Masters of the Universe

Masters of the Universe : Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics - Updated Edition

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Based on archival research and interviews with leading participants in the movement, Masters of the Universe traces the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since. Daniel Stedman Jones argues that there was nothing inevitable about the victory of free-market politics. Far from being the story of the simple triumph of right-wing ideas, the neoliberal breakthrough was contingent on the economic crises of the 1970s and the acceptance of the need for new policies by the political left. This edition includes a new foreword in which the author addresses the relationship between intellectual history and the history of politics and policy. Fascinating, important, and timely, this is a book for anyone who wants to understand the history behind the Anglo-American love affair with the free market, as well as the origins of the current economic crisis.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 440 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 26.42mm | 595g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised edition
  • 1 table.
  • 0691161011
  • 9780691161013
  • 240,123

Back cover copy

"Daniel Stedman Jones has an unusual talent--making the history of economic thought fascinating and significant. In tracing the evolution of neoliberal ideas and their implementation in public policy in Britain and the United States, he does a superb job of helping us understand both the last half-century of Atlantic history and the origins of the current crisis. No book could be more timely."--Eric Foner, Columbia University

"Daniel Stedman Jones captures brilliantly the interaction between ideas and events in this compelling history of the rise of Thatcherism and Reaganism. He displays a willingness, unusual in a historian, to treat economic ideas seriously, and not just as weapons in a political struggle. In the light of the economic collapse of 2007-2008, the intellectual debates of the 1970s and 1980s, brought so vividly to life here, are as fresh as they were at the time."--Robert Skidelsky, author of Keynes: Return of the Master

"Daniel Stedman Jones shows how neoliberalism gained ascendancy in both the United States and the United Kingdom. This timely book is a model of calmness, lucidity, and reasoned argument, intent on understanding neoliberalism rather than celebrating or condemning it out of hand."--Sean Wilentz, author of "The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008"
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Table of contents

Preface to the paperback edition ix Acknowledgments xiii Timeline xv List of Abbreviations xvii Introduction 1 The Three Phases of Neoliberalism 6 Neoliberalism and History 10 Transatlantic Neoliberal Politics 15 1.The Postwar Settlement 21 2.The 1940s: The Emergence of the Neoliberal Critique 30 Karl Popper and "The Open Society" 37 Ludwig von Mises and "Bureaucracy" 49 Friedrich Hayek and "The Road to Serfdom" 57 The Mont Pelerin Society and "The Intellectuals and Socialism" 73 3.The Rising Tide: Neoliberal Ideas in the Postwar Period 85 The Two Chicago Schools: Henry Simons, Milton Friedman, and Neoliberalism 89 The Enlightenment, Adam Smith and Neoliberalism 100 Economic and Political Freedom: Milton Friedman and Cold War Neoliberalism 111 The German Economic Miracle: Neoliberalism and the Soziale Marktwirtschaft 121 Regulatory Capture, Public Choice, and Rational Choice Theory 126 4.A Transatlantic Network: Think Tanks and the Ideological Entrepreneurs 134 The United States in the 1950s: Fusionism and the Cold War 138 British Conservatism in the 1950s 147 Neoliberal Organization in the 1950s and 1960s 152 The Second Wave: Free Market Think Tanks in the 1970s 161 Neoliberal Journalists and Politicians 173 Breakthrough? 178 5.Keynesianism and the Emergence of Monetarism, 1945-71 180 Keynes and Keynesianism 182 "A Little Local Difficulty": Enoch Powell's Monetarism 190 American Economic Policy in the 1960s 197 Milton Friedman's Monetarism 201 The Gathering Storm 212 6.Economic Strategy: The Neoliberal Breakthrough, 1971-84 215 The Slow Collapse of the Postwar Boom, 1964-71 217 Stagflation and Wage and Price Policies 225 The Heath Interregnum and the Neoliberal Alternative 230 The Left Turns to Monetarism, 1: Callaghan, Healey, and the IMF Crisis 241 The Left Turns to Monetarism, 2: Jimmy Carter and Paul Volcker's Federal Reserve 247 Thatcherite Economic Strategy 254 Reaganomics 263 Conclusion 269 7.Neoliberalism Applied? The Transformation of Affordable Housing and Urban Policy in the United States and Britain, 1945-2000 273 Postwar Low-Income Housing and Urban Policy in the United States 278 Postwar Low-Income Housing and Urban Policy in Britain 288 Jimmy Carter and the Limits of Government 295 Property-Owning Democracy and Individual Freedom: Housing and Neoliberal Ideas 297 The Reagan Administration 304 Council House Privatization: The Right to Buy Scheme 308 Transatlantic Transmissions: Reagan's Enterprise Zones 315 Hope VI, Urban Regeneration, and the Third Way 321 Conclusion 325 Conclusion The Legacy of Transatlantic Neoliberalism: Faith-Based Policy 329 Parallelisms: The Place of Transatlantic Neoliberal Politics in History 333 The Apotheosis of Neoliberalism? 338 Reason-Based Policymaking 343 Notes 347 Index 391
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Review Text

