In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land.
The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future.
Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs--that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off--brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough--either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.
In a new chapter, Quiggin brings the book up to date with a discussion of the re-emergence of pre-Keynesian ideas about austerity and balanced budgets as a response to recession.
John Quiggin is professor of economics at the University of Queensland in Australia.
"Entertaining and thought-provoking. . . . [W]orks as a good summary for non-specialists of how the economics debate has developed."--Philip Coggan, Economist
"Lucid, lively and loaded with hard data, passionate, provocative and . . . persuasive. . . . (Zombie Economics) should be required reading, even for those who aren't Keynesians or Krugmaniacs."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Barron's
"The financial crisis has disproved many cherished tenets of 'market liberalism', such as the 'Efficient Markets Hypothesis', yet these zombie ideas still shamble through newspapers and journals. Enter economist Quiggin, calmly wielding dual shotguns to blast them relentlessly in the face. . . . As Quiggin explains with elegance, lucidity and deadpan humour, the undead ideas here are interconnected: killing one causes it to knock over another in a sort of zombie-dominoes effect."--Guardian
"Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence."--Financial Times (FT Critics Pick 2010)
"Zombie Economics is . . . a highly readable and sobering assessment of the role played by discredited economic ideas in the global financial and economic meltdown of 2008-09. Quiggin delves deeply into the origins and development of all the star culprits so loved by the economic right in recent decades: from the efficient markets hypothesis to privatization and Real Business Cycle Theory. None has stood up to the stern test posed by real markets and economies in crisis. Yet most live on, still featured in many curriculums and advocated by those academics who have staked their careers on them."--Globe & Mail
"It's hard to resist a book called Zombie Economics, and University of Queensland professor John Quiggin makes his tale as compelling as his title. . . . It's the rare read that's both thoughtful and fun."--Biz Ed Magazine
"[C]ogent and readable."--Nation
Paperback: Not for sale in Australia and New Zealand