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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Economics After Neoliberalism (Summer 2019) > IN DEFENSE OF NEOLIBERALISM

IN DEFENSE OF NEOLIBERALISM

SINCE COMPLAINTS about the domination of market fundamentalism seem to greatly outnumber pro-fundamentalist manifestos, Naidu, Rodrik, and Zucman may have trouble finding debate partners who will defend ideological, fundamentalist, fetishist neoliberalism. As a personal favor to the authors, whom I like and respect, I will volunteer to be at least a neoliberal—I hope to be excused from the other labels.

Naidu, Rodrik, and Zucman have done a valuable service with their initiative; the policy debate should be expanded because there is danger in neglecting inequality. And yes, there are some government interventions that would improve equality while not destroying the benefits of markets. But there are dangers also in the other direction.

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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.