Since its intellectual inception in the 1930s and its political emergence in the 1970s, neo-liberalism has sought to disenchant politics by replacing it with economics. This agenda-setting text examines the efforts and failures of economic experts to make government and public life amenable to measurement, and to re-model society and state in terms of competition. In particular, it explores the practical use of economic techniques and conventions by policy-makers, politicians, regulators and judges and how these practices are being adapted to the perceived failings of the neoliberal model. By picking apart the defining contradiction that arises from the conflation of economics and politics, this book asks: to what extent can economics provide government legitimacy? Now with a new preface from the author and a foreword by Aditya Chakrabortty.
Chapter 3: The Liberal Spirit of Economics : Competition, anti-trust and the Chicago critique of law
The Liberal Spirit of Economics : Competition, anti-trust and the Chicago critique of law
[Page 74]Henry Simons is a central figure in the development of the American tradition of neoliberalism, which developed at the University of Chicago between the 1930s and the 1970s. Yet Simons was never highly revered as an economist and he was generally considered a maverick, with personal difficulties which led to his suicide in 1946. His 1934 programmatic text, A Positive Programme for Laissez-Faire, was viewed as far-fetched in its ambitions to recreate a liberal economic order, against the backdrop of the New Deal (Simons, 1937). While the book was greatly admired by Hayek (a close friend), Coase ...