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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Economics After Neoliberalism (Summer 2019) > EDITOR’S NOTE

EDITOR’S NOTE

NEAR THE END of Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Milton Friedman states the central thesis of his influential book: “Equality comes sharply into conflict with freedom; one must choose. One cannot be both an egalitarian …and a liberal.” What Friedman calls “liberalism” is the market fundamentalism that is now commonly called “neoliberalism.”

Friedman’s argument, radical in 1962, became the country’s guiding public philosophy with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. Its power as public philosophy owed less to the compelling force of its economic analysis than to its success in recruiting the value of liberty—our “equal right to freedom”—to its cause. Recruiting liberty, while dismissing equality and subordinating the civic liberty associated with democracy.

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Economics After Neoliberalism offers a powerful case for a new brand of economics—one focused on power and inequality and aimed at a more inclusive society. Three prominent economists—Suresh Naidu, Dani Rodrik, and Gabriel Zucman—lead off with a vision “for economic policy that stands as a genuine alternative to market fundamentalism.” Expanding on “the state of creative ferment” they describe, Boston Review has commissioned responses to their essay from economists, philosophers, political scientists, and policymakers across the political spectrum as well as new essays that challenge the current shape of markets and suggest more democratic alternatives. Lenore Palladino explores the misguided logic of shareholder primacy and points to more equitable approaches to corporate governance—such as employee ownership funds. Amy Kapczynski examines how the courts have developed a new, anti-democratic First Amendment that protects corporate speech at the expense of regulation designed to protect public health and safety. And Robert Manduca explores the importance of public discussion about economics by revisiting Chester Bowles's remarkable book, Tomorrow Without Fear, which explained Keynesian ideas to the public after World War II.