The Econocracy: The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts


by Joe Earle, Cahal Moral & Zach Ward-Perkins

One hundred years ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist. Now, improving the economy has come to be seen as perhaps the most important task facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are conducted in the language of economics and economic logic shapes how political issues are thought about and addressed. The result is that the majority of citizens, who cannot speak this language, are locked out of politics while political decisions are increasingly devolved to experts. The Econocracy explains how economics came to be seen this way – and the damaging consequences. It opens up the discipline and demonstrates its inner workings to the wider public so that the task of reclaiming democracy can begin.

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“Economics has become the organising principle, the reigning ideology, and even the new religion of our time. And this body of knowledge is controlled by a selective priesthood trained in a very particular type of economics – that is, Neoclassical economics. In this penetrating analysis, based on very sophisticated theoretical reflections and highly original empirical work, the authors show how the rule by this priesthood and its disciples is strangling our economies and societies and how we can change this situation. It is a damning indictment for the economics profession that it has taken young people barely out of university to provide this analysis. Utterly compelling and sobering.” —Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in Political Economy of Development at the University of Cambridge and Author of Economics: The User’s Guide