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economic history



  • What Scaremongering About Inflation Gets Wrong

    by Rebecca L. Spang

    Inflation has become a subject of political dread as Americans have shifted from seeing themselves as producers to seeing themselves as consumers. But historical perspective shows that policy picks winners and losers and is dependent on choices about what to measure and how.   



  • How 24 Hours of Racist Violence Caused Decades of Harm

    by Jeremy Cook and Jason Long

    Census analysis shows how the Tulsa race massacre inaugurated a U-turn in the economic fortunes of the city's black community and gives a sense of the value of property lost. 



  • The Gatekeeper

    by Adam Tooze

    Paul Krugman's career as a politically influential economist has reflected the political dead end of the Clinton-era ideal of technocratic governing. His new book suggests that the intellectual authority of the economics profession may no longer prevent active government or deficit spending. 



  • The End of Development

    by Tim Barker

    "Capitalism’s publicists are experiencing something of what Marxists went through after 1989, with one important difference: capitalism may be increasingly discredited, but it has not disappeared the way state socialism did."



  • The Age of Care (Review of Gabriel Winant's "The Next Shift")

    by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein says Gabriel Winant's book on the rise of the care industry is the story of community change in the last 50 years, with union retiree health care dollars reabsorbed by capital through the treatment of diseases of despair provoked by deindustrialization (with care provided by a workforce of women and people of color).



  • Government has Always Picked Winners and Losers

    by David M.P. Freund

    Government action has always been tied to economic growth, and always involved policy choosing winners and losers. Policies proposed by the Biden administration as part of the COVID recovery aren't inserting the government into the market, they're changing the parties favored by government policy. 



  • Why the Roaring Twenties Left Many Americans Poorer

    Despite popular imagery, many Americans – urban workers, African Americans, and farmers in particular – experienced the 1920s as an era of deprivation and hardship that flowed into the worse times of the Great Depression. 



  • A Living Wage Should Be A Constitutional Right

    by John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco

    "It is time we invert John F. Kennedy’s famous dictum (“Ask not what your country can do for you …”) and ask what can the country do for us?"



  • The Missing Piece of the Minimum Wage Debate

    by Colleen Doody

    Historical perspective on the origins of the federal minimum wage shows that critics of a $15 minimum ignore the positive economic effects of increased purchasing power. 



  • The New Deal’s Capitalist Lessons for Joe Biden

    by Louis Hyman

    An economic historian argues that the greatest impact of the New Deal came from programs that guided the investment of private capital to social ends, rather than direct expenditure on public works. 



  • J. M. Keynes and the Visible Hands

    by Kent Puckett

    John Maynard Keynes's disgust at the outcome of the peace negotiations at the end of the Great War led him to write a scathing and influential book about the economic impact of the Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately, the account, which overstated the economic devastation imposed on Germany, fueled Hitler's propaganda and made the rest of Europe unable to perceive the threat of German rearmament. 



  • The Libertarian Ideas That Wrecked the Fed

    by Bruce Bartlett

    Friedman’s ardent libertarian faith was central to his monetarist thinking; like all libertarians, he was always extremely wary of anything that would cause the size of government to grow.



  • What Liberals Get Wrong About Work

    by Michael J. Sandel

    Michael Young, who coined the term meritocracy in the late 1950s—and who used it as a pejorative—observed four decades later: “It is hard indeed in a society that makes so much of merit to be judged as having none. No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that.”