ECONOMIC BASICS/NEOLIBERAL MYTHS



The neoliberal project could not have been advanced without a series of myths designed to sell it to the public. Distorted and mangled economic theology masquerading as science is used to prop up corporate rule. Primary in this has been the equation of corporate dominated capitalism with “free markets”. Competing independent entrepreneurs would supposedly bring to life economist Adam Smith’s concept of supply and demand ruling the marketplace. In reality we have corporate monopolies and oligopolies with competition even further curtailed through the constant rounds of mergers and acquisitions, promoted as increasing business efficiency. Corporate capitalism is equated with formal democratic institutions even though it leads to an even further erosion of real power by the people.
We are told there is only one inevitable model of globalization when this particular form has been deliberately chosen and pursued by a small elite for their own financial gain. Increased global trade is supposed to somehow bring about an improvement in general material well-being when the reality is increased concentration of wealth in fewer hands. International investment is applauded by the financial media even though the vast majority of it is short term speculation–– “hot money” that can destabilize entire regions of the world. Foreign investment in Canada is celebrated as an unmitigated blessing when in reality it means the profit from and control of business activities as well as the top jobs flow out of the country. Mandatory regulation of business behaviour has been replaced by “smart regulations” in which companies are allowed to voluntarily police themselves. Corporations whose only reason for existence is to generate profits for shareholders by any means possible are presented as the best hope for world prosperity. Big business leaders portray themselves as valiantly struggling to compete on their own while receiving huge subsidies and government handouts. Meanwhile the working poor are admonished to get by with less. All this is done in the name of an economic efficiency trumpeted as being for the betterment of humankind.



23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism    by Ha-Joon Chang (2010)     A short, fast paced, but incisive exposure and debunking of the myths used to justify neoliberal capitalism.

The Value of Nothing: Why everything costs so much more than we think    by Raj Patel (2009)     Short but incisive look at the assumptions behind neoliberalism and its costs to society.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us    by John Quiggin (2010)     Identifies and demolishes the myths underlying privatization, neoliberalism and the efficient market hypothesis.

The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills    by David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu (2013)     An expose of the myhs "justifying" austerity and the resulting social and medical damage.

Ill Fares the Land    by Tony Judt (2008)     Exposes the philosophical and moral bankruptcy of greed driven neoliberal economics, its underlying contradictions, and examines alternatives.

End This Depression Now!    by Paul Krugman (2012)     A mainstream economist examines the history and role of neoliberal economics in bringing about the 2008 collapse and the need for government action to revive the economy.

Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle For America's Soul    by Gary Weiss (2012)     A behind the scenes look at the inflitration of Rand's self-centred economic philosophy into American life and its influence on the Tea Party.

Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism    by Jim Stanford (2008)     Excellent introduction to the underlying basis of capitalism and an examination of the myths surrounding it as well as possible alternatives.

The [undeclared] war: Class Conflict in the Age of Cyber Capitalism    by James Laxer (1999) (Canadian)     Explores the reality of the growing class inequalities of the new economy behind the neoliberal rhetoric.

The Cult of Impotence: Selling the Myth of Powerlessness in the Global Economy    by Linda McQuaig (1998) (Canadian)     Good introduction to economic concepts and post World War II economic history.

The Vampire State and Other Myths and Fallacies About the U.S. Economy    by Fred L. Block (1996)     A look at the true role of government in the economy.

Poor-Bashing: The Politics of Exclusion    by Jean Swanson (2001) (Canadian)     Examines the myths used to scapegoat and marginalize the poor in Canada.




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