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The Corruption of Economics (Georgist Paradigm Series) [Hardcover]

Mason Gaffney Ph.D. , Fred Harrison , Kris Feder Ph.D.
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 28, 1994 0856831603 978-0856831607
The mystery of persistent economic failure is explained. The authors accuse the founders of neoclassical economics of distorting the science to protect vested interests and preventing governments from adopting policies that would yield prosperity for everyone.

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Editorial Reviews


"The contributors . . . are in tune with the increasing realization by economists of the importance of the property market to the macro economy." --"British Review of Economic Issues

About the Author

Mason Gaffney is a professor of economics at the University of California, Riverside. He is an authority on the economics of natural resources and was an adviser to ministers of the government of British Columbia. Fred Harrison is an adviser to Russian governments and federal agencies on property and taxation reforms. Kris Feder is an assistant professor of economics at Bard University, New York, where she is developing a research agenda in land economics and related fiscal policies under the auspices of the Jerome Levy Economics Institute.

Product Details

  • Series: Georgist Paradigm Series
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Shepheard-Walwyn Ltd. (June 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0856831603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856831607
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,484,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
In the late 19th century, economist and social philosopher Henry George achieved international fame by calling for the abolition of all taxation save that upon land values -- a tax reform that would reconcile the conflict between economic liberty and social justice. So persuasive were George's arguments that landed elites, desperate to protect their vested interests in unearned wealth, set out to undermine George's immense popularity.
In "The Corruption of Economics," the precise manner in which Henry George was neutralized is uncovered by professor Mason Gaffney. That manner -- which later became known as neo-classical economics -- was to corrupt economic science. How? By blurring the traditional distinction between capital and land (and hence between earned and unearned income), by glossing this blurred distinction with jargon and abstract models, and by recasting economics generally to make free-riding by landowners seem just and moral.
Unable or unwilling to address Gaffney's arguments head-on, some economists are fond of dismissing this book out of hand as nothing more than a "conspiracy theory." In reality, it's a scholarly analysis of the anti-Georgist origins of the neo-classical school of economics, and how this school made an artform out of justifying landed privilege. Every single one of its claims in that regard are supported by credible references.
"The Corruption of Economics" is a must-read for anyone who suspects there is something inherently flawed with "mainstream" economic theory -- particularly when it comes to reconciling the seeming conflict between economic liberty and social justice -- but is unsure as to what that flaw is.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Corruption of Economics June 17, 2000
Anyone who has ever spent a half a day in a university getting lectured on economics should read this book. To academics it is a must. To ordinary folks it reads like a crimi. Best insight book on the market as why economics is such a muddled science and why lawyers, historians, politicians and journalists have no clue about todays whereabouts. Or did you ever wonder why you work like a slave and get stripped down to nearly nothing by the state and its "social" agencies. Ever wondered why we face so much sprawl, poverty, blight? This book explains neatly what happened to the once grand sience of political economy and the real effects on todays world.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Gintis is schooled in contemporary neoclassical economics that trivializes and sometimes even denies the existence of Ricardian rent, and naturally has difficulty separating and identifying natural resource rents from other components of the economy. This is most disappointing, as substantial strides have been made in showing the amount and significance of rents since the advent of computer power and data can be tapped. Australian economist Terry Dwyer, himself Harvard educated, shows that just the ground rent from earthly locations is about a third of GDP. And Professor Gaffney's most recent article in the International Journal of Social Economics shows the numerous ways in which rent has been under-estimated. Professor Gintis gets a number of his facts wrong in this review: Henry George's Progress and Poverty was first published in 1879 and not 1987, and by 1906 had been translated into fourteen languages and sold more copies than any book published except the Bible. Contemporaries of the era were intellectual luminaries and statesmen, among them Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Sun Yat Sen, Leo Tolstoi, and Alfred Russell Wallace. More recently, Illinois economics professor and later Paul Douglas was a strong supporter of these ideas, as was Albert Einstein. John Dewey wrote an introduction to one edition of Progress and Poverty, saying "It would require less than the fingers of the two hands to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world's social philosophers. No man, no graduate of a higher institution, has a right to regard himself as an educated man in social thought unless he has some first-hand acquaintance with the theoretical contribution of this great American thinker. Read more ›
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