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Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada Paperback – Sep 3 2014
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"What causes dramatic changes in political culture? Historic events, powerful leaders or breakthroughs in science and technology form the basis on many. But in the age of globalization, the internet and information overload, there are also more subtle and incremental ways to effect change. Harperism connects the dots by drawing a line between the free market philosophy espoused by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and the global phenomenon of conservative think tanks. Gutstein argues that the dotted line leads all the way to the change in political culture that encouraged nearly 40 percent of Canadians to vote for the most conservative prime minister in Canadian history." (Beth Haddon, Literary Review of Canada)
"Harperism has been published months ahead of what is quite possibly the most important federal election ever... [It is essential reading. Understanding its central thesis is important to every voter, including the mistaken 30+% who think they are supporting conservatism, not liberalism. And it should be mandatory reading for anyone planning to not cast their precious ballot. It offers scary motivation, indeed, for all Canadians to get to the polls this fall." (Bruce Mason, Common Ground)
"Gutstein argues that right wing think-tanks and their allies are made more influential by a mainstream media echo chamber. He says an examination of the 2013 Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies database shows that research from right wing sources like the Fraser Institute appears more often than papers released by left and progressive think-tanks like the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The tax-and-service-cutting gospel promoted by bodies like the Fraser Institute seems to have the compelling power of constant repetition and this may be one of the reasons, as this book suggests, that Harper and his colleagues have been as successful as they have been at changing the face of Canada.
(Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun)
"A Best Book of 2014" (The Hill Times)
"Harperism is the best explanation yet for whats happening in Ottawa and demonstrates why the Harper revolution will be difficult to unravel even if the Conservatives lose the next election." (The Georgia Straight, Best Books of 2014)
"While it may sometimes seem the Harper government's policies are an ad hoc mixture of right-wing populism, poll-driven opportunism and economic austerity (with a dash of nationalism and military swagger thrown in), a new book by Donald Gustein argues that Conservative policy development is more calculated than that, and heavily influenced by the work of think tanks." (Frank Bayerl, The Monitor (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives))
"Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, in 1947 seems far removed from Ottawa, Canada, 2014, and yet Gutstein methodically makes the links between the neoliberal, neo-conservative agenda and the current government's handling of a number of high profile issues." (Amira Elghawaby, rabble.ca)
"Engaging...Gutsteins most important observation for the future is that other countries that have endured comparable regimes the U.K. under Thatcher; the U.S. under Regan and Bush, Sr. did not see neoliberal policies reversed by the centrist administration that followed."
(Dan Rowe, Quill & Quire)
"Do all of the examples contained in Gutsteins book make the case for something we can name Harperism? Theres a revolving door of individuals who all pass through think tanks, media, and government that have supported Harpers policies and the Conservative Party itself. The case for Harperism is strong.
(Gerard Di Triolo, Briarpatch Magazine)
"This book sheds new light on Harper's symbiotic relationships with the network of conservative think tanks that created the environment that moved his ideas from the fringes to the mainstream and continue to validate his agenda."
(Bruce Campbell, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) 2014-09-01)
"Donald Gutstein does a powerful job of analyzing the ideology and practice of Harperism as it rolls steadily across the institutions of our country, undermining regulations, firing researchers, intimidating NGOs, and demonizing labour unions, environmentalists, and Native leaders."
(Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament 2014-09-01)
"An immensely powerful and insightful probe of Stephen Harper's impact on Canada. While the mainstream media allows Harper to portray himself as a moderate, Donald Gutstein skillfully traces the deep links between Harper and the right-wing world of corporate-funded think tanks. A great book for anyone looking to cast an informed vote in the 2015 election."
(author Linda McQuaig 2014-09-01)
About the Author
DONALD GUTSTEIN has written four books on the links between large corporations, politics, and the media. His previous book, Not A Conspiracy Theory, is a history of the Fraser Institute and other think tanks. Gutstein writes for The Tyee, Georgia Straight, and rabble.ca. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and co-director of NewsWatch Canada, a media-monitoring project in the school. He lives in Vancouver.
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Top Customer Reviews
Makes George Orwell appear even more god like than was ever imagined. I am now more depressed than ever.
Must reading for #cdnpoli
Great excerpt here, scary but important reading:
Harper is one side of an ideological coin; missing from the discussion is the other side of the coin -- the network of conservative think-tanks such as the Fraser Institute working over many decades to change the climate of ideas that make sense to many of us. By climate of ideas, I mean our commonly accepted notions about how government and the private sector should operate, and our understandings of ourselves as self-centred individualists or as compassionate members of society.
It’s not that Harperism ignores these changes. On the contrary, Gutstein explains them in terms of the “neoliberalism” at their heart. This focus makes HARPERISM important far beyond Canada’s borders, for neoliberalism underpins the successful imposition of “free market” ideology into the policies of most of the world’s titular democracies.
Like “Reaganism” and “Thatcherism” before it, Gutstein argues, “Harperism” embodies the market-driven economic philosophy developed most influentially by Friedrich von Hayek in The Road to Serfdom and other works.
There are important insights in HARPERISM, but in this review I want to highlight just one: The neoliberal agenda is not so much to change governments as to change the context in which governments act.
That is, while it would be ideal to help elect another Reagan or Thatcher, the primary purpose of neoliberal activism is “to change the climate of ideas to such an extent that it doesn’t matter who forms the government.”
How to change the “climate of ideas”?
Gutstein shows that this transformation has been given to Canada’s cadre of what Hayek called “professional secondhand dealers in ideas” — “journalists, teachers, ministers, lecturers, publicists, radio commentators, writers of fiction, cartoonists, and artists.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent book for those who want to know how the neo-liberals have changed the face of Canada for the worse. Read morePublished 13 months ago by William Lohman
I have not finished reading this yet but so far it has given me an introduction to a, hopefully rare, concept of classical economics. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dr. Austin L. Bowman
PM Harper is without a doubt brilliant at electoral politics, at the level of Sir John A, and Laurier (until he had to go down with his ship in 1917) and MacKenzie King. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Cliff McKay
Aside from the refection on Harper it was a real education in some philosophies I had not heard of or knew little about. A good read.Published 20 months ago by Robert D'arcy
An excellent book for whomever is searching for truth in politics these past 8 years.Published 21 months ago by E. Kitteringham