soaring inequality extends far beyond incomes: life expectancy for less affluent Americans has declined in recent years. And the focus on efficiency has come at the expense of the future: lower taxes instead of education and infrastructure; limited environmental regulation as oceans rise and California burns.

This book is a reckoning: the economists' hour is coming to an end, and the world they have left us with feels less predictable than when it began.
By:   Binyamin Appelbaum
Imprint:   Picador
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 35mm
Weight:   584g
ISBN:   9781509879144
ISBN 10:   1509879145
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   05 September 2019
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Binyamin Appelbaum writes about economics and business for the editorial page of the New York Times. From 2010 to 2019, he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering economic policy in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. He previously worked for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Charlotte Observer, where his reporting on subprime lending won a George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives with his wife and children in Washington, D.C.

Reviews for The Economists' Hour: How the False Prophets of Free Markets Fractured Our Society

Binyamin Appelbaum has written a powerful must-read for all those interested in reinvigorating the credibility of economics, especially in policymaking circles. -- Mohamed A. El-Erian An entertaining and well-written look at how market-oriented ideas rose from the academy and transformed nations. -- Tyler Cowen Writing in accessible language of thorny fiscal matters, the author ventures into oddly fascinating corners of recent economic history . . . Anyone who wonders why government officials still take the Laffer curve seriously need go no further than this lucid book. * Kirkus * Lively and entertaining . . . The Economists' Hour is a reminder of the power of ideas to shape the course of history. -- Liaquat Ahamed * New Yorker * The New York Times financial writer maps the advance of economists-from the Kennedy administration onward-out of the academy and into government, elevating free markets in the sausage-making of public policy and sparking the inequity that plagues us today. * O Magazine * The wider story of the market-centric worldview provides the meat of Appelbaum's narrative . . . The fact that such sophisticated people presided over a dangerous build-up in financial risk suggests that something larger was at work than a naive faith in markets. Appelbaum's strength is that he generally acknowledges these complexities. * Atlantic * This thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and critical account of the economic philosophies that have reigned for the past half century powerfully indicts them. * Publisher Weekly (starred) *


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