Summary of Radical Markets

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Radical Markets book summary

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If you want to disrupt capitalism and end economic disparities, professors Eric A. Posner and E. Glen Weyl offer one possible solution: auctions. A new societal structure based on the auction process, they write, could remedy the causes of economic inequality. Posner and Weyl provide detailed stories, supported by helpful statistics, to explain how auctions could change everything, including property ownership, voting and the use of social media data. The idea of auctioning everything is imaginative and scary, but is it realistic? The authors admit that significant changes to the auction process would be necessary and implementation would be slow, so the whole system would have to evolve over time. But it’s a big idea that might just be radical enough to work. This eye-opening book will engage and maybe even unnerve anyone curious about revolutionary responses to socioeconomic problems.

About the Authors

Eric A. Posner is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. E. Glen Weyl is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a professor of political economy at Yale University.


The growing gap between the rich and the poor divides communities and fuels conflict. 

All over the world, rich people enjoy ever more luxurious lifestyles, while the poor and middle class stagnate. That growing gap divides communities and fuels conflict. But traditional public policy either ignores or exacerbates the problem. A more just society requires an extreme disruption of the economic system. This disruption could take the form of free market auctions applied to all transactions.

Auctions address the underlying causes of economic disparity and inequality: “decreasing labor income, increasing market power and stagnant economic policy.” These issues have become entrenched in American institutions and policies since the Cold War. Understanding how they affect society should shape the design of new solutions:

  • Decreasing labor income – In the United States, the percentage of total income made by the top 1% of earners has risen from 8% to 16% since the 1970s. Most people earn income from wages, but the wealthy get 60% of their income from investments in and profits from companies they own. The problem...

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