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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown Hardcover – June 25, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1781680797 ISBN-10: 1781680795 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680797
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A powerful critique of neoclassical economics.” —Times Higher Education

“It is hard to imagine a historian who was not an economist (as Mirowski is) being able to encompass the economics of the second half of the 20th century in its diversity and technicality.”—London Review of Books

“Philip Mirowksi is the most imaginative and provocative writer at work today on the recent history of economics.”—Boston Globe

“A fascinating account of how the disastrous failure of mainstream economists to predict the economic crisis put them more firmly in control of policy debates than ever before.” 
—DEAN BAKER, Codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research 

“Mirowski exposes the neoliberal takeover of minds and culture with an erudition, style and—dare I say it?—vocabulary that makes deep digging in this Great Bog of Repression almost a pleasure. This book shows how economic ideas caused the crisis. And it demonstrates their enduring triumph, which is that nothing has changed or will change, as we careen from the last disaster to the next one.”  —JAMES K . G ALBRAITH, author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too 

“The best and most thorough treatment of the financial crisis’s impact upon the economics profession, and especially its neoliberal wing. Mirowski is an excellent guide to the literature on all sides of this debate.” —DUNCAN FOLEY, author of Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology 

“A study guide for those who saw Inside Job and want more. Mirowski has read and digested virtually everything written about the financial crisis. He despairs of the failures of the economics profession to explain it, and especially what he calls the ‘level-headed left.’ Anyone who reads it will recognize the author’s enormous energy and originality.” —DAVID WARSH, author of Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations 

“A raucous, irreverent and highly perceptive analysis of how neoliberal economics not only survived the 2008 financial crisis, but even prospered in its aftermath. Mirowski’s book is a lively and far-reaching discussion of how it got us into this deep mess.” —GERALD EP STEIN, Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 

About the Author

Philip Mirowski is a historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. His many previous books include Machine Dreams and More Heat than Light, and he appeared in Adam Curtis’s BBC documentary The Trap.

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Customer Reviews

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Essential reading for anyone who wants to change the world without wasting their time.
Emer O'Siochru
A thoughtful and very complete and thoughtful analysis of the many failures of economic thought and the harm they've done.
Or at least it is a great, detailed, rambling but always very pointed broadside, which is pretty cool.
Shawn Parkhurst

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By protestantworkethic on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Short review:

Mirowski's book is one of the best on the crisis: he mixes the eye of an anthropologist or journalist examining our daily lives and then leaps up to 20,000 feet with ease to provide a wider intellectual and historical context. His take is novel, certainly from the Left, but well informed of debates on the Right. Empirical, but with a theoretical lens as well. If you want to understand not just the economics or politics of what happened, but to situate those events within a wider history of the ideas that played in a role in the Recession, Mirowski has an incredibly erudite account.

Long review:

Mirowski is a member of the "Institute for New Economic Thinking", an non-profit aimed to correct the orthodoxies of economics, "neoliberal" ideas in particular. He opens this book with a report from one of the first meetings, which happened to feature "bold and original thinkers" like Ken "Excel for Dummies" Rogoff, Larry Summers and Niall Ferguson. The meeting ended with a timid call to add an extra chapter to standard Econ101 textbooks briefly describing the crisis. Mirowski further rightly groans at hand-wringing over "happiness measurements", morality in markets and peevish complaints of "greedy bankers" (as if avarice has only existed in the past ten years.)

How did this rigidity come to be? Mirowski answers by suggesting that we must understand neoliberalism as a Russian doll. The innermost doll of experts emerged from the Mont Pelerlin Society, an organization that was by design very hierarchical. He describes, for instance, correspondence between Popper and Hayek. Popper, following his philosophy of open debate suggested that MPS should have at least one respectable socialist.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S Wood on March 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My feelings regarding Mirowski's "Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste" are decidedly mixed, on the one hand there is much fascinating information and analysis with regards to both Economists and the Financial Meltdown, on the other... well imagine Thomas Franks (of One Market Under God & Pity the Billionaire fame) mainlining a hefty load of hard-core academic jargon, and you have some idea of the style Mirowski writes in and the minor headache I developed from time to time while reading it.

Some of it is brilliant, Mirowski has read up on his Hayek and Friedman and the rest of the Mont Pelerin folks (spreading out to those with varying degrees of connections into what Mirowski terms the Neo-Liberal Thought Collective), and their thoughts and methods; his examination of the links between Macro Economists and the Federal Reserve and with Wall St throws much light on the reasons for the almost total lack of innovation in their responses to the Financial Meltdown. But even these insights have to be teased out from the heavy load of academic terminology that he has larded this book with.

This should have been (and perhaps will be if someone does a plain English translation) one of the best books written on the Financial Meltdown of 2007 onwards, and certainly the best one on Economists and the Meltdown, but instead Mirowski's raucous riff-a-rama of esoteric academic terminology means that he may as well have erected a 'Keep Out!' sign for the general reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on November 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's easy to come away with a "resistance is futile" feeling after reading this book -- i.e., resistance to what the author (PM) calls the Neoliberal Thought Collective. PM continually demonstrates that they have a lot more money, own the top economics departments, occupy almost the full range of America's now hyper-narrow political spectrum, and play dirty when it comes to rhetoric. Nonetheless, I was glad to have read the final, rather pessimistic, chapter, in which he points out a wonderful parallel between the neoliberal approaches to climate change and to the financial crisis. Perhaps the NTC's tendency to repeat itself might be turned into a vulnerability.

I've read most of PM's other monographs and edited volumes, as well as some of his uncollected articles, and found this one to be more uneven and often a less pleasant read. PM's style is best when he is marshaling lots of sources and criticizing most of them, while the passages with fewer footnotes sometimes are wandering and tedious. Chapter 4 and parts of Chapter 5, in which PM's targets were better-defined, were more entertaining -- if one can say that about tales of Nobel laureates so rigidly opposed to acknowledging their own mistakes or other aspects of reality. It may be indicative, though, of PM's struggle with this oversized book that his trademark baby-boomer cultural in-jokes here are more strained than Paul Krugman's (compare "Repent, Harlecons, Cried the History Man" @301 with Krugman's "The Night They Re-read Minsky," quoted @292; if you were born after 1960, you may find this comment inscrutable).

Maybe it was desperation at taking on such a gigantic and resilient foe that led its author to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at the theme.
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