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Failed : What the "Experts" Got Wrong about the Global Economy

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Why has the Eurozone ended up with an unemployment rate more than twice that of the United States more than six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers? Why did the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries suffer a prolonged economic slowdown in the last two decades of the 20th century? What was the role of the International Monetary Fund in these economic failures? Why was Latin America able to achieve substantial poverty reduction in the 21st century after more than two decades without any progress? Failed analyzes these questions, explaining why these important economic developments of recent years have been widely misunderstood and in some cases almost completely ignored. First, in the Eurozone, Mark Weisbrot argues that the European authorities' political agenda, which included shrinking the welfare state, reducing health care, pension, and other social spending, and reducing the bargaining power of labor played a very important role in prolonging the Eurozone's financial crisis and pushing it into years of recession and mass unemployment. This conclusion is based not only on public statements of European officials, but also on thousands of pages of documentation from consultations between the IMF and European governments after 2008. The second central theme of Failed is that there are always practical alternatives to prolonged economic failure. Drawing on the history of other financial crises, recessions, and recoveries, Weisbrot argues that regardless of initial conditions, there have been and remain economically feasible choices for governments of the Eurozone to greatly reduce unemployment-including the hardest hit, crisis-ridden country of Greece. The long-term economic failure of developing countries, its social consequences, as well as the subsequent recovery in the first decade of the 21st century, constitute the third part of the book's narrative, one that has previously gotten too little attention. We see why the International Monetary Fund has lost influence in middle income countries. Failed also examines the economic causes and consequences of Latin America's "second independence" and rebound in the twenty-first century, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 148 x 216 x 28mm | 456g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 12 line illustrations
  • 0195170180
  • 9780195170184
  • 891,910

Review quote

Compelling * Jayati Ghosh, Frontline * Mark Weisbrot is among that very small group of economists whose theorizing about the world actually matches the truth of the world. His new book, Failed , is an indispensable analysis of prevailing misconceptions, of the type once described by the great sociologist C. Wright Mills as 'crackpot realism,' a delusional 'style of mind' that 'justifies its false and feeble views as reality itself.' It is required reading for anyone seeking to explain contemporary global politics. * Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University * Weisbrot's book shatters conventional wisdoms about the meaning of the Eurozone crisis. In clear, accessible language, it advances a desperately-needed alternative interpretation of the contemporary global economy. * Sarah Babb, Professor of Sociology, Boston College * There are two types of economic history books: those that start with an ideological position and select facts as they please, and another that actually discusses what happened and why. Mark Weisbrot's newest book belongs to the second category. It takes you on a journey to the places and crises that, according to the neoliberal narrative, should have never happened - the Asian financial meltdown, the Argentine depression and recovery, the interminable European austerity - and for good measure adds a discussion of the most successful economy of the last 40 years, China, which stands out among the rest with its pragmatic and unusual economic policy mix. There are here lessons to be learned for the rich, emerging, and poor economies alike. * Branko Milanovic, Luxembourg Income Study Center and Graduate Center, City University of New York and author of The Haves and the Have- Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality * As the author describes it in the introduction, this is a book about failed economic policies - those of the Eurozone since 2008 and the failure of market reforms to reignite growth in low - and middle-income countries in the last two decades of the twentieth century. But it is also a book about development successes - and thus of alternatives to those failures - notably that of China's state-led insertion into globalization, and Latin America with its several left-wing regimes over the past decade. It is a very important contribution to global debates by one of market (neoliberal) reforms' leading critics. It should be on the shelves of both defenders and critics of market reforms. * Jose Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University and former UN Under-Secretary- General for Economic and Social Affairs * The International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and neoliberal economics may have failed, but Mark Weisbrot has not. His demolition job on the economic policies that have led to misery for millions is comprehensive, long overdue and a resounding success. * Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian * Weisbrot provides a fascinating tour of the destruction wrought by these 'economic experts' preaching financial liberalization, privatization, and austerity: from Spain to Greece and Argentina to Indonesia. As Weisbrot shows, other economists, policy makers, and governments have shown alternative paths to development that avoid these costly ideas. He concludes by arguing that 'the ideas that facilitated that regrettable failure remain influential, but these, too, will become increasingly less relevant in time. If this turns out to be true, it will be partly due to the excellent work that Weisbrot has contributed over many years to show the dismal failures of these ideas and to help develop more just and inclusive economic paths for countries to follow. * Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst * Mark Weisbrot demolishes the illusions of Europe and the IMF - but also shows, by way of contrast, how it was that Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador have brewed success from rebellion against the neoliberal project. * James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth, and Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations at University of Texas-Austin * For those who wish to understand the global economy of the past generation, the shocking failures and impressive successes, this is the book to read. With careful scholarship and lucid analysis, Weisbrot reveals the pernicious effects of the neoliberal assault on the world's population, from wealthy and developed Europe to the global south, and exposes the dominant political-economic doctrines, rooted in a harsh attack on democracy and undermining of social policies that benefit the vast majority. He also shows how rejection of these doctrines has led to impressive achievements. All of this is consistent with actual economic history, if not prevailing illusion. The critique is harsh and incisive, but prospects are bright if the lessons of history and the logic of policy are viewed with care, as in this timely, authoritative, and very valuable study. * Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), MIT *show more

About Mark Weisbrot

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis, and has written numerous research papers on economic issues and policy. His columns, commentary, and op-eds have appeared in almost all major U.S. newspapers, and in many in other countries, and he appears frequently on national and international television and radio programs. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 - Troubles in Euroland: When the Cures Worsen the Disease ; Chapter 2 - This Time Could Be Different: The Aftermath of Financial Crises ; Bibliography ; Chapter 3 - Untold History, Unsolved Mystery: The Long-Term Economic Growth Failure ; Chapter 4 - The Misunderstood Role of the International Monetary Fund ; Chapter 5 - The Latin American Spring ; Chapter 6 - Conclusion: Looking Aheadshow more

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20 ratings
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