For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Myths of the Free Market
  • Kenneth Friedman
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Myths of the Free Market.
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Myths of the Free Market provides a comprehensive critique of laissez faire and has important practical implications for investors. Even in principle, laissez faire cannot work - it is incompatible with institutions that increase wealth.† This has significant ramifications not only for the role of government, but for our entire value system.

About the Author

Kenneth Friedman has published the book Predictive Simplicity and more than a dozen articles in both philosophy journals and physics journals. He holds an MS in Physics and PhD in Philosophy of Science from MIT; he studied nonlinear thermodynamics with Ilya Prigogine in Brussels, on a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. After teaching for 12 years at SUNY at Oswego, where he chaired the department of philosophy, he worked as a securities analyst and money manager, capitalizing on a cyclic view of markets grounded in nonlinear thermodynamics. He is now CEO of a publicly traded international corporation. He has been interviewed in Barron's and on CNBC and quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

About the Book

Myths of the Free Market systematically presents a broad range of telling criticisms of free market economics, criticisms that have not been presented elsewhere. Despite our genuine faith in the free market, laissez-faire has...

Myths of the Free Market systematically presents a broad range of telling criticisms of free market economics, criticisms that have not been presented elsewhere. Despite our genuine faith in the free market, laissez-faire has not maximized wealth. When we moved from the purer free market policies of the 1920s and early 1930s to the proto-socialism of Roosevelt, our economic growth increased. As we have moved back to a purer free market, growth has slowed. We have lagged our trading partners who have mixed economies. Nor is this new. In the late 1800s the mixed economies of Bismarck's Germany and Meiji Japan outperformed the relatively free market economies of Great Britain and France. It is worse. Even in principle, laissez faire cannot work - it is incompatible with institutions that increase wealth. Patent protection is one example, easily generalized. It is worse yet. Laissez faire promotes the excessive concentration of wealth and exposes us all to avoidable danger. Over the last millennium there has been a 200-300 year cycle of wealth dispersion. Each time wealth disparity grew beyond a critical point it presaged decline and disaster for all of society. We now have the greatest disparity of wealth in our history.

Citing competition's dismal effects on everything from education to moral standards, the author suggests we look to nonlinear economics for a better model and open the window to humanism as a sounder basis for society.

Even in principle, laissez faire cannot work - it is incompatible with institutions that increase wealth. Laissez faire promotes the excessive concentration of wealth and exposes us all to avoidable danger. Over the last millennium there has been a 200-300 year cycle of wealth dispersion. Each time wealth disparity grew beyond a critical point it presaged decline and disaster for all of society. We now have the greatest disparity of wealth in our history.

Nonlinear thermodynamics offers a better model, and humanism beats competition.

Laissez faire is modeled on classical mechanics. In classical mechanics, particles are mutually independent. In classical economics, people act independently for their own economic benefit. In nonlinear thermo-dynamics, by contrast, particles can be mutually interdependent - and in nonlinear economics, people may be interdependent. "Myths" suggests nonlinear economics and humanism, to provide a different perspective of society. This has significant ramifications not only for the role of government, but for our entire value system.


Introduction
What happens when the rich get far, far richer? Laissez faire has moved us from democracy to corporatism, replacing integrity and values with a focus on "filling our bellies." How about humanism, for a change? This comprehensive critique has important practical implications for investors, educators and voters.
What happens when the rich get far, far richer? Laissez faire has moved us from democracy to corporatism, replacing integrity and values with a focus on "filling our bellies." How about humanism, for a change? This comprehensive critique has important practical implications for investors, educators and voters.
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Market Comparison

Books critical of our economic paradigm (Lester Thurow, Alfred Malabre, Ravi Batra and others), and books addressing issues relevant to investing. The solid, but staid, Irrational Exuberance was expected to sell 100,000 copies. Myths of the Free...

Market Comparison

Books critical of our economic paradigm (Lester Thurow, Alfred Malabre, Ravi Batra and others), and books addressing issues relevant to investing. The solid, but staid, Irrational Exuberance was expected to sell 100,000 copies. Myths of the Free Market provides a comprehensive critique of laissez faire, and has important practical implications for investors.

Many readers are unhappy with the unfairness and dysfunction of our political system and buy the books of Kevin Phillips, Elizabeth Drew, and others. Myths of the Free Market goes deeper, linking the political and social failures talked about by Phillips and others with defects in our economic paradigm.

Prophecies of doom often generate intense interest. The current extreme overvaluation of financial markets, record debt, and excessive disparity between the rich and the rest, foretell societal disaster and economic collapse. Myths of the Free Market details evidence for that, and could be regarded as prophetic (even though it's an easy call).

The Howard Ruff books of the 1980s sold well. Davidson and Rees-Mogg's Blood in the Streets and The Great Reckoning, of far greater substance, also sold well.



Pages 276
Year: 2003
LC Classification: HB95.F738
Dewey code: 330.12'2ódc21
BISAC: BUS029000
BISAC: BUS069000
Paper
ISBN: 978-0-87586-223-1
Price: USD 24.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-224-8
Price: USD 30.95
Ebook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-235-4
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