Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

When it was completed in 1914, the Panama Canal nearly halved the travel time between the U.S. West Coast and Europe and revolutionized trade and travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s construction, overseen by the U.S. government-Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC), has long been hailed as a marvel of American ingenuity. Less well-known was the project’s dependence on the labor of Black migrant women. In this episode, Joan Flores-Villalobos demonstrates how Black West Indian women’s intimate lives and labor were at the center of the Panama Canal’s construction, explaining how they built a provisioning economy that proved critical to the canal’s development and the maintenance of the West Indian diaspora.

Direct download: Final_Episode_Joan_Flores-Villalobos_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04am EDT

In this month's episode, Christy Thornton discusses the surprising influence of post-revolutionary Mexico on some of the twentieth century's most important international economic institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Triangulating between archives in Mexico, the United States, and Great Britain, Thornton traces how Mexican officials repeatedly led the charge among Third World nations campaigning for greater representation within and redistribution through multilateral institutions created to promote international development and finance. In doing so, she recovers the crucial role played by Mexican economists, diplomats, and politicians in shaping global economic governance and U.S. hegemony during the mid-twentieth century.

Direct download: Final_Episode_Thornton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

This month, we welcomed Jennifer Mittelstadt back to the show, joined by Mark Wilson, to discuss their new edited volume, The Military and the Market. Moving beyond familiar topics like defense spending, the volume takes an expansive approach to examining military-market relations in a wide range of contexts--from family business in the Civil War to managing post-World War II housing construction for U.S. soldiers and their families, and much more. Alongside Jennifer and Mark, listeners will hear from Kara Dixon Vuic, whose chapter explores the U.S. military's managment of markets for sex. Taken together, The Military and the Market challenges scholars and military policymakers alike to really grapple with the breadth and complexity of U.S. military-market relations over the course of two centuries.

Direct download: Final_Episode_Military_and_the_Market.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm EDT

In this episode, historian Allan Lumba explores how the United States wielded monetary authority in the colonial Philippines, including the role of money as a tool for countering decolonization, entrenching racial and class hierarchies, and directing the profits of colonialism towards the U.S. and Wall Street, in particular, with long-lasting consequences for Filipinos and Americans still dealing with the aftermath of what Lumba calls conditional decolonization.

Direct download: Final_Episode_Allan_Lumba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46pm EDT