A New New Deal?
AbstractStrange things have been happening in economics these last few years. It would be normal to suppose that popular beliefs expressed through the media, voiced by establishment politicians, and taken for granted by right-thinking citizens would originate in the teachings and textbooks of the economics profession (which, incidentally, has grown enormously during the postwar decades both in academia and in government and business). In reality, however, it seems to have been working the other way around. It was the right-wing politicians and the pundits of the business press who began to whoop it up for such fashionable doctrines as monetarism and supply-side economics, and it was the professional economists who fell in line and took on the task of clothing them in "scientific" garb. Economics textbooks are not our favorite reading matter, but our friends in the teaching fraternity who have to keep up with this literature—and, God forgive them, decide which are the least objectionable choices to impose on their hapless students—tell us that by now the great majority of textbook writers have been fully won over to the new orthodoxies. Hold-outs, it seems, suffer the condign sanctions of the free market. The sad result is that we are rapidly becoming a nation of economic morons.
This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.
Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.
Review of the Month
Please see here for reprint requests.