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The Imagined Market

Donald MacKenzie: Money Games

31 October 2002
Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science 
by Philip Mirowski.
Cambridge, 670 pp., £24.95, February 2002, 0 521 77526 4
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... crippled industry. Economics is a world-shaping, not just a world-describing, endeavour. The discipline thus matters not just to economists but to the rest of us, whose world is being shaped. PhilipMirowski is the most stimulating, provocative present-day historian of economics. His book’s abrasive account of the processes forging economic orthodoxy over the past sixty years will annoy his orthodox ...

Profits Now, Costs Later

David Woodruff: Mariana Mazzucato

22 November 2018
The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy 
by Mariana Mazzucato.
Allen Lane, 384 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 241 18881 1
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... peer Peter Hain as a ‘powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’, Philip Green gave a self-congratulatory interview to the Guardian. Swaggering through his high-street stores, journalist in tow, he showed off his knowledge of the stock, his attention to product display ...

The Blindfolded Archer

Donald MacKenzie: The stochastic dynamics of market prices

4 August 2005
The (Mis)behaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward 
by Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson.
Profile, 328 pp., £9.99, September 2005, 1 86197 790 5
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... in 1989 by a mathematician, Steven Krantz, who condemned its heavy use of ‘computer output’ and ‘pictures’ rather than conventional theorems and proofs. As the historians of economics PhilipMirowski and Esther-Mirjam Sent have shown, however, it’s Mandelbrot’s relations to economics that are of greatest interest. Particularly fascinating is the way in which he was first embraced and then ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite

22 October 2014
The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... is consistent. The state is a bad thing, and gets in the way of entrepreneurial flair. Free markets are responsible for growth and progress. Businesspeople are the real wealth creators.’ This, as PhilipMirowski and Richard Seymour among others have recently argued, was a ‘contradiction’ that didn’t trouble Hayek and his colleagues one iota: it was always part of the totality of their theory ...

One Click at a Time

Owen Hatherley

29 June 2016
PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future 
by Paul Mason.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £8.99, June 2016, 978 0 14 197529 0
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Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work 
by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.
Verso, 256 pp., £12.99, October 2015, 978 1 78478 096 8
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... as Sweden will have the levels of inequality currently seen in the USA.’ In thinking about how we got here, Srnicek and Williams – like so many recent writers, from Owen Jones to Mark Fisher to PhilipMirowski – lay great stress on the think-tanks (the Mont Pelerin Society and the like) that had their solutions ready when Keynesianism faltered in the mid-1970s. The ‘folk politics’ of Climate ...

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