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 blends passionate political argument and a bold new take on American history, answering this question with a resounding no. Freedom from the Market reveals 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 land ownership, work and free time, retirement and social security, public utilities, child care, education, intellectual property, and the public domain, 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.