Free Market: The History of an Idea

Free Market: The History of an Idea

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From a MacArthur “Genius,” an intellectual history of the free market, from ancient Rome to the twenty-first century


After two government bailouts of the US economy in less than twenty years, free market ideology is due for serious reappraisal. In Free Market, Jacob Soll details how we got to this current crisis, and how we can find our way out by looking to earlier iterations of free market thought. Contrary to popular narratives, early market theorists believed that states had an important role in building and maintaining free markets. But in the eighteenth century, thinkers insisted on free markets without state intervention, leading to a tradition of ideological brittleness. That tradition only calcified in the centuries that followed.


Tracing the intellectual evolution of the free market from Cicero to Milton Friedman, Soll argues that we need to go back to the origins of free market ideology in order to truly understand it—and to develop new economic concepts to face today’s challenges.


“If, as Keynes asserted, ideas are in the end, what is most important, intellectual history captures the driving forces behind social change. There is much to be learned relevant to current policy debates from Jacob Soll’s engaging history of the free market idea. Whether you think you love or hate free markets, you will learn much from this important book.”—Lawrence H. Summers

“In this essential book, Jacob Soll gives us a lucid, frequently surprising, and altogether enthralling account of the history of free market thought. Deeply learned and engagingly written, the book has important implications for how we should think about free markets today. In every sense, it is a revelation.”—David A. Bell, Princeton University


Details

Author: Jacob Soll
Narrator: Craig Van Ness
Publisher: OrangeSky Audio
Run time: 9 hours 9 minutes
Release Date: 11/15/2022