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The Conservative Nanny State

How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer

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Author: Dean Baker
Published: 2006
Language: English
Wordcount: 51,779 / 160 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 53.4
LoC Categories: HB, JC
Downloads: 3,055
Added to site: 2009.10.21 25610
License: by-nc

In his new book, economist Dean Baker debunks the myth that conservatives favor the market over government intervention. In fact, conservatives rely on a range of “nanny state” policies that ensure the rich get richer while leaving most Americans worse off. It’s time for the rules to change. Sound economic policy should harness the market in ways that produce desirable social outcomes – decent wages, good jobs and affordable health care.

Show Excerpt

are illegal. This means that one group of workers can't stage a strike in support of a second group of workers (e.g. truck drivers can't refuse to deliver food to a restaurant where the workers are on strike). In the case of a secondary strike, the conservative nanny state will fine or even imprison workers for being too aggressive in pushing for higher wages. Apparently, employers are too weak to be able to bargain with workers without help from the government.

Of course, this is all supposed to happen behind the scenes, no one is supposed to notice these forms of government intervention. The conservatives want the public to believe that the differences in pay between doctors and dishwashers result from nothing other than the natural workings of the market.

Chapter 2

-- The Workers Are Getting Uppity, Call In the Fed!

The second chapter focuses on the Federal Reserve Board, a tremendously important, but little understood governme

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 2.3 from 4 reviews: ***

I can only agree with the poster before me. Please do read Hayek (only do so in addition to the book by Baker). And if you do, maybe you should prefer \\\\\\\"The Constitution of Liberty\\\\\\\". Hayek is so illuminating because he probably was the last of the Neoliberals who described in open words, that \\\\\\\"free\\\\\\\" markets not only always work for the benefit of the rich, but are also intended to do so by there advocates. Of course Hayek wouldn\\\\\\\'t have dreamed about his followers, who in America prefer to refer to themselves as Conservatives instead of Neoliberals, to depend upon the hated state so much to actually achieve their \\\\\\\"free\\\\\\\" market ideology.
About the book in question (since this is a review after all): Read it, though it is not free of economic misconceptions, it definitely puts the finger into the right place – and that is, incidentally, where it hurts.


Well, it's certainly true that conservatives, or at least, conservatives in office, talk big on the free market but still act to use the power of government intervention.

But the real problem with this book is Baker's mistaken idea that political policies of any kind can "harness the market" in ways that are better than what an unfettered market itself can provide. "Hands off" is the best government policy towards the market, not the excessive intervention that we have now.


The author confuses conservatism for fascism (in an economic sense) a pretty big mistake for an economist. Because one labels oneself a conservative does not mean they follow conservative ideology. The book has no serious discussion of economic policy or economics in general. Some fundamental economic errors like confusing price and value, wealth and income, etc. Sloppy book to be generous.


Neo-socialist drivel.

Read Hayek's 'The Road to Serfdom' instead.



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