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economic history



  • Indentured Students: Elizabeth Tandy Shermer on Student Debt (Monday, October 4)

    Elizabeth Tandy Shermer shows that Democrats and Republicans intentionally wanted to create a student loan industry instead of generously funding colleges and universities, which eventually left millions of Americans drowning in student debt. Zoom, Monday, Oct. 4, 4:00 PM EDT.



  • What if the Coronavirus Crisis Is Just a Trial Run?

    by Adam Tooze

    The disjointed and haphazard global response to the COVID pandemic bodes poorly for the world's capacity for coordinated action to face inevitable crisies in the near future. The problem isn't a lack of means but a lack of commitment to collective action.



  • Wartime Wisdom to Combat Inflation

    by David Stein

    Today, monetary policy controlled by the Federal Reserve is the only tool commonly used to control inflation, pitting controlling prices against full employment and wage growth. The history of the World War II Office of Price Administration reveals other possibilities. 



  • Back to the Seventies?

    by Kenneth Rogoff

    Problems of political economy complicate the job central bankers face in setting interest rates. From international relations to domestic politics to an aging population, an economist considers the similarities and differences between now and the 1970s. 



  • The Real Political Danger of Inflation

    by Andrew Elrod

    Democrats have not lost elections because of inflation, but because they have imagined austerity politics as the only solution to inflation. 



  • What Scaremongering About Inflation Gets Wrong

    by Rebecca L. Spang

    Inflation has become a subject of political dread as Americans have shifted from seeing themselves as producers to seeing themselves as consumers. But historical perspective shows that policy picks winners and losers and is dependent on choices about what to measure and how.   



  • How 24 Hours of Racist Violence Caused Decades of Harm

    by Jeremy Cook and Jason Long

    Census analysis shows how the Tulsa race massacre inaugurated a U-turn in the economic fortunes of the city's black community and gives a sense of the value of property lost. 



  • The Gatekeeper

    by Adam Tooze

    Paul Krugman's career as a politically influential economist has reflected the political dead end of the Clinton-era ideal of technocratic governing. His new book suggests that the intellectual authority of the economics profession may no longer prevent active government or deficit spending. 



  • The End of Development

    by Tim Barker

    "Capitalism’s publicists are experiencing something of what Marxists went through after 1989, with one important difference: capitalism may be increasingly discredited, but it has not disappeared the way state socialism did."



  • The Age of Care (Review of Gabriel Winant's "The Next Shift")

    by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein says Gabriel Winant's book on the rise of the care industry is the story of community change in the last 50 years, with union retiree health care dollars reabsorbed by capital through the treatment of diseases of despair provoked by deindustrialization (with care provided by a workforce of women and people of color).



  • Government has Always Picked Winners and Losers

    by David M.P. Freund

    Government action has always been tied to economic growth, and always involved policy choosing winners and losers. Policies proposed by the Biden administration as part of the COVID recovery aren't inserting the government into the market, they're changing the parties favored by government policy. 



  • Why the Roaring Twenties Left Many Americans Poorer

    Despite popular imagery, many Americans – urban workers, African Americans, and farmers in particular – experienced the 1920s as an era of deprivation and hardship that flowed into the worse times of the Great Depression. 



  • A Living Wage Should Be A Constitutional Right

    by John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco

    "It is time we invert John F. Kennedy’s famous dictum (“Ask not what your country can do for you …”) and ask what can the country do for us?"