Daily Archives: Sep 7, 2019 at 08:35 am EST

Book Bits | 7 September 2019

The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society
By Binyamin Appelbaum
Review via Reuters
What is it about “free markets”? The phrase creates a frisson of excitement among a certain group of people. In “The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society”, Binyamin Appelbaum describes what happened when these intellectual fanatics were given the power to act on their ideas. It is not a happy tale.
Like most foolish notions about human society, the basic belief in free markets is simple, appealing and deeply wrong. It’s simple to think that all will be well if governments just leave competitive markets alone. It’s also appealing: There’s no need to plan or judge if price signals provided by the self-regulating market do all the economic work. And it’s wrong: Neither human nature nor the modern economy works the way these economists assume. Appelbaum’s narrative provides ample evidence of that.
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