Morality and Power: On Ethics, Economics and Public Policy offers a compelling critique of orthodox economic analysis and its impacts on public policy.

Author Mike Berry, from the RMIT Centre for Urban Research, argues that the theoretical underpinning of evaluative tools like cost-benefit analysis rests on an incoherent concept of ‘efficiency’ derived from Paretian welfare economics.

Beginning by reviewing the historical progression of economic thought, Berry argues there has been a lack of crucial development in economic thinking in public policy since the economic crisis of 2008. The ethically unacceptable outcomes of the current public policy approach are exposed: most notably the support for policies that accentuate inequality and social polarization; the outbreak of crises in the financial sector, and the treatment of refugees and migrants. Threats to liberal democracies in an age of rampant populism and rising nationalism are examined, offering noteworthy suggestions for an alternative democratic future.

‘This is a wonderful book full of insight and argument about the biggest issues facing humanity. Mike Berry writes with verve and imagination, translating the history of ethics and economics into a manifesto for 21st century public policy. Its scope is something to behold.’ – Gordon Clark, University of Oxford, UK

‘Critical of the dominant neoliberal application of economics to public policy, Berry makes a convincing case for the renewal of ethical principles in search of wealth and the “good life”. Erudite and accessible, this book is an intellectual tour de force that covers the major historical and normative aspects of capitalist economies in its quest for more sustainable alternatives.’ – Manfred B. Steger, University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa, US and RMIT University, Australia


Green Brain, Level 7, Storey Hall RMIT University City campus


16 March 2018