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economic history



  • Grant’s First Tomb

    by Jamelle Bouie

    Ulysses S. Grant, inaugurated as president 150 years ago today, missed a chance to reconstruct the South economically as well as politically.



  • Economic history is dead; long live economic history?

    Economic history may well be dead as a subject studied in independent academic departments, as it was at universities in the 1970s. But as a subject that is needed as part of the study of economics and the making of public policy, economic history is—and should be—very much alive.



  • Stephen Mihm: The Woman Who Broke Into the Fed

    Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, is a contributor to the TickerThe jockeying to succeed Ben Bernanke as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board appears to pit Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen against a field that includes former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Vice Chairman Donald Kohn. If Yellen becomes the first woman to hold the post -- despite a few sexist swipes from Summers' supporters -- she’ll owe a special debt to Nancy Teeters, who broke the glass ceiling at the Fed when she became the first female member of the board in 1978.



  • Melissa S. Fisher: How Women Rose and Took the Fall on Wall Street

    Melissa S. Fisher, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, is the author of “Wall Street Women.”When Ina Drew resigned as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s chief investment officer last year after reports the bank lost more than $6 billion, the New York Times referred to her as “the woman who took the fall.”It is up for debate whether financial companies have scapegoated women such as Drew in the aftermath of the financial crisis. What is certain is that just half a century ago it was unimaginable that women might make it high enough in the ranks of Wall Street to take the fall for anything.



  • Gavin Wright: Voting Rights Act Brought Major Economic Benefits

    Gavin Wright is the William Robertson Coe professor of American economic history at Stanford University. He is the author of “Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South.”The Supreme Court’s rejection yesterday of a central element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act took aim at a measure that not only broke down barriers to political participation in the South but also made significant contributions to the economic wellbeing of black southerners and to the region as a whole.Some of the economic benefits were apparent almost immediately after enactment. Surveys reported more paved roads and streetlights in black residential areas, better access to city and county services, and increased black hiring in public-sector jobs, including police and fire departments.



  • Robert W. Fogel, an innovative and Nobel Prize-winning economic historian, dies at 86

    Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economic historian who used empirical data in innovative and iconoclastic ways, most notably to dispute longheld assumptions about why slavery collapsed as an institution in the United States, died June 11 at a rehabilitation facility in Oak Lawn, Ill. He was 86.The cause was pneumonia, said his daughter-in-law Suzanne Fogel. Dr. Fogel, a Chicago resident, spent much of his career at the University of Chicago and directed its Center for Population Economics.Dr. Fogel shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences with Douglass North, then of Washington University in St. Louis. Both winners were on the 1960s vanguard of a field known as cliometrics, which merges economic theory with statistical analysis of hard numbers raked from the past; Clio is the muse of history in Greek mythology....



  • Michael Lind: The World is Actually More Peaceful than Ever

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, it is important to keep things in perspective, by emphasizing what the mass media tend to neglect — namely, the fact that the world has become much more peaceful in recent decades and is getting more peaceful all the time.It does not diminish the horror of mass casualty attacks on civilians, in this and other countries, to point out that today’s terrorist incidents provide a counterpoint to a declining arc of political violence worldwide. Both violence among states and violence within states have diminished dramatically in the last few generations.If we look at battle deaths in the last century, the spurts in the Cold War, associated with the Korean, Indochina and Soviet-Afghan wars, were dwarfed by the huge spikes of slaughter associated with the world wars. And with the end of the Cold War came a steep decline in political violence worldwide — mainly because the two sides no longer kept local conflicts going by arming and supplying opposing sides from Latin America to Africa to Asia and the Middle East.

  • POLL: Have You Engaged with the History of Capitalism?

    by HNN Staff

    The New York Times' Jennifer Schuessler published a story in last Sunday's edition on the newfound popularity of the history of capitalism. "A specter is haunting university history departments," she wrote, "the specter of capitalism."This new history of capitalism integrates social and cultural approaches to economic history and adopts a strictly post-Cold War mentality. Gone are hoary Marxist bromides and questions about why socialism failed to develop as a political movement in the United States; instead, the new generation of history of capitalism scholars -- those profiled in the article include Julia Ott, Bethany Moreton, Louis Hyman, and Stephen Mihm -- focus on the practice of capitalism by the people in the middle and at the top, melding a sound knowledge of math and economics with race and gender analyses.