Condemning the post-industrial economy to protracted periods of economic failure, this thought-provoking book documents how the integrity of economics as a discipline was deliberately compromised in the United States towards the end of the 19th century. Several chairs of economics were funded at leading universities to rebrand economics to justify unearned income. The tools for this strategy became neo-classical economics, and, unlike classical economists like Adam Smith who described wealth as the product of three factors—land, labor, and capital—the new theorists reduced these to two: labor and capital, thus treating land as capital. This concealed the benefits enjoyed by those in receipt of the rent from land. The effect, the authors reveal, was to deprive professional economists of the ability to diagnose problems, forecast important trends, and prescribe solutions.
About the Author
Mason Gaffney is a professor of economics at the University of California and the author of Coordinating Tax Incentives and Public Policy.Fred Harrison is executive director of the Land Research Trust in London and the author of Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010 and Wheels of Fortune: Self-Funding Infrastructure and the Free Market Case for a Land Tax.
"The contributors are critical of the role of land in neoclassical economics and . . . are in tune with the increasing realisation by economists of the importance of the property market to the macro economy." —British Review of Economic Issues
"A powerful indictment of prevalent economic thinking" —Peace Review