THE GOLDEN CALF by Howard Brody


Economism and American Policy
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Another book sets out to explain some of the mechanisms behind the current financial situation—but with an interesting twist all its own.

Going from the roots of the Evangelical movement through Puritanism in America and up to the current state of economic thought, Brody presents an engaging read about how much of what is being passed off as economics today, rather than being actual economics, is what he calls (following Des Gasper) “economism.” A subject distinct from economics, economism is about economics as a disguised religion. From the Irish Potato Famine through today's public policies, our current economic situation, the role economism played in the 2008 recession and even a detour through Intelligent Design (used primarily as an analogy for economism), Brody paints a picture of economism as a religious cult disguised as economics. Which is, after all, his goal for the book—to show economism as a “category mistake,” or a mistake of using one logical category where a different category should be used. Various themes are brought up and woven throughout: religion, poverty, layoffs and health care, to name a few. Notable among the recurring themes is Brody's issue with supply-side economics, particularly Milton Friedman and the “Chicago Boys.” And though he is not himself an economist, his writing reveals an understanding of the principles behind economics and public policies, using analogies throughout to give substance to his thoughts. Almost every chapter starts with some sort of anecdote that highlights a mistake that has been made by economists or politicians and ends with a plethora of notes and sources.


An intriguing, somewhat philosophically tinged attack aimed at showing a certain ideological view of economics as “religious faith, dressed up as if it were science.”

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1463762759
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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