Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

Popular discussions of U.S. politics often distinguish "social" issues from "economic" issues. Laura Briggs shows us how looking at recent U.S. history through the lens of reproductive politics challenges this division.

Direct download: LauraBriggs.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09am EST

Since the most recent election, we’ve heard a lot of news about the so-called working class. But all too often, this term seems to refer to white men instead of the diverse group of people who actually comprise the working class. Similarly, in the years since the 2008 recession, more and more attention has been given economic inequality that has grown ever larger over the past few decades. On today’s show, we speak with Lane Windham about union organizing in the 1970s and how these efforts reveal necessary context to understanding the many struggles of the actual working class, and what this history can reveal about the growth of economic inequality since the 1970s.

 

Lane Windham is Associate Director of Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and co-director of WILL Empower (Women Innovating Labor Leadership). She is the author of Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide.

Direct download: Lane_Windham__on_Union_Organizing_in_the_1970s.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm EST

Before Amazon bought Whole Foods, the shopping chain got its start as an activist business more focused on politics than profits. Join us to discuss the rise and fall of activist small business in last third of the twentieth century.

Direct download: JoshDavis.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:32pm EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST