The story of the economists who championed the rise of free markets and fundamentally reshaped the modern world.
As the post-World War II economic boom began to falter in the late 1960s, a new breed of economists gained in influence and power. Over time, their ideas curbed governments, unleashed corporations and hastened globalization.
Their fundamental belief? That governments should stop trying to manage the economy.
Their guiding principle? That markets would deliver steady growth and broad prosperity.
But the economists’ hour failed to deliver on its premise. The single-minded embrace of markets has come at the expense of economic equality, of the health of liberal democracy, and of future generations. Across the world, from both right and left, the assumptions of the once-dominant school of free-market economic thought are being challenged, as we count the costs as well as the gains of its influence.
Both accessible and authoritative, exploring the impact of both ideas and individuals, Binyamin Appelbaum’s The Economists’ Hour provides both a reckoning with the past and a call fora different future.
The wider story of the market-centric worldview provides the meat of Appelbaum’s narrative . . . The fact that such sophisticated people presided over a dangerous build-up in financial risk suggests that something larger was at work than a naive faith in markets. Appelbaum’s strength is that he generally acknowledges these complexities.
Binyamin Appelbaum writes about economics and business for the editorial page of the New York Times. From 2010 to 2019, he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering economic policy in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. He previously worked for the WashingtonPost, the Boston Globe, and the Charlotte Observer, where his reporting on subprime lending won a George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives with his wife and children in Washington, DC.