Presented by the UCLA Library and the Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences

Speaker: Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D., Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

Throughout the 19th century, the U.S. government played a major role in economic life, promoting economic development through infrastructure and education and regulating many markets. But then something changed. Americans started to reject “big government” and to believe in the “magic of the marketplace.”

The ideology of “limited government” would define the next two centuries across Republican and Democratic administrations, giving us a housing crisis, the opioid scourge, climate destruction and a baleful response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why? How did so many Americans come to have so much faith in markets and so little faith in government? The short answer: a long-durée propaganda campaign, organized by American business leaders.

This talk will be held in person and via Zoom.

Light refreshments will be served.

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 undermind climate action and scientific truth.

Oreskes is an author of nine 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 Loathe Government and Love the Free Market, was published by Bloomsbury Press in February 2023.

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