Railroading Economics: The Creation of the Free Market Mythology

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Overview

Most economic theory assumes a pure capitalism of perfect competition. This book is a penetrating critique of the rhetoric and practice of conventional economic theory. It explores how even in the United States—the most capitalist of countries—the market has always been subject to numerous constraints.

Perelman examines the way in which these constraints have been defended by such figures as Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, and Herbert Hoover, and were indeed essential to the expansion of U.S. capitalism. In the process, he rediscovers the critical element in conservative thought—the “forgotten traditions of railroad economics”—that has been lost in the neoliberal present. This important and original historical reconstruction points the way to a discipline of economics freed from the mythology of the market.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583671368
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Perelman is professor of economics at California State University at Chico, and the author of numerous books, including Steal This Idea and Railroading Economics.

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Table of Contents

1 The end of economics 21
2 Economic theory and the historical increase of fixed capital 51
3 Railroads and the increase in fixed capital 65
4 The role of finance 105
5 Industry takes command : the rise of welfare capitalism 129
6 Modern finance capital 149
7 The Great Depression 157
8 The golden age 175
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