"Mr. Stedman Jones offers a novel and comprehensive history of neoliberalism. It is tarred neither by a reverence for the heroes, nor by caricature, for he is a fair and nuanced writer. This is a bold biography of a great idea."--Economist
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Review quote

Finalist for the 2014 Presidents' Book Award, Western Social Science Association Shortlisted for the 2012 Gladstone Prize, Royal Historical Society "[I]ntelligent."--Kenneth Minogue, Wall Street Journal "In impressive fashion, Jones analyzes the impact of free market economics and deregulation on political leaders in Washington, D.C., and London since the 1970s... [A]nyone intrigued by the intersection of economic theory and political affairs will appreciate this learned, detailed book."--Publishers Weekly "Mr. Stedman Jones offers a novel and comprehensive history of neoliberalism. It is tarred neither by a reverence for the heroes, nor by caricature, for he is a fair and nuanced writer. This is a bold biography of a great idea."--Economist "Clearly written and relevant to a wide audience."--Daniel Ben-Ami, Financial Times Wealth "Jones gives us the best kind of intellectual history, showing the interplay of ideas, ideology and nascent political movements. The book should be lauded for illustrating that the history of ideas is not straightforward, and a big idea can be bent towards something that its originators might not have imagined."--Joel Campbell, International Affairs "A cerebral, pertinent exegesis on the thinking behind the rise of the New Right... [A] valuable study that helps flesh out the caricature of conservatives as only believing 'greed is good.'"--Kirkus Reviews "[A] good read... The deep history of neo-liberal thought is fascinating."--Andrew Hilton, Financial World "[I]mportant... [A] beguilingly erudite old-fashioned read."--Stephen Matchett, Australian "Stedman Jones ... describes the scene with remarkable accuracy, including its financial underpinning and its ties with conservatism."--Karen Horn, Standpoint "[A] lucid, richly detailed examination of the evolution of the free market ideology since the end of World War II."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Masters of the Universe is a firm brief for the independent, causal power of ideas to shape history... [It] does much to help explain the aftermath of 2008 and the ways in which political responses that might have defined another era seem unthinkable in ours."--Jennifer Burns, American Prospect "His lengthy exposition of the views shared by these outstanding economists might encourage many to pay attention to their works."--Alejandro Chafuen, Forbes "This is a timely history of the Anglo-American love affair with the market and the origins of the current economic crisis."--Keith Richmond, Tribune (U.K.) "[T]his is an insightful, substantive historical account of the Anglo-American political economy underpinning the conservative economic agendas of the Thatcher and Reagan administrations."--Choice "Fascinating, important, and timely, this is a book for anyone who wants to understand the history behind the Anglo-American love affair with the free market, as well as the origins of the current economic crisis."--World Book Industry "The book as a whole ... offers a balanced, well-structured and highly readable account of neo-liberalism's history which will serve both students and scholars as an introduction to this controversial line of economic thought."--Claudia Franziska Bruhwiler, Political Studies Review "This is a very important book... [T]he book is essential reading, both to know the history of neo-liberalism and to understand how it impacted on both Labour and Democrat administrations as well as those of the Reaganite and Thatcherite right."--Duncan Bowie, Chartist "Jones provides a balanced and even-handed account of the ideas and events. He does not shy away from contemporary critiques by leading economists and opponents of Neoliberal ideas."--Braham Dabscheck, Labour History "Jones brilliantly succeeds, thanks to his obvious mastery of the main neoliberal texts, his very astute use of historical archives (like the Hayek or Friedman Papers), and the many interviews he conducted with key neoliberal players in Europe and America."--Francoise Coste, Cercles "Masters of the Universe is an excellent and important book. It is very clearly structured, accessible, well-written, and rigorously argued. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the rise and spread of neoliberal ideas... [I]t will be a great source for both non-specialists interested in neoliberalism and scholars working on neoliberalism."--Lars Cornelissen, Plurilogue "[A] terrific book."--Enlightened Economist "Masters of the Universe does a masterful job telling one of the most important intellectual and policymaking stories of the twentieth century."--John L. Campbell, Historian "Jones provides a readable and laudable account of the history of neoliberalism and its political ascendancy. Besides containing the potential for a good documentary... His book also showcases heretofore unacknowledged archival material and scholarly synthesis. I recommend this book to not only historians of economics, but all policy historians and political theorists who are interested in the postwar history of the New Right."--Robert Van Horn, History of Economic Ideas
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About Daniel Stedman Jones

Daniel Stedman Jones is a barrister in London. He was educated at the University of Oxford and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a PhD in history. He has worked as a policy adviser for the New Opportunities Fund and as a researcher for Demos.
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Rating details

126 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 28% (35)
4 31% (39)
3 33% (42)
2 7% (9)
1 1% (1)
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