The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: How Market Tyranny Stifles the Economy by Stunting Workers

The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: How Market Tyranny Stifles the Economy by Stunting Workers

by Michael Perelman
     
 

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Mainstream, or more formally, neoclassical, economics claims to be a science. But as Michael Perelman makes clear in his latest book, nothing could be further from the truth. While a science must be rooted in material reality, mainstream economics ignores or distorts the most fundamental aspect of this reality: that the vast majority of people must, out of

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Overview

Mainstream, or more formally, neoclassical, economics claims to be a science. But as Michael Perelman makes clear in his latest book, nothing could be further from the truth. While a science must be rooted in material reality, mainstream economics ignores or distorts the most fundamental aspect of this reality: that the vast majority of people must, out of necessity, labor on behalf of others, transformed into nothing but a means to the end of maximum profits for their employers. The nature of the work we do and the conditions under which we do it profoundly shape our lives. And yet, both of these factors are peripheral to mainstream economics.

By sweeping labor under the rug, mainstream economists hide the nature of capitalism, making it appear to be a system based upon equal exchange rather than exploitation inside every workplace. Perelman describes this illusion as the “invisible handcuffs” of capitalism and traces its roots back to Adam Smith and his contemporaries and their disdain for working people. He argues that far from being a basically fair system of exchanges regulated by the “invisible hand” of the market, capitalism handcuffs working men and women (and children too) through the very labor process itself. Neoclassical economics attempts to rationalize these handcuffs and tells workers that they are responsible for their own conditions. What we need to do instead, Perelman suggests, is eliminate the handcuffs through collective actions and build a society that we direct ourselves.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book leads to a good understanding of why markets fail, and how, knowing that, economists continue to teach the lie that the best of all possible worlds will flow from letting the market decide everything.”
-Eugene Coyle,Economics Consultant

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583672631
Publisher:
Monthly Review Press
Publication date:
01/27/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
280
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“The book leads to a good understanding of why markets fail, and how, knowing that, economists continue to teach the lie that the best of all possible worlds will flow from letting the market decide everything.”
-Eugene Coyle,Economics Consultant

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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