At the onset of the Great Recession, as house prices sank and joblessness soared, many commentators concluded that the economic convictions behind the disaster would now be consigned to history. And yet, in the harsh light of a new day, we’ve awoken to a second nightmare more ghastly than the first: a political class still blaming government intervention, a global drive for austerity, stagflation, and an international sovereign debt crisis.
Philip Mirowski finds an apt comparison to this situation in classic studies of cognitive dissonance. He concludes that neoliberal thought has become so pervasive that any countervailing evidence serves only to further convince disciples of its ultimate truth. Once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, providing a revolutionary account of self, knowledge, information, markets, and government, it could no longer be falsified by anything as trifling as data from the “real” economy.
In this sharp, witty and deeply informed account, Mirowski—taking no prisoners in his pursuit of “zombie” economists— surveys the wreckage of what passes for economic thought, finally providing the basis for an anti-neoliberal assessment of the current crisis and our future prospects.
“A fascinating account of how the disastrous failure of mainstream economists to predict the economic crisis put them more firmly in control of policy debates than ever before.”
DEAN BAKER, Codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
“Mirowski exposes the neoliberal takeover of minds and culture with an erudition, style and—dare I say it?—vocabulary that makes deep digging in this Great Bog of Repression almost a pleasure. This book shows how economic ideas caused the crisis. And it demonstrates their enduring triumph, which is that nothing has changed or will change, as we careen from the last disaster to the next one.” JAMES K . G ALBRAITH, author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too
“The best and most thorough treatment of the financial crisis’s impact upon the economics profession, and especially its neoliberal wing. Mirowski is an excellent guide to the literature on all sides of this debate.” DUNCAN FOLEY, author of Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology
“A study guide for those who saw Inside Job and want more. Mirowski has read and digested virtually everything written about the financial crisis. He despairs of the failures of the economics profession to explain it, and especially what he calls the ‘level-headed left.’ Anyone who reads it will recognize the author’s enormous energy and originality.” DAVID WARSH, author of Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations
“A raucous, irreverent and highly perceptive analysis of how neoliberal economics not only survived the 2008 financial crisis, but even prospered in its aftermath. Mirowski’s book is a lively and far-reaching discussion of how it got us into this deep mess.” GERALD EP STEIN, Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“It is hard to imagine a historian who was not an economist (as Mirowski is) being able to encompass the economics of the second half of the 20th century in its diversity and technicality.”—London Review of Books
“Philip Mirowksi is the most imaginative and provocative writer at work today on the recent history of economics.”—Boston Globe