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Stephen Mihm


  • Originally published 08/23/2013

    Stephen Mihm: The Secret Bromance of Nixon and Brezhnev

    On Aug. 21, the Nixon Presidential Library released the final installment of the 37th president's secret tape recordings in the Oval Office. There’s much of interest in the approximately 3,000 hours of recordings, and the accompanying 140,000 pages of documents, but perhaps the most fascinating find is a conversation that took place between Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev on June 18, 1973.

  • Originally published 08/23/2013

    Stephen Mihm: How Computers Took Over Trading

    The malfunctions that froze trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market for three hours this afternoon -- just two days after options markets were roiled by mistaken trades sent by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- are the latest in a series of high-profile mishaps most likely triggered by errant computer programs.

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    Stephen Mihm: New York Had a Hyperloop First, Elon Musk

    Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, is a contributor to the Ticker. Follow him on TwitterAh, the “hyperloop.” Elon Musk, whose track record as a technological visionary is unimpeachable, has released details of his plan for a futuristic system of transport. The basic idea is to use air pressure to shoot people-carrying pods through tubes at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour.With all due respect to Mr. Musk, the idea isn’t new. This has been pointed out by some commentators, who have noted that in 1972 Rand Corporation researcher R. M. Salter released a proposal to ferry passengers from New York to Los Angles in a mere 21 minutes, or 14 minutes less than the hyperloop would take to send them from Los Angeles to San Francisco. But at its heart, Musk’s project is even more old school: It owes most of its inspiration to ideas that have been around for two hundred years.

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Stephen Mihm: A Century of International Potash Intrigue

    Stephen Mihm is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia and the author, with Nouriel Roubini, of "Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance," and of "A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men and the Making of the United States."In case you didn’t notice, the world’s potash markets went haywire last week, after the announcement that Russia's OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest producer of this crucial ingredient in fertilizer, suspended its participation in an alleged cartel with its long-time Belarus partner Belaruskali. Their joint marketing venture, the Belarusian Potash Co., produced at its peak 40 percent of the world’s potash, with much of the balance coming from Canpotex Ltd., another syndicate based in North America. Together these two set production quotas and divided global markets, ensuring stable prices and steady profits.

  • Originally published 08/02/2013

    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.

  • Originally published 04/08/2013

    In history departments, it’s up with capitalism

    A specter is haunting university history departments: the specter of capitalism.After decades of “history from below,” focusing on women, minorities and other marginalized people seizing their destiny, a new generation of scholars is increasingly turning to what, strangely, risked becoming the most marginalized group of all: the bosses, bankers and brokers who run the economy.Even before the financial crisis, courses in “the history of capitalism” — as the new discipline bills itself — began proliferating on campuses, along with dissertations on once deeply unsexy topics like insurance, banking and regulation. The events of 2008 and their long aftermath have given urgency to the scholarly realization that it really is the economy, stupid....

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