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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown Hardcover – 23 Jul 2013

2.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (23 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781680795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781680797
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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 twentieth century in its diversity and technicality. --London Review of Books

Philip Mirowksi is the most imaginative and provocative writer at work today on the recent history of economics. --Boston Globe

“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.” --JAMES K. GALBRAITH, author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too

“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.” --DEAN BAKER, Codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

“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.” --DUNCAN FOLEY, author of Adam’s Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology

“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.” --DAVID WARSH, author of Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations

“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.” --GERALD EPSTEIN, Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

About the Author

PHILIP MIROWSKI is a historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. His many previous books include ScienceMart, Machine Dreams and More Heat than Light, and he appeared in Adam Curtis's BBC documentary The Trap.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is exceptionally penetrating in its examination of the neoliberal project. Mirowski has for many years been a persistent scourge of orthodox economics, attacking its ersatz scientism in More Heat than Light (1989), and later its conspiratorial inner circle in The Road from Mont Pelerin (2009). Readers unfamiliar with the "Neoliberal Thought Collective" (NTC) will probably feel overwhelmed with the scope of this book: its etiology of neoliberalism is so relentless, it needs to examine both the moral philosophy and the anthropology spawned by it.

For this reason, he does not see neoliberalism as merely a view of how economies "work"; rather, he shows how its luminaries sought to create nothing less than a permanent empire of motion, in which all human agency was to be subordinated to an all-knowing market. While its votaries deny the very existence of any neoliberal project, the NTC is not only quite active, it is multifarious and ubiquitous. Mirowski briefly reviews some of the organs by which the NTC assures its acolytes influence, prestige, and pelf (1), but mainly focuses on the way in which it built upon, and distanced itself from, the neoclassical economics of the period 1870-1930.

I--In "Shock Block Doctrine" (2), Mirowski explains the outlook of Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS) cofounder Friedrich von Hayek (3).
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Format: Hardcover
My feelings regarding Mirowski's "Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste" are decidedly mixed, on the one hand there is much fascinating information and analysis with regards to both Economists and the Financial Meltdown, on the other... well imagine Thomas Franks (of One Market Under God & Pity the Billionaire fame) mainlining a hefty load of hard-core academic jargon, and you have some idea of the style Mirowski writes in and the minor headache I developed from time to time while reading it.

Some of it is brilliant, Mirowski has read up on his Hayek and Friedman and the rest of the Mont Pelerin folks (spreading out to those with varying degrees of connections into what Mirowski terms the Neo-Liberal Thought Collective), and their thoughts and methods; his examination of the links between Macro Economists and the Federal Reserve and with Wall St throws much light on the reasons for the almost total lack of innovation in their responses to the Financial Meltdown. But even these insights have to be teased out from the heavy load of academic terminology that he has larded this book with.

This should have been (and perhaps will be if someone does a plain English translation) one of the best books written on the Financial Meltdown of 2007 onwards, and certainly the best one on Economists and the Meltdown, but instead Mirowski's raucous riff-a-rama of esoteric academic terminology means that he may as well have erected a 'Keep Out!' sign for the general reader, at least he would have saved himself receiving the one-star reviews which I in part sympathise with.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is something quite deliberately riotous in this book. It is, of course, a serious work, recapitulating the author's previous scholarly works on neoliberalism and economics in a more digestible, polemical format. But it is also something of an arcade, an ensemble of rococo stylings, flights of sarcastic humour, polemical asides and sustained critical forays into philosophy, economics and cultural criticism. This will be too discursive, too prolix, not 'clear' enough for some people; but there's no reason why everyone has to sound like an ad copywriter in their prose.

More to the point, it contains: 1) a tragicomic reading of how the economics profession squandered any chance to develop a new perspective beyond the gentrifying corsets of marginalism after the crisis, and how this intellectual conformity helped underpin the responses of national states as they bailed out the banks; 2) original and sharp analyses of the institutional and political origins of 'the Neoliberal Thought Collective' - that Russian Doll-like infrastructure of think tanks and lobbies and councils and academic journals which propagate neoliberal ideology; 3) an original engagement with Foucault's analyses of neoliberalism, in what is to me the most useful chapter, on 'everyday neoliberalism'. This chapter explains in ways that other authors do not the ways in which neoliberalism filters into everyday life, structuring people's experiences of the world, penetrating culture, and thus making itself more accepted; 4) a lucid analysis of the credit crunch and the responses to it.

I have read many useful accounts of the crisis - the credit crunch and ensuing recessions and debt panics.
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