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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1781680797
ISBN-10: 1781680795
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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 . Galbraith, 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 Epstein, 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680797
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
This book is exceptionally penetrating in its examination of the neoliberal project. Mirowski has for many years been a persistent scourge of orthodox economics, attacking its ersatz scientism in More Heat than Light (1989), and later its conspiratorial inner circle in The Road from Mont Pelerin (2009). Readers unfamiliar with the "Neoliberal Thought Collective" (NTC) will probably feel overwhelmed with the scope of this book: its etiology of neoliberalism is so relentless, it needs to examine both the moral philosophy and the anthropology spawned by it.

For this reason, he does not see neoliberalism as merely a view of how economies "work"; rather, he shows how its luminaries sought to create nothing less than a permanent empire of motion, in which all human agency was to be subordinated to an all-knowing market. While its votaries deny the very existence of any neoliberal project, the NTC is not only quite active, it is multifarious and ubiquitous. Mirowski briefly reviews some of the organs by which the NTC assures its acolytes influence, prestige, and pelf (1), but mainly focuses on the way in which it built upon, and distanced itself from, the neoclassical economics of the period 1870-1930.

I--In "Shock Block Doctrine" (2), Mirowski explains the outlook of Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS) cofounder Friedrich von Hayek (3).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to understand American culture and how it has been changed subtly and gradually you will find it in this book. The author is verbose but I actually enjoy his writing. Sometimes I have to parse his sentences by separating the independent clauses and finding the subject and verb to understand what he is saying, but I do not mind that. I recommend keeping a dictionary handy as he uses a sophisticated vocabulary. But that is a benefit for anyone who wants to increase her vocabulary.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Or at least it is a great, detailed, rambling but always very pointed broadside, which is pretty cool. Many readers will learn a great deal every three or four pages. Hunches will be confirmed. For example, if you ever had a hunch that Michel Foucault had neoliberal hankerings, Mirowski shows you that your hunch is right. But Mirowski also makes it clear that you shouldn't be too proud of your hunch, because it does not exempt you from your own neoliberal assumptions. This is a book, as Mirowski says in an Antipode symposium, for "the left" -- in the sense of prodding the left to do some new development and distribution of its own epistemology. Good as Mirowski is at exposing delusional but powerful collective thinking, he lacks a theory of crisis. If he thinks that there is a crisis (and it appears that he thinks that there really is one), then it would seem that for his case to have the strongest legs possible it needs to include a theory of crisis. One last thing: anyone who wants to learn a lot of new vocabulary should start with Perry Anderson and then graduate to Philip Mirowski. The writing is very good.
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