The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market by Oreskes, Naomi

The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market

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"A carefully researched work of intellectual history, and an urgently needed political analysis." --Jane Mayer

"[A] scorching indictment of free market fundamentalism ... and how we can change, before it's too late."-Esquire, Best Books of Winter 2023

The bestselling authors of Merchants of Doubt offer a profound, startling history of one of America's most tenacious--and destructive--false ideas: the myth of the "free market."

In their bestselling book Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway revealed the origins of climate change denial. Now, they unfold the truth about another disastrous dogma: the "magic of the marketplace."

In the early 20th century, business elites, trade associations, wealthy powerbrokers, and media allies set out to build a new American orthodoxy: down with "big government" and up with unfettered markets. With startling archival evidence, Oreskes and Conway document campaigns to rewrite textbooks, combat unions, and defend child labor. They detail the ploys that turned hardline economists Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman into household names; recount the libertarian roots of the Little House on the Prairie books; and tune into the General Electric-sponsored TV show that beamed free-market doctrine to millions and launched Ronald Reagan's political career.

By the 1970s, this propaganda was succeeding. Free market ideology would define the next half-century across Republican and Democratic administrations, giving us a housing crisis, the opioid scourge, climate destruction, and a baleful response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only by understanding this history can we imagine a future where markets will serve, not stifle, democracy.

Author: Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 02/21/2023
Pages: 576
Weight: 2.04lbs
Size: 9.47h x 6.43w x 1.75d
ISBN: 9781635573572


Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 09/01/2022 pg. 16
Publishers Weekly 11/21/2022
Kirkus Reviews 12/01/2022
BookPage 02/01/2023

About the Author
Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. Her opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. Her TED talk, "Why We Should Trust Scientists," was viewed more than a million times. Erik M. Conway is a historian of science and technology and works for the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of seven books and dozens of articles and essays.