Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

One recent study found that 81% of businesses in the United States have zero employees. That is, they are run by sole proprietors, working for and by themselves, The ideal of self-employment has become dominant in our culture, too. More Americans than ever dream of becoming an entrepreneur, an independent owner, a founder.

But for all of its prevalence in our economy and in our imaginations, the origins of this impulse are a bit hazy. When did so many of us begin to idolize self-employment? What might it reveal about broader shifts in the employment landscape in the 20th and 21st centuries? In his new book, One Day I'll Work for Myself: The Dream and Delusion That Conquered America, Ben Waterhouse answers precisely those questions. He explains how the rise of self-employment dates back to the economic transformations of the 1970s and intensified during the decades of precarity that followed. In our wide-ranging conversation, we touch on everything from franchise jurisprudence to the gig economy to the surprising story behind the Sam Adams beer company.

Direct download: WMC_EPISODE-_March_2024-_Waterhouse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT