Economists and the Powerful

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A novel account of the inner workings of our capitalist economy, in which competition is imperfect and influence of power is ubiquitous.

Conventional economic theory deals with power by assuming that it doesn’t exist. Häring and Douglas bring power back to centre stage to devise a far more realistic vision the economy.

—Steve Keen, University of Western Sydney, School of Economics and Finance, and author of “Debunking Economics”

From governments and banks to business and labor, Häring and Douglas provide a far-reaching survey of the role played by power in economics – a role that too many economists are still determined to ignore.

—James K. Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin

“Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards” explores the workings of the modern global economy – an economy in which competition has been corrupted and power has a ubiquitous influence upon economic behavior. Based on empirical and theoretical studies by distinguished economists from both the past and present day, this study argues that the true workings of capitalism are very different from the popular myths voiced in mainstream economics. Offering a closer look at the history of economic doctrines – as well as how economics are incentivized – “Economists and the Powerful” exposes how, when and why the theme of power was erased from the radar screens of mainstream economic analysis – and the influence this subversive removal has had upon the modern financial world. Incisive and engaging, this book provides a unique perspective on the Greek crisis by combining a thoughtful analysis of Greek society and economy with one of politics at the EU level and of global financial markets.

This is an important book. It corrects current economic thinking by introducing the dimension of power. In financial and labour markets traditional economic analysis fails to understand the mounting pressure of powerful players. Their attempt to force governments to take the back seat as long as things go well, but to assume responsibility once the damage is done, has to be energetically refuted.

—Heiner Flassbeck, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD

Weaving the intellectual history of economics with economic history, this book presents thoughtful and often courageous arguments that help us understand how power exists everywhere – not just in politics, as the powerful and the economists who serve them want you to think, but in markets, boardrooms, workplaces, and, last but not least, in academia. Essential reading for those who are interested in reforming our economies and changing the world for the better.

—Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of “Kicking Away the Ladder” and “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism”

In terms of shaping economic and political history (for the better), Economists and the Powerful could turn out to be the book of the decade. It tells the story of how the discipline of economics has been captured by America’s ultra-rich and powerful, and has been used by them as a propaganda tool to stuff their pockets while leading their country and others into decline. Americans are unlikely to be ready for Häring and Douglas’s book, but the rest of the world probably is.

—Edward Fullbrook, Editor of “Real-World Economics Review”

Haring and Douglas have provided a useful account of the ways in which the rich and powerful have steered the economics profession in directions that support their interests. Economic theory predicts that those with money will try to corrupt the discipline. This book is an effort to find the evidence to support the theory.

—Dean Baker, Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research