(Review also posted at Goodreads. If you want to buy a copy, I recommend powells.com or your local bookstore.)
A well-argued debunking of the ideology of free markets, perfect
competition, and rational actors, the book explains how these have
become the excuses for cruel policies leading to the impoverishment of
the overwhelming majority in the USA. The book is deceptively simple in
its organization: the first chapters is an overview of the book's
argument, the second explains the economistic (Econ 101) model of
markets and the third covers the marketing of the model. Following
chapters explode, with data, economism as applied to the minimum wage,
taxation, health care, the mortgage market, and international trade. The
last is a summary and prospect.
The short-short summary here is
that an oversimplified model of economic behavior and outcomes has
become the excuse for policies which impoverish the vast majority of
Americans and much of the world. When politicians say that raising the
minimum wage makes people poorer, that is an economistic argument, and
the data does not support it. When they say that taxation invariably
decreases overall wealth, that is an economistic argument, and the data
does not support it. And so on.
It is a short simple book, and
the text is within the reach of any literate adult. The footnotes carry
you into the economic literature, and that is not so accessible, but
that is the point of such a book; to make economic conclusions and data
available to the literate public without extensive study.
quietly written, rather academic book — the author is a law professor —
but that is, in many ways, its strength. Instead of being a loud
blatant polemic, it quietly destroys the intellectual underpinnings of
US economic policy since Reagan.