Daniel Stedman JonesMasters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics

Princeton University Press, 2012

by Heath Brown on May 20, 2013

Daniel Stedman Jones

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Daniel Stedman Jones is the author of Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton University Press, 2012). The book tells a portion of the intellectual history of neoliberalism through a focus on the period of the 1950s through the 1980s. Stedman Jones tracks the development of a set of ideas by Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and later Milton Friedman, George Stigler, and James Buchanan, first in Europe and then in the United States. This intellectual movement soon becomes a transatlantic political movement, as the leaders of the neoliberal agenda sought to influence policy makers in the UK and US. Policy making in the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly deregulation and other market-based reforms, reflected the success of the “masters of the universe” to move beyond the academy. The book ends with a reflection on the legacy of neoliberalism in current times. Scholars in political science, public policy, history, and economics would all benefit from the story Stedman Jones tells about the relationship between the history of ideas, politics, and policy. The book was short-listed for the Royal Historical Society, Gladstone Prize.

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