JAMES KWAK is a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and the co-author, with Simon Johnson, of 13 Bankers and White House Burning. He has a Ph.D. in intellectual history from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from the Yale Law School. Before going to law school, he worked in the business world as a management consultant and a software entrepreneur.
"For generations, we've been told that there's a simple framework
that can explain the mysteries of how the economy can create
optimal outcomes for us all. What James Kwak shows us is that this
set of ideas--what he calls 'economism'--is magical thinking; it's
certainly not grounded in science and evidence. In this pithy book
of accessible prose, Kwak begs us to contend with the messiness of
the real world--and the inequality our economic system has
spawned--before it's too late."
--Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
"In this beautiful and accessible book, James Kwak shows us how
a simplistic idea about economics has captured policy-making to the
detriment of sensible policy. No book better frames this pathology
or better supplies the resources for resisting it."
--Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School "For years, I've encountered people with a strong sense that many economic arguments in support of the status quo are not just inequitable, but wrong. With Economism, they've got the proof they've been waiting for, presented in language non-economists can understand."
--Jared Bernstein, senior fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities "The next time some smug friend insists that a higher minimum wage guarantees higher unemployment or that American medical care costs so much because government is so involved, give them the gift of Economism. Better yet, convince them the book will increase their utility, not to mention their knowledge of how markets really work. Kwak has written the myth-buster that our distorted economic debate needs. And he's made it fun--er, welfare-enhancing--to read."
--Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University "In crisp prose, Kwak time and again debunks froshmoric economics platitudes to show why the minimum wage might decrease unemployment, why taxing profits might not reduce investment, and even why (gasp) free socialized medicine might not lead to overconsumption of health care."
--Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor of Law, Yale Law School "Makes an important case that the fetish of 'efficient markets' has distorted American politics. Kwak shows that it is bad economics but potent ideology, and it has distorted debates about labor law, international trade, and financial regulation. This clearly written book is an excellent dissection of some bad ideas that have been allowed to masquerade as common sense for too long."
--Jedediah Purdy, Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law, Duke Law School "Politicians and pundits proclaim with the pomposity that many in Washington take to be gravitas that any tinkering with market forces will have unhappy results. But as Kwak shows, the dogma is often a self-serving pretext for policies that have led to extreme and growing concentration of income and wealth, and requires disregarding observable real-world experience."
--Brad Miller, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the House Committee on Financial Services