Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change In the 20th Century


Available from Cambridge University Press
and wherever fine courses in political economy are taught

About the book:

In this book, which is based in part on my doctoral dissertation, I argue that economic ideas are powerful political tools as used by domestic groups in order to effect change since whoever defines what the economy is, what is wrong with it, and what would improve it, has a profound political resource in their possession. Analyzing the deep-seated institutional change that characterized the twentieth century, I argue that in the 1930s labor reacted against the exigencies of the market and demanded state action to mitigate the market’s effects by “embedding liberalism” and in the 1970s, those who benefited least from such “embedding” institutions, namely business, reacted against these constraints and sought to overturn that institutional order. With this book, I hope to demonstrate the critical role economic ideas played in making institutional change possible and get you to rethink the relationship between uncertainty, ideas, and interests on how, and under what conditions, institutional change takes place.