Freedom from the Market

America’s Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand

The progressive economics writer redefines the national conversation about American freedom

“Mike Konczal [is] one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform, [a] heroic critic of austerity, and a huge resource for progressives.” —Paul Krugman

Health insurance, student loan debt, retirement savings, child care, work-life balance, access to home ownership—these are the issues driving America’s current political debates. And they are all linked, as this brilliant and timely book reveals, by a single question: should we allow the free market to determine our lives?

In the tradition of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, noted economic commentator Mike Konczal answers this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history to reveal that, from the earliest days of the republic, Americans have defined freedom as what we keep free from the control of the market. With chapters on the history of Homestead Act and land ownership, the eight-hour work day and free time, social insurance and Social Security, World War II day cares, Medicare and desegregation, free public colleges, intellectual property, and the public corporation, Konczal shows how citizens have fought to ensure that everyone has access to the conditions that make us free.

At a time when millions of Americans—and more and more politicians—are questioning the unregulated free market as un-American, Freedom from the Market offers a new narrative, and new intellectual ammunition, for the fight that lies ahead.


“With carefully selected examples and lucid prose, Konczal makes a convincing case that the American project has long depended on rigorous regulation of capitalism. Progressive voters and policy makers will find plenty of ammunition for their arguments in this cogent history.”
Publishers Weekly
“An economic manifesto on behalf of the 99% poorly served by the present economy.”
Kirkus Reviews

News and Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Read a review of Freedom from the Market in Publishers Weekly.