‘a fascinating look at the foibles of unfettered capitalism.’Brisbane News
The basic concept behind free-market economics is simple and seductive: the government should not attempt to pick winners by granting assistance to specific industries, and it should only intervene in the marketplace when there has been a substantial market failure. The only trouble with this theory — as the global economic disaster has shown — is that it is based on ideology, not evidence, and it can’t withstand contact with reality.
For decades, Australia has been an enthusiastic adopter of the free-market approach. The consequences — such as mass privatisations, tariff reforms, and flexible wages and conditions — have been lauded by the booming financial sector and the political class. Unnoticed in the hubbub, though, has been the annihilation of the manufacturing sector — which has resulted in 20 years of monthly current-account deficits and a foreign debt approaching $650 billion — and an economy dominated by footloose capital and tax-averse multinationals.
Despite propaganda to the contrary, employment in Australia is now increasingly characterised by low-paid and insecure jobs in service, logistics, and retail industries.
The Failure of Free-Market Economics explains how the triumph of a fundamentally flawed economic orthodoxy has weakened the Australian economy and now threatens our future. It also offers a range of practical reforms that the author argues are essential and urgent. This is a unique perspective from a highly qualified expert who started his career inside the free-market establishment and has ended up as a ‘true unbeliever’ in its ideas.
‘Feil and Spooner are angry men, and rightly so. They have seen through the shibboleths of freemarket economics and the self-serving hypocrites who defend and promote it. This book is essential reading for everyone who cares about the future of Australia.’Age
‘There is something deliciously subversive about the prospect of reading a book by an insider who has become an apostate. The thrill factor is accentuated when the ideas traversed in the book are of national importance … Written in a lucid style that explains concepts cogently, Feil documents the damage inflicted in recent decades on the national fabric by an economic and social philosophy based on unfettered market forces … Many will find his critique of the present state of affairs unpalatable and eschew the panacea he offers. But none will doubt the importance of this book and boldness of his vision … The ideas discussed in this book are central to an understanding of Australian politics, and their importance will intensify in the years to come.’Frank Carrigan, Weekend Australian