Many of the Very short introduction series books are brilliant, and a few are condescending, this is certainly more the latter than the former. Considering these little books are published by Oxford University Press and usually by a Professor in an English University you would expect the book to be scholarly written and packed full of facts.
While the author gives plenty of stats to explain the time periods and economies which he is referring to, he also openly attacks Libertarian and Conservative views of economics by stating that there is no evidence for such market ideas working, and then supplies no evidence that his own ideas work either. If you want to refute an idea you need evidence, and if you want to support one you need evidence: he lacks both.
It is made less confusing when you take a look at the back of the book and see David Garland is a professor of Law and Sociology.
He practically says that while Keynesian markets don’t work, it is at least moral…it isn’t moral to have a market which leads to debt because it doesn’t work. The Keynesian system is full of the people who think that when your country is in debt you get out of that debt by letting the state spend as much money as possible…ok…I have no children so I’ll use as many condoms as possible to get a kid! Only a Sociologist could think this argument makes sense.
Also he put forward Sweden as the perfect welfare state while saying free markets don’t work….but Sweden uses a free market every time it is going bust in order to gain another 15 years of welfare…….Sweden is systematically socialist until it is poor, and then switches to libertarian to get rich again, and repeat.
The Keynesian way out of debt coupled with a crushing welfare system is what is bringing down EU states, and he has the audacity to say that the welfare state is the only reason that Capitalism doesn’t destroy itself, it is a necessary part of it and it is unimaginable to have Capitalism with out…this lack of imagination says more about the ideological stance of the Sociologist author, than a well educated Economist, Capitalism or free-market Libertarianism.