When Zombies Win



When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything ― yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.

But such failures don’t seem to matter. To borrow the title of a recent book by the Australian economist John Quiggin on doctrines that the crisis should have killed but didn’t, we’re still ― perhaps more than ever ― ruled by “zombie economics.” Why?

Part of the answer, surely, is that people who should have been trying to slay zombie ideas have tried to compromise with them instead. And this is especially, though not only, true of the president.