In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land.
The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future.
Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs--that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off--brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough--either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.
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"Killing vampires and werewolves is easy enough. But how does one slay economic zombies--ideas that should have died long ago but still shamble forward? Armed with nothing but the truth, John Quiggin sets about dispatching these dead ideas once and for all in this engaging book. Zombie Economics should be required reading for those who would dare reanimate the economic theories that brought us to the edge of ruin."--Brad DeLong, University of California, Berkeley
"Tempted to tangle with your libertarian uncle or your Wall Street Journal bromide-spouting coworkers? If so, this book will arm you to rebut the clever phrasemaking and slippery reasoning that has allowed dead constructs like 'trickle down economics' to soldier onward. Quiggin's clear, elegant dissection of wrongheaded notions will appeal to both lay readers and academic economists."--Yves Smith, author of ECONned: How Unenlightened Self-Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism
"Zombie Economics provides a unique and comprehensive discussion of the ideas that failed during the recent financial crisis. But the book contributes much more. Its discussion of how macroeconomics developed, and the ideology that has grown up around it, is every bit as important and interesting."--Mark Thoma, University of Oregon
"This is a terrific book. Quiggin is an engaging writer, and the combination of quotations, history, theory, and hard evidence makes the book quite a page-turner."--Andrew Leigh, Australian National University
John Quiggin is professor of economics at the University of Queensland in Australia.
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