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Book Title: Illusion of Free Markets|
The author of the book: Bernard E. Harcourt
ISBN 13: 9780674057265
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.21 MB
Edition: Harvard University Press
Date of issue: December 21st 2010
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Reader ratings: 4.4
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It is widely believed today that the free market is the best mechanism ever invented to efficiently allocate resources in society. Just as fundamental as faith in the free market is the belief that government has a legitimate and competent role in policing and the punishment arena. This curious incendiary combination of free market efficiency and the Big Brother state has become seemingly obvious, but it hinges on the illusion of a supposedly natural order in the economic realm. The Illusion of Free Markets argues that our faith in “free markets” has severely distorted American politics and punishment practices.
Bernard Harcourt traces the birth of the idea of natural order to eighteenth-century economic thought and reveals its gradual evolution through the Chicago School of economics and ultimately into today’s myth of the free market. The modern category of “liberty” emerged in reaction to an earlier, integrated vision of punishment and public economy, known in the eighteenth century as “police.” This development shaped the dominant belief today that competitive markets are inherently efficient and should be sharply demarcated from a government-run penal sphere.
This modern vision rests on a simple but devastating illusion. Superimposing the political categories of “freedom” or “discipline” on forms of market organization has the unfortunate effect of obscuring rather than enlightening. It obscures by making both the free market and the prison system seem natural and necessary. In the process, it facilitated the birth of the penitentiary system in the nineteenth century and its ultimate culmination into mass incarceration today.
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Read information about the authorBernard Harcourt is the Julius Kreeger Professor of Law & Criminology and Chair and Professor of Political Science at The University of Chicago.
Professor Harcourt's scholarship intersects social and political theory, the sociology of punishment, criminal law and procedure, and criminology. He is the author of Against Prediction: Punishing and Policing in an Actuarial Age (University of Chicago Press 2007), Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy (University of Chicago Press 2005), and Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken-Windows Policing (Harvard University Press 2001). Harcourt is also the coauthor of Criminal Law and the Regulation of Vice (Thompson West 2007), the editor of Guns, Crime, and Punishment in America (New York University Press 2003), and the founder and editor of the journal Carceral Notebooks.
Professor Harcourt earned his bachelor's degree in political theory at Princeton University, his law degree at Harvard Law School, and his PhD in political science at Harvard University. After law school, Professor Harcourt clerked for the Hon. Charles S. Haight Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and then worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, representing death row inmates. Professor Harcourt continues to represent death row inmates pro bono, and has also served on human rights missions in South Africa and Guatemala.
Professor Harcourt has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, New York University, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Université Paris X–Nanterre, and Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, and was previously on the faculty at the University of Arizona.
AB ,1984, Princeton University; JD, 1989, and PhD, 2000, Harvard University
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