How did American and British policymakers become so enamored with free markets, deregulation, and limited government? This book - the first comprehensive transatlantic history of the rise of neoliberal politics - presents a surprising answer. Based on archival research and interviews with leading participants in the movement, Masters of the Universe traces the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since. Daniel Stedman Jones argues that there was nothing inevitable about the victory of free-market politics. Far from being the story of the simple triumph of right-wing ideas, the neoliberal breakthrough was contingent on the economic crises of the 1970s and the acceptance of the need for new policies by the political left.
Masters of the Universe describes neoliberalism's road to power, beginning in interwar Europe but shifting its center of gravity after 1945 to the United States, especially to Chicago and Virginia, where it acquired a simple clarity that was developed into an uncompromising political message. Neoliberalism was communicated through a transatlantic network of think tanks, businessmen, politicians, and journalists that was held together by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. After the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971, and the "stagflation" that followed, their ideas finally began to take hold as Keynesianism appeared to self-destruct. Later, after the elections of Reagan and Thatcher, a guileless faith in free markets came to dominate politics.
Fascinating, important, and timely, this is a book for anyone who wants to understand the history behind the Anglo-American love affair with the free market, as well as the origins of the current economic crisis.
©2012 Daniel Stedman Jones (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
There were just too many mispronunciations of economists' names and economic concepts. That is not acceptable for a book of this type.
Daniel Stedman Jones does a decent job in diving deeply into the history and ideas. The problem is that time after time after time his bias, he is part of Demos, shines far too brightly. Too often it results in questionable characterizations of historical events. If you're looking for a different viewpoint on Hayek, Friedman and others you will find it here. The problem is the accuracy of its conclusions are questionable.
This was a very interesting book and, in my opinion, a good reference. Let's face it: whether we agree with them or not, so-called neoliberal ideas have played a very important role in the way the US, the UK and, more generally, the whole of the world has been governed in the past 30-odd years. This is a compelling and well-researched account of their origins and how they came to assume such importance. If the kindle companion becomes available, I would certainly buy that to use as a reference, as there are certain aspects I would be interested in exploring further.
Awful reader. As another reviewer noted, his systematic mispronounciations of what I would have thought were standard economic terms was very irritating. He kept saying Key-nesian economics instead of the standard Kay-nsian (the man's name is prounounced Kay-ns, after all!).
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