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The Economists' Hour

The Economists' Hour

False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society

An original history of ideas, and an unforgettable portrait of power, The Economists’ Hour by New York Times editorial writer Binyamin Appelbaum tells the story of the people who sparked four decades of economic revolution.

Before the 1960s, American politicians had never paid much attention to economists. But as the post-World War II boom began to sputter, economists gained influence and power.

In this original history of ideas, and unforgettable portrait of a revolution, Binyamin Appelbaum traces the rise of the economists, first in the United States and then around the globe, as their ideas reshaped the modern world, curbing government, unleashing corporations and hastening globalization.

Some leading figures are relatively well-known, like Milton Friedman, the elfin libertarian who had a greater influence on American life than any other economist of his generation, and Arthur Laffer, who sketched a curve on a cocktail napkin that helped to make tax cuts a staple of conservative economic policy.

Others stayed out of the limelight, but left a lasting impact on modern life: Walter Oi, a blind economist who dictated calculations to his wife that helped to persuade President Nixon to end military conscription; Alfred Kahn, who deregulated air travel and rejoiced in the crowded cabins on commercial flights as the proof of his success; and Thomas Schelling, who put a dollar value on human life.

Their fundamental belief? That government should stop trying to manage the economy.

Their guiding principle? That markets would deliver steady growth, and ensure that all Americans shared in the benefits.

But the Economists’ Hour failed to deliver on its promise of broad prosperity. And the single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of economic equality, of the health of liberal democracy, and of future generations.

Timely, engaging and expertly researched, The Economists’ Hour is a reckoning – and a call for people to rewrite the rules of the market.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Business & Economics / Economic History

On Sale: September 3rd 2019

Price: $30 / $38 (CAD)

Page Count: 448

ISBN-13: 9780316512329

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"I very much enjoyed reading The Economists' Hour, an entertaining and well-written look at how market-oriented ideas rose from the academy and transformed nations. I do not agree with each and every perspective, but found this a valuable and highly recommendable book, which I devoured in a single sitting."—Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation
"Binyamin Appelbaum has written a powerful must-read for all those interested in reinvigorating the credibility of economics, especially in policymaking circles. Through an engaging discussion of how economists' influence grew and spread, he shows how free-market economics evolved into an over-promising 'affirming religion,' only to disappoint too many of its followers and lead others astray. His insightful analysis also helps us identify what's needed to ensure that the market economy remains 'one of humankinds most awesome inventions.'"—Mohamed A. El-Erian, author of New York Times bestsellers When Markets Collide and The Only Game in Town
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