The Big Myth: How American Business Taught us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market

Tue 4/30/2024 • 1PM - 2:30PM PDT

Charles E. Young Research Library, Main Conference Room 11360


Presented by the UCLA Library and the Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences
Speaker: Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D., Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

Throughout the 19th century, the U.S. government played a major role in economic life, promoting economic development through infrastructure and education and regulating many markets. But then something changed. Americans started to reject “big government” and to believe in the “magic of the marketplace.”

The ideology of “limited government” would define the next two centuries across Republican and Democratic administrations, giving us a housing crisis, the opioid scourge, climate destruction and a baleful response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why? How did so many Americans come to have so much faith in markets and so little faith in government? The short answer: a long-durée propaganda campaign, organized by American business leaders.

This talk will be held in person and via Zoom.

Light refreshments will be served.

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