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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown

After the financial apocalypse, neoliberalism rose from the dead—stronger than ever

At the onset of the Great Recession, as house prices sank and joblessness soared, many commentators concluded that the economic convictions behind the disaster would now be consigned to history. And yet, in the harsh light of a new day, we've awoken to a second nightmare more ghastly than the first: a political class still blaming government intervention, a global drive for austerity, stagflation, and an international sovereign debt crisis.

Philip Mirowski finds an apt comparison to this situation in classic studies of cognitive dissonance. He concludes that neoliberal thought has become so pervasive that any countervailing evidence serves only to further convince disciples of its ultimate truth. Once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, providing a revolutionary account of self, knowledge, information, markets, and government, it could no longer be falsified by anything as trifling as data from the "real" economy.

In this sharp, witty and deeply informed account, Mirowski—taking no prisoners in his pursuit of "zombie" economists—surveys the wreckage of what passes for economic thought, finally providing the basis for an anti-neoliberal assessment of the current crisis and our future prospects.

Reviews

  • “It is hard to imagine a historian who was not an economist (as Mirowski is) being able to encompass the economics of the second half of the 20th century in its diversity and technicality.”
  • “Philip Mirowksi is the most imaginative and provocative writer at work today on the recent history of economics.”
  • “A fascinating account of how the disastrous failure of mainstream economists to predict the economic crisis put them more firmly in control of policy debates than ever before.”
  • “Mirowski exposes the neoliberal takeover of minds and culture with an erudition, style and—dare I say it?—vocabulary that makes deep digging in this Great Bog of Repression almost a pleasure. This book shows how economic ideas caused the crisis. And it demonstrates their enduring triumph, which is that nothing has changed or will change, as we careen from the last disaster to the next one.”
  • “The best and most thorough treatment of the financial crisis’s impact upon the economics profession, and especially its neoliberal wing. Mirowski is an excellent guide to the literature on all sides of this debate.”
  • “A study guide for those who saw Inside Job and want more. Mirowski has read and digested virtually everything written about the financial crisis. He despairs of the failures of the economics profession to explain it, and especially what he calls the ‘level-headed left.’ Anyone who reads it will recognize the author’s enormous energy and originality.”
  • “A raucous, irreverent and highly perceptive analysis of how neoliberal economics not only survived the 2008 financial crisis, but even prospered in its aftermath. Mirowski’s book is a lively and far-reaching discussion of how it got us into this deep mess.”

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    We're delighted to announce that we are now selling books directly through our website - meaning that we can offer generous discounts and free postage & packing to our customers. In addition, and where available, for every print book you buy you will receive the bundled ebook for free! Over time you can build up your own library of ebooks, hosted on the site, available to re-download as you wish to any device.

    To celebrate the launch of our new online shop we will be discounting ALL BOOKS by 50% from the 8th-14th April - THE SALE IS NOW FINISHED.

    That means you can buy recent bestsellers such as Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work for only £4.49/$7.47; Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis for £4.49/$7.47; and Arun Kundnani's The Muslims Are Coming! for £7.49/$13.47 - with free postage and packing, worldwide.

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  • Post-crash economics: a reading list

    Neoliberal economics isn't working and students are demanding more from their course reading than the 8th edition of Macroeconomics can provide. Following the news that Economics students in Manchester have formed the Post-Crash Economics Society and Aditya Chakrabortty's excoriating and controversial commentary on the state of contemporary economics, published in the Guardian this week, Verso presents a reading list of economics titles which challenge the mainstream neoliberal consensus and offer powerful alternative models in contemporary economics.
     


    First on our list, and referenced by Chakrabortty, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski
    Following the financial crisis, how have banks and the financial services industry manage to stay on top in the political stakes; indeed, how has their recovering led to an upturn in their fortunes? Philip Mirowski explores how financial capitalism has turned the crisis to their advantage, leveraging state power to prop up free market capitalism.

    Another new release from Verso is Costas Lapavitsas' book on financialisation, Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All. Described as "a masterpiece on the financialized capitalism of our age", the book looks at the rise of financial profit as a key aspect of the economy, and the role of financialized capitalism in the current economic crisis.

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  • 2013 Highlights from Verso Books

    From scaling the very highest rooftops to political scandal through the eyes of Alexander Cockburn, we bring you our seasonal highlights for 2013.

    THE CITY / URBAN EXPLORATION



     
    Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
    Bradley L. Garrett

    "Garrett perceives the city like no one else I know. Seen through his eyes, it is newly porous, full of “vanishing points”, “imperfect joinings” and portals – service hatches, padlocked doorways – that you wouldn't usually notice... The city's accessible space extends far down into the earth (sewers, bunkers, tunnels) and far up into the air (skyscrapers, cranes), with the street level only serving as a median altitude." – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian 

    "[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places." – Rowan Moore, The Observer Architecture Books of the Year

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