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

Mike Konczal. New Press, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62097-537-4
Roosevelt Institute director Konczal (coauthor, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy) argues that “true freedom requires keeping us free from the market” in this persuasive and methodical account. Countering “glib libertarian fantasies” of American history, Konczal details cases where the federal government suppressed the free market for the benefit of society, including the 1862 Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim up to 160 acres of public land in the West. He also champions the work of FDR’s secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, who described unemployment benefits and Social Security as “another great step in that liberation of humanity,” and explores how President Lyndon Johnson used Medicare funding to force desegregation in Southern hospitals. According to Konczal, the project of ensuring “a free, broadly accessible system of higher education” in the U.S. was undermined in the 1960s and ’70s by debt crises and conservative politicians battling student protestors. With carefully selected examples and lucid prose, Konczal makes a convincing case that the American project has long depended on rigorous regulation of capitalism. Progressive voters and policy makers will find plenty of ammunition for their arguments in this cogent history. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/22/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-538-1
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