Freedom from the market America's fight to liberate itself from the grip of the invisible hand

Mike Konczal

Book - 2021

"The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : The New Press 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
247 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781620975374
1620975378
Main Author
Mike Konczal (author)
  • Introduction
  • Free land
  • Free time
  • Free life
  • Free security
  • Free care
  • Free health
  • Free economy
  • Free education
  • Conclusion.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Roosevelt Institute director Konczal (coauthor, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy) argues that "true freedom requires keeping us free from the market" in this persuasive and methodical account. Countering "glib libertarian fantasies" of American history, Konczal details cases where the federal government suppressed the free market for the benefit of society, including the 1862 Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim up to 160 acres of public land in the West. He also champions the work of FDR's secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, who described unemployment benefits and Social Security as "another great step in that liberation of humanity," and explores how President Lyndon Johnson used Medicare funding to force desegregation in Southern hospitals. According to Konczal, the project of ensuring "a free, broadly accessible system of higher education" in the U.S. was undermined in the 1960s and '70s by debt crises and conservative politicians battling student protestors. With carefully selected examples and lucid prose, Konczal makes a convincing case that the American project has long depended on rigorous regulation of capitalism. Progressive voters and policy makers will find plenty of ammunition for their arguments in this cogent history. (Jan.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom“Mike Konczal [is] one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform‚ [a] heroic critic of austerity‚ and a huge resource for progressives.”—Paul KrugmanHealth insurance, student loan debt, retirement security, child care, work-life balance, access to home ownership—these are the issues driving America’s current political debates. And they are all linked, as this brilliant and timely book reveals, by a single question: should we allow the free market to determine our lives?In the tradition of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, noted economic commentator Mike Konczal answers this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history to reveal that, from the earliest days of the republic, Americans have defined freedom as what we keep free from the control of the market. With chapters on the history of the Homestead Act and land ownership, the eight-hour work day and free time, social insurance and Social Security, World War II day cares, Medicare and desegregation, free public colleges, intellectual property, and the public corporation, Konczal shows how citizens have fought to ensure that everyone has access to the conditions that make us free.At a time when millions of Americans—and more and more politicians—are questioning the unregulated free market, Freedom from the Market offers a new narrative, and new intellectual ammunition, for the fight that lies ahead.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom'mike Konczal [is] one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform' [a] heroic critic of austerity' and a huge resource for progressives.''Paul KrugmanHealth insurance, student loan debt, retirement security, child care, work-life balance, access to home ownership'these are the issues driving America's current political debates. And they are all linked, as this brilliant and timely book reveals, by a single question: should we allow the free market to determine our lives?In the tradition of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, noted economic commentator Mike Konczal answers this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history to reveal that, from the earliest days of the republic, Americans have defined freedom as what we keep free from the control of the market. With chapters on the history of the Homestead Act and land ownership, the eight-hour work day and free time, social insurance and Social Security, World War II day cares, Medicare and desegregation, free public colleges, intellectual property, and the public corporation, Konczal shows how citizens have fought to ensure that everyone has access to the conditions that make us free.At a time when millions of Americans'and more and more politicians'are questioning the unregulated free market, Freedom from the Market offers a new narrative, and new intellectual ammunition, for the fight that lies ahead.