The Myth of the Free Market: The Role of the State in a Capitalist Economy

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Free market purists claim that the state is an inefficient institution that does little for society beyond providing stability and protection. The activities related to distributing resources and economic growth, they say, are better left to the "invisible hand" of the marketplace. These notions now seem tragically misguided in the wake of the 2008 market collapse and subsequent bailouts. Mark Martinez describes how the flawed myth of the "invisible hand" distorted our understanding of how modern capitalist markets developed and actually work.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Myth of the Free Market is strongly recommended for both academics and non-academics with interest in economic policy…. [R]eferences to the recent global economic crisis are timely, prompting the reader’s active engagement with the material.”

"Is a completely free market truly the best way to do things? The Myth of the Free Market: The Role of the State in a Capitalist Economy is a scholarly economic guide exploring how the concept of the free market is flawed, as evidenced by the emergence of the current economic crisis and the slew of bailouts have come with it. Taking examples from history, The Myth of Free Market explains the issue and shows why the free market is best enhanced with principles from other systems."

“In this thoughtful and erudite book, Mark Martinez forces us to re-examine the myth of the 'natural' free market order. Using very intelligently a wide range of fascinating historical and contemporary examples, he takes us through many important economic, political, and philosophical reflections about the true nature of the market system and its important but limited role in the construction of a civilized society.”

"A fast-moving primer bursting with relevant examples, The Myth of the Free Market is—-to put it mildly—-eye-opening. Mark Martinez's insight could not have arrived at a more important time. Compelling from cover to cover."

"In the midst of one of America's deepest economic recessions, Martinez offers, a timely, insightful, and controversial work reexamining the centuries-old conundrum of the proper balance between free market capitalism and role of government in our market economy... Provides valuable food for thought as the public confronts requests for public assistance from once private, profit-making industries and their potential future consequences."

“A thoughtful, timely, and fascinating read for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the development of states and markets. Martinez's book provides a rich array of cases and a compelling argument for the central role of the state, and politics, in the development of markets—something to ponder in our current economic crisis.”

"Explains the role of political processes in creating and supporting capitalist markets."

"An artfully assembled series of essays on political history, economic philosophy, and social behavioral responses to US and world events in modern times. Martinez presents all this in a clear and readable style suitable for those of varied interests, from academics in the social sciences to government officials and ordinary citizens interested in explanations of market trends and economic events that are affecting the US and the world economies today. Timely and well researched, this work should be recommended reading for any candidate for elected office in the US."

“Martinez provides a much-needed and welcome antidote to the free market mania that has dominated policy-making circles over the last thirty years. He embeds his prescient analysis of so-called free markets and Milton Friedman’s analytics in the structure of American political thought, institutions, and rules. Government’s powerful protection of markets is discussed in broad historical terms, specific case studies, and thought-provoking analysis that connects perfectly with the current realities of our troubled economy and financial markets.”

“Ronald Reagan told us that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”. This statement helped convince an entire generation that government does little more than hinder economic growth and the well-being of society. Professor Martinez – via lucid writing and a wealth of historical evidence – clearly demonstrates that relying on private market players alone to protect the integrity of markets will not produce the outcomes society desires. Recent events confirm this hypothesis. Read this book and see why Ronald Reagan was wrong and how government not only organizes markets but can indeed be a solution to our problems."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565492677
  • Publisher: Kumarian Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,070,336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark A. Martinez is Department Chair and Professor of Political Science at California State University, Bakersfield. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Chico and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Martinez has taught and lived in Mexico, is a current Research Associate at the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, and has published articles and book chapters on political and economic development. Dr. Martinez hosts and produces his own radio program in Bakersfield, The Mark Martinez Show: Talk Radio for Liberals and Real Conservatives.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction: Understanding Markets and States xi

Part I Things to (Re)consider

Chapter 1 Milton Friedman Got It Wrong: Politics is at the Heart of Capitalism 3

Chapter 2 Free Markets and Wealth (Re)Considered 25

Part II The Role of the State in Creating Market Capitalism

Chapter 3 The Very Political Roots of Market Capitalism: Embracing Individual Achievement and Vanity 53

Chapter 4 Manias and the Philosopher's Stone: The Road to Wealth and Regulated Money 77

Part III Making Markets Work in Practice: The State in Action

Chapter 5 War Made the State and the State Made War 95

Chapter 6 How Medieval Organized Violence Led to Mercantilism, Middle-Class Bargains, and Market Capitalism 115

Chapter 7 Toward "Freer" International Trade 141

Chapter 8 America's Post-World War II Grand Liberal Strategy 163

Part IV States and Modern Markets: From Political Money to Wall Street Socialism

Chapter 9 From Keynes to Deregulation and Exploding Capital Flows 181

Chapter 10 An Empire of Debt: Violating Adam Smith's Laws of Nature? 205

Chapter 11 The Deregulation Game 241

Chapter 12 From Deregulation to the Mother of All Bailouts 267

Bibliography 291

Index 303

About the Author 319

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Customer Reviews

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