posts tagged ascapitalism

Historic Levels of Inequality

by on July 4, 2016

The pundits always seem to miss the politics of capitalism in their effort to explain inequality.

It looks like a new book by Peter Lindert and Jeffrey Williamson, Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality Since 1700, is gaining traction among the punditry class, following last year’s nod to Thomas Piketty’s Capital.

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The Limits to Entrepreneurship: Why Innovation Won’t Solve Poverty

by on June 20, 2016
Can starting your own business rocket someone from the near bottom to near top of the economic pyramid?  It might work for a few lucky, hard working, dedicated, amazing individuals, maybe. Some do indeed generate new economic opportunities for themselves – and, in a very few cases, even for others in their community.  But that isn’t even half the story.  All too often, the results are much less rosy. Read more →

Empire of Cotton Still Based on Violence

by on July 10, 2015

At the recent LAWCHA conference here in Washington, D.C., I was among those applauding heartily when Empire of Cotton: A Global History, Sven Beckert’s sweeping study, received the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award. It’s worth taking a look at how the “empire,” carries on today, as Beckert asserts.

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Comrades & Cowboys

by on September 30, 2014

In 1886, several prominent European socialists came through Cincinnati in search of insights into America. Their local comrades–“delightful German-American friends” took them to a local dime museum. There, a showman introduced cowboys with “stereotyped speeches about them,” as his subjects lounged about “in their picturesque garb, and looking terribly bored.” Then, one of the cowboys, “singularly handsome face and figure, with the frankest of blue eyes, rose and spoke a piece.

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Doing the Employer’s Dirty Work?: Thinking about the History of Anti-Unionism from “Below” after the UAW’s Defeat in Chattanooga

by on February 21, 2014

Historians should think carefully as they ponder the meaning of the UAW defeat in Chattanooga. Some analysts write as though a full-fledged co-determination structure was in play. In reality, the union leadership held backroom meetings with Volkswagen executives that promised a commitment that seems all too close to the kind of company unions that labor historians should recognize from the past—joint labor-management organizations designed to lure workers away from democratic control and a voice.

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The Elk River Spill — Capitalism at its “best”

by on January 30, 2014

On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, 7500 gallons of a coal cleaning chemical known as Crude MCHM (principally composed of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) leaked from a storage tank and then from a containment wall at a facility on the banks of the Elk River in West Virginia in Kanawha County.

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