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This Author: Betsy Beasley

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast by Betsy Beasley

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

by Betsy Beasley

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Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast is a monthly program devoted to bringing you quality, engaging stories that explain how capitalism has changed over time. We interview historians and social and cultural critics about capitalism’s past, highlighting the political and economic changes that have created the present. Each episode gives voice to the people who have shaped capitalism – by making the rules or by breaking them, by creating economic structures or by resisting them.


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Ryan Murphy on Flight Attendant Activism


Sun, Mar 05, 2017


The 1980s were a time of transformation for workers across the U.S., and flight attendants were on the front line of the struggles of the era, as they saw the impacts of deregulation, the breaking of the air-traffic controllers union, and the rising power of stockholders over everyday management of firms.

Our guest today, Ryan Murphy, shows how all of the elements coalesced with broader changes in sexual and gender relations. Murphy’s history of flight attendant activism shows how important it is to see all these elements working together. Both workers and bosses had different conceptions of the family, which each group tried to utilize to achieve their goals.

Ryan Patrick Murphy—a former San Francisco-based flight attendant for United Airlines and Council Representative for Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Council 11—is Assistant Professor of History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He is author of Deregulating Desire.



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Mehrsa Baradaran on Banking for Lower Income Americans


Wed, Feb 01, 2017


How does the fact that banks do not have to make their services accessible for all of us impact ordinary people? Why should we see banks as institutions that must be accountable to the public, and what would change in American life if we did? Listen to find out!



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Brooke Harrington on Wealth Managers and the One Percent


Tue, Jan 03, 2017


In April, the high volume leak of the Panama Papers revealed an often unseen