On Sale January 12, 2021
Health insurance, student loan debt, retirement security, child care, work-life balance, access to home ownership—these are the issues driving America’s current political debates. And they are all linked, as this brilliant and timely book reveals, by a single question: should we allow the free market to determine our lives?
In the tradition of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, noted economic commentator Mike Konczal answers this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history to reveal that, from the earliest days of the republic, Americans have defined freedom as what we keep free from the control of the market. With chapters on the history of Homestead Act and land ownership, the eight-hour work day and free time, social insurance and Social Security, World War II day cares, Medicare and desegregation, free public colleges, intellectual property, and the public corporation, Konczal shows how citizens have fought to ensure that everyone has access to the conditions that make us free.
At a time when millions of Americans—and more and more politicians—are questioning the unregulated free market, Freedom from the Market offers a new narrative, and new intellectual ammunition, for the fight that lies ahead.
"Markets will set us free - except when they won’t, don’t, and can’t. In this deeply researched yet eminently readable book, Mike Konczal tells the powerful story of how American democracy once tamed markets to advance our freedom, and shows us how it could do so once again.”
- JACOB HACKER, author of Winner-Take-All Politics and American Amnesia
“Konczal’s analysis brilliantly dismantles the false illusions of market freedom in every sector, including finance, health care, and labor. This book explains how Americans have been hoodwinked into a coercive economy even as we were promised the opposite.”
- MEHRSA BARADARAN, author of The Color of Money and How the Other Half Banks
“Mike Konczal is that rare economics commentator who thinks the economy should serve people, not the other way around. Freedom From the Market reclaims from the dustbin of history the Americans who dreamed of a vastly different kind of freedom than the one we’re now taught to revere.”
- SARAH JAFFE, author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt and Work Won’t Love You Back
"Mike Konczal's powerful historical study links political struggles over land, time, care, and education around the idea of freedom, reclaiming this familiar watchword and asking readers to think anew about its real meaning."
- KIMBERLY PHILLIPS-FEIN, author of Fear City and Invisible Hands
"With carefully selected examples and lucid prose, Konczal makes a convincing case that the American project has long depended on rigorous regulation of capitalism. Progressive voters and policy makers will find plenty of ammunition for their arguments in this cogent history."
"An economic manifesto on behalf of the 99% poorly served by the present economy."
"Providing solid cases where government regulations helped to give Americans a better life, this will appeal to progressives looking for a history of their movement."