One Market Under God

By Hari Kunzru, 10 December 2001

Hari Kunzru reviews One Market Under God

Throughout the ’90s, as editor of The Baffler, Tom Frank was a persistent and vocal critic of the frenetic boosterism of the new economy. He was also a lonely critic, a dissenting voice which could rarely be heard above the din of dotcom advertising and IPO hype. After the crash, his book appears particularly prescient. In a series of linked essays he develops a critique of ‘market populism’, a tendency he sees at work in every sector of American and British society, from management theory and advertising to journalism and academia. Frank argues that the aspirations of popular democracy have been wilfully coopted by corporate boosters, allowing big business to claim that its products and strategies are ‘revolutionary’, ‘empowering’ and ‘liberating’ while damning all who dare question of market deregulation as elitist and anti-populist. In the face of so much writing which presents the new economy and the internet revolution as an absolute rupture with the past, he draws a genealogy, showing how the paradoxical language of corporate revolution was a solution to a historical perception of US big business as anti-democratic. Frank’s arguments are passionate and powerful, and One Market Under God represents the most convincing analysis of the (anti)intellectual climate of the decade we have just lived through yet to hit the shelves.

Hari Kunzru is author of forthcoming novel The Impressionist and contributing editor to Mute.

One Market Under God // Thomas Frank // Secker and Warburg, London // Hardcover // 430 pages // January, 2001 // ISBN: 0436276194 // £18.99