Cheryl Narumi Naruse on Singapore, Postcolonial Capitalism, and Becoming Global Asia
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy and Dylan Gottlieb
1w ago
In this month's episode, co-host Jessica Levy and guest Cheryl Narumi Naruse examine popular narratives surrounding Singapore's "miraculous" journey from Third to First world nation, currently ranked third in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product per capita. The episode takes a particular look at the period leading up to and following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, during which this tiny island city-state underwent a massive rebranding campaign to transform its reputation from a culturally sterile and punitive nation to an alluring location for economic flourishing. Topics discus ..read more
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Ben Waterhouse on the Dream and Reality of Self Employment
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy and Dylan Gottlieb
1M ago
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 centurie ..read more
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Brent Cebul on Business, Inequality, and American Liberalism
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy and Dylan Gottlieb
2M ago
Most scholars would date the origins of neoliberalism to the 1970s, when a range of crises gave rise to new forms of market-oriented governance. But Brent Cebul, our guest on this month's episode, argues that liberalism’s sharp turn towards neoliberalism wasn’t so sharp after all. In fact, as early as the New Deal, liberals tried to realize their policy goals through market means. And officials in Washington worked hand-in-hand with otherwise conservative business and municipal elites on those development programs. Throughout the entirety of the long twentieth century, liberals have bound ..read more
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Tim Keogh on Suburban Poverty and the Roots of Postwar Inequality
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
3M ago
In 2022, roughly one in 10 suburban residents lived in poverty (9.6%), compared to about one in six in primary cities (16.2%), according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute. The issue of suburban poverty has garnered significant attention, prompting more than a bit of nostalgia for the good ole days of when suburbs were prosperous, living proof of the American dream. This narrative of postwar suburbia as prosperous, if also exclusive places, has been reinforced by historians and other scholars who, over the years, have shown how the federal government via FHA-insured mortgages and oth ..read more
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Premilla Nadasen on the Care Economy and the Potential for Radical Care
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
4M ago
Today, discussions of care are ubiquitous. From employer-programs promoting self-care to the $800 billion healthcare industry, care forms a central part of our lives and the economy. But, are the systems and structures currently in place to care serving those who need it the most? This month's episode, featuring historian and activist Premilla Nadasen, takes a close look at the care economy and its relationship to racial capitalism and the reconfiguration of the welfare state. Along the way, we talk about the rise of the care-industrial-complex, wherein private corporations and non-profits ben ..read more
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Hannah Forsyth on the Rise and Fall of the Professional Class in the Anglophone World
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
6M ago
Are you a professional living and working in an English-speaking country? If so, this episode is for you. Teachers, doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers, lawyers, social workers, the list goes on, professionals play an important role in our society. This wasn't always the case. This episode explores the rise of the professional class in the Anglophone world, including engaging in a decades-old question of whether or not professionals constitute a class. Topics covered include the role that professionals played in the rise of Anglo-settler colonialism; the relationship between the profession ..read more
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Bart Elmore on Southern Companies Remaking our Economy and the Planet
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
9M ago
An iced cold Coca-Cola. A cross-country flight on Delta to visit friends. A much-needed medication overnighted via Fed-Ex. Bulk toilet paper purchased at Wal-Mart. What do these items have in common?  In today’s modern economy, each of these can be purchased from the comfort of the couch, frequently with a credit card pioneered by Bank of America. They are all also from companies headquartered in the American South. In this month's episode, historian Bart Elmore explains how corporations from the American South helped make it possible for us to satisfy our desires from the convenience of ..read more
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Mark Erlich on the Way We Build and Restoring Dignity to Construction Work
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
10M ago
This month's episode gives a nod to one of the figures in our logo: the construction worker. Our guest, Mark Erlich has worked in the construction industry as a carpenter and union leader for a half century. In this episode, he shares his insights on the industry's past, present, and future, paying particular attention to the politics and material conditions surrounding construction work. In response to those who argue that today's labor shortages in the construction industry are the result of societal preferences, Erlich points to the decades-long degradation of construction work, including d ..read more
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Chelsea Shields on Oil, Intimacy, and the Offshore
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
11M ago
In this month's episode, guest Chelsea Shields discusses oil refining and intimacy, illuminating the social ties and affective attachments engendered by oil in the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao. Known today for their gorgeous beaches and sunny weather that attract tourists year-round, during the mid-twentieth century these islands were home to some of the largest oil refineries in the world. Along the way, we cover topics such as  the role of race and gender in structuring labor relations; inter and intra imperial politics; migration; anti-colonial and anti-welfare movements; the 'of ..read more
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Joan Flores-Villalobos on How Black Women's Labor Made the Panama Canal
Who Makes Cents? | A History of Capitalism Podcast
by Jessica Levy
1y ago
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 b ..read more
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