ECONOMICS

Freedom from the Market: America’s Fight To Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand

New Pr. Jan. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781620975374. $25.99. BUS
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The influence of both neoliberalism and libertarianism on political discussion in the last 50 years has emboldened their adherents to push for the free market as the force for wealth generation. In his historical overview of how government regulations have been just as important for economic progress, Konczal (director, Roosevelt Inst.) takes a look at eight moments that mattered. His history starts with the Homestead Act of 1862, one of the first government policies that suppressed the free market to give more Americans the opportunity to own land. Konczal continues his argument through looking at the creation of the eight-hour workday, Social Security, and Medicare. The author ends with a look at state-run higher education and how the Republican Party strangled the University of California system and started the astronomical growth in the cost of higher education over the last three decades. This well-researched book provides a detailed history of the regulations and their ultimate benefit to both the American public and the free market.
VERDICT Providing solid cases where government regulations helped to give Americans a better life, this will appeal to progressives looking for a history of their movement.

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