Free Markets — Ha Ha Ha

Dean Baker, the lucid and hard working economist and founder of  CEPR (Center for Economic and Policy Research) has a new book out: The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive [It’s available free, in several formats, and you can buy a copy, or donate to CEPR]  I have no idea what the cover is meant to convey, but the text is important, readable and vital to know.

 

For the most part, progressives accept the right‟s framing of economic debates. They accept the notions that the right is devoted to the unfettered workings of the market and, by contrast, that liberals and progressives are the ones who want the government to intervene to protect the interests of the poor and disadvantaged.

But this view is utterly wrong as a description of the economy and competing policy approaches. And it makes for horrible politics. It creates a scenario in which progressives are portrayed as wanting to tax the winners in society in order to reward the losers. The right gets to be portrayed as the champions of hard work and innovation, while progressives are seen as the champions of the slothful and incompetent. It should not be surprising who has been winning this game.

In reality, the vast majority of the right does not give a damn about free markets; it just wants to redistribute income upward. Progressives have been useful to the right in helping it to conceal this agenda. Progressives help to ratify the actions of conservatives by accusing them of allegiance to a freemarket ideology instead of attacking them for pushing the agenda of the rich

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