Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast (general)

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Syndication

It has become well known that none of those most responsible for the 2008 recession have faced significant prosecutions or gone to prison for their actions. But one bank did face a severe prosecution in the wake of the recession. On today’s show, we speak to Steve James, the director of a new film about Abacus bank—a small bank that serves New York’s Chinatown community, and how they found themselves facing a harsh prosecution, and how they fought back.  

Direct download: Steve_James_on_Abacus_Bank.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm EDT

We often talk about "economic conservatism" and "social conservatism," as if they're entirely divorced topics. Emily Hobson tells us about gay and lesbian activists from the 1960s through the 1990s who understood sexuality and anti-capitalism to be inextricably linked.

Direct download: Hobson.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

In Nancy MacLean’s new book—Democracy in Chainsshe unveils a long history of efforts by right-wing officials and intellectuals to undermine democracy. She foregrounds the importance of the economist James Buchanan to this story. She shows us the historical context of how Buchanan came to be a key intellectual for those opposing school desegregation, unionization of workers, and much more.

 

Nancy MacLean is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry and Freedom is Not Enough.

Direct download: Nancy_MacLean_on_the_Radical_Right_and_James_Buchanan.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

Why do budgetary crises tend to lead to politicians and business leaders calling for governments to tighten their purse strings? How can we understand austerity as politics, not just common business sense? This week, we welcome back Kim Phillips-Fein to discuss her new book, Fear City, on the fiscal crisis in New York City in the 1970s. 

Direct download: PhillipsFeinFINAL.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21am EDT

The name John Maynard Keynes is an important one in the history of economic thought. Keynes’s ideas became popular between during the interwar period, between World War I and II, as many sought to navigate the tumult of social and political upheaval elicited by World War I and the Great Depression. But our guest today, traces a longer tradition of a Keynesian sensibility—characterized by the need to maintain society—that goes back more than 100 years before this period to the French Revolution.

We speak to Geoff Mann about his new book, that considers what this Keynesian sensibility might be able to tell us about our current moment, the rise of Donald Trump, and the potential for revolutionary struggles. Geoff also wants us to understand the importance for Keynesian thinking for the dual crises afflicting so many today: economic inequality and climate change.

 

Geoff Mann is Director of the Centre for Global Political Economy, Simon Fraser University. He is the author of Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism and Our Daily Bread: Wages, Workers and the Political Economy of the American West, and In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution.


In our first interview with a novelist, we speak with Jennifer Haigh about Heat & Light, her novel about fracking in rural Pennsylvania.

Direct download: JenniferHaigh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

The 1980s were a time of transformation for workers across the U.S., and flight attendants were on the front line of the struggles of the era, as they saw the impacts of deregulation, the breaking of the air-traffic controllers union, and the rising power of stockholders over everyday management of firms.

Our guest today, Ryan Murphy, shows how all of the elements coalesced with broader changes in sexual and gender relations. Murphy’s history of flight attendant activism shows how important it is to see all these elements working together. Both workers and bosses had different conceptions of the family, which each group tried to utilize to achieve their goals.

Ryan Patrick Murphy—a former San Francisco-based flight attendant for United Airlines and Council Representative for Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Council 11—is Assistant Professor of History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He is author of Deregulating Desire.

Direct download: Ryan_Murphy_on_Flight_Attendant_Activism.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm EDT

How does the fact that banks do not have to make their services accessible for all of us impact ordinary people? Why should we see banks as institutions that must be accountable to the public, and what would change in American life if we did? Listen to find out!

Direct download: MehrsaBaradaran.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT

In April, the high volume leak of the Panama Papers revealed an often unseen world of money and power. The leak of 11.5 million files came from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helps facilitate movement of money across accounts and borders, frequently with the goal of evading taxation and legal judgments. The leak placed the financial dealings of global celebrities and politicians, including Simon Cowell and Pedro Almodovar, under scrutiny. Vladimir Putin, though unnamed in the leak was connected to upwards of $2 billion of assets. And the revelations provoked such controversy for the Prime Minister of Iceland that he was forced to resign.

While the celebrity names got a good deal of the headlines, firms like Mossack Fonseca are instrumental to the creation of offshore tax havens. Our guest today, Brooke Harrington, set out to understand this world and the people who make it possible. She studied to become a wealth manager, so as to learn about the world of the global elite and how this labor force has contributed to global inequality. This study took her to 18 countries. And it offers a rare insight into the processes by which a small set of people control a good deal of the world’s assets. Like the Panama Papers, this research documents a world that is, as Brooke puts it, technically legal, but socially illegitimate.

Brooke Harrington is Associate Professor of Sociology at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. You can find out more about Capital without Borders here.

Direct download: Brooke_Harrington_on_Wealth_Managers_and_the_1.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

Why is health care in the United States so expensive? Why does the United States find it so difficult to provide quality, affordable health care to most of its citizens? What is the relationship among the government, doctors, and insurance companies? Christy Chapin explains how insurance companies became so central to the provision of health care in the United States.

Direct download: ChristyChapin.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29pm EDT