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Illusion of Free Markets

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews

It is widely believed today that the free market is the best mechanism ever invented to efficiently allocate resources in society. Just as fundamental as faith in the free market is the belief that government has a legitimate and competent role in policing and the punishment arena. This curious incendiary combination of free market efficiency and the Big Brother state has

Hardcover, 264 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Harvard University Press
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Nov 05, 2015 Rhys rated it really liked it
This book was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it very much. Good scholarship, well written, and interesting - particularly how he interpreted the output of the Chicago School over the past decades.

The argument presented in the book is clear: the natural order is highly regulated; and "the naturalness of the market depoliticizes the distributional outcomes" (p.32). And Harcourt delivers on the supporting evidence.

What came to mind as I read Illusion of Free Markets was how we use an illusory '
Nov 01, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-state
Discipline or sacrifice, and how economics can help

[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the compa
Alex Zuckerman
Dec 30, 2016 Alex Zuckerman rated it liked it
A fascinating bundle of ideas about markets and intellectual history, a bit of a slog to get through because Harcourt splays much of the material appropriately left in the footnotes across the body of the book.
I was expecting a rundown of the epistemological errors of “spontaneous order” in capitalist society, and came up somewhat wanting. It's certainly a good analysis of the controls that were inevitable even in the high-liberal era, although when you criticize the quality of the egg, it's not the same as criticizing the quality of the chicken.

Harcourt is much more interesting when he's addressing the contemporary link between free markets and penal society, and the state power at the heart of moder
David Kaib
Aug 17, 2011 David Kaib rated it it was amazing
An even better job of busting the myth of free markets than Robert Hale, and also explains the connection market thinking and punitive approaches in non-economic arenas.
Ben Chinn
Nov 23, 2011 Ben Chinn rated it it was ok
Some interesting ideas but I couldn't get past the academic jargon and lefty posturing. Gave up after the first couple of chapters.
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Sep 14, 2014 Phạm rated it it was ok
Much better to read Polanyi's The Great Transformation.
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Bernard Harcourt is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law & Criminology and Chair and Professor of Political Science at The University of Chicago.

Professor Harcourt's scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, criminal law and procedure, and criminology. He is the author of Against Prediction: Punishing and Policing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago
More about Bernard E. Harcourt...

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