Zombie economics, by John Quiggin

How dead ideas still walk among us

The global financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism - the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many - members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In Zombie Economics, John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us - and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future.

Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs - that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off - brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough - either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.

Reviews:

'This book is certainly a good read for anyone eager to know why it is urgent that economists come up with a socially useful body of thought or suggestions.' - Shanghai Daily

'Entertaining and thought-provoking ... a good summary for non-specialists of how the economics debate has developed' - Philip Coggan, Economist

'Quiggin is a writer of great verve who marshals some powerful evidence.' - Financial Times (FT Critics Pick 2010)

'Lucid, lively and loaded with hard data, passionate, provocative and .. persuasive ... should be required reading, even for those who aren't Keynesians or Krugmaniacs.' - Glenn C. Altschuler, Barron's

'Apparently some economists have a sense of humor, dismal though it may be. Quiggin uses the 2008 global financial crisis as the focal point for examining five core macroeconomic and financial theories that have been - to use zombie terminology - killed by our current predicament. . . . Economics students and interested lay readers will find this valuable.' - Library Journal

'Erroneous economic ideas resemble the living dead, writes John Quiggin in his smart new book Zombie Economics. They are dangerous yet impossible to kill. Even after a financial crisis buries them, they survive in our minds and can rise unbidden from the necropolis of ideology.'  - James Pressley, Bloomberg News

'The financial crisis has disproved many cherished tenets of 'market liberalism', such as the 'Efficient Markets Hypothesis', yet these zombie ideas still shamble through newspapers and journals. Enter economist Quiggin, calmly wielding dual shotguns to blast them relentlessly in the face. . . . As Quiggin explains with elegance, lucidity and deadpan humour, the undead ideas here are interconnected: killing one causes it to knock over another in a sort of zombie-dominoes effect.'  - Guardian

'I recommend it highly' - Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald

'Armed with nothing but the truth, John Quiggin sets about despatching these dead dieas once and for all in this engaging book', - Brad Delong, University of California

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