Introduction

Here is the introduction to the book as of 12.16.2023

Introduction

Here are the basic themes you will encounter in this book.

The book opens with a discussion of why orthodox (neoclassical economics), the ideas in your Econ 101 course, constantly parroted in government, politics, and media, is not helpful in understanding the actual workings of capitalism. Our approach is to integrate facts and concepts from a number of fields.  Then, how should we define capitalism?

Broadly, we will look at how the rich and corporations captured control of government to implement a policy system that is most frequently referred to as Neoliberalism. This is a set of ideas about free markets, de-regulation, anti-union policies, and a shift in corporate behavior. That is a shift from a focus on products and services, production, to the extraction of money in the shortest possible time, financialization. The ironic twist about Neoliberalism is that it calls for small government, minimally involved in the economy and society, while utilizing the power of government to set the rules by which the economy works to maximize the results for the rich and corporations.

We will also examine other structural elements of the economy like the growth of the financial sector, monopolization (concentration of ownership and markets), external costs like pollution, and others.

Finally, we examine life for the bottom 90% of the population under Neoliberal capitalism. Chronic insecurities, precarities, have always been a feature of capitalism from the very beginning. However, Neoliberal capitalism has intensified and broadened these precarities.