Naomi Oreskes
June 01, 2023

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

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Thursday, Jun 01, 2023 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

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Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment


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About This Event

Many Americans think that “Big Government” is wasteful and inefficient and we should have faith in “The Free Market” to solve our problems. Yet, history shows that government has more often than not been the solution to problems that markets produced, and many large government programs--from Social Security to the invention of the internet--have been very successful. So why do so many of us have so much faith in “The Market” and so little faith in government? In this talk, I recount the story of how American business leaders intervened in politics, popular culture, the educational system, religious life, and academic discourse to promote market fundamentalism.

About the speaker: Naomi Oreskes is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. An internationally renowned scientist and historian, she is a leading voice on the reality on anthropogenic climate change and the history of efforts to undermine climate action and scientific truth. Oreskes is an author of eight books, including, Why Trust Science? (2019) and Science on a Mission: How Military Funding Shaped What We Do and Don’t Know about the Ocean (2021), and over 150 scholarly and popular articles. Her opinion pieces have been appeared around the globe, including on The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times (London), and the Frankfurter Allgemeine. In 2015, she wrote the Introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, Laudato Si. Her 2010 book with Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt, has been translated into nine languages, sold over 100,000 copies, and made into a documentary film. In 2018, she became a Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2019 was awarded the British Academy Medal. Her new book with Erik Conway, The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loath Government and Love the Free Market, was published by Bloomsbury Press in February 2023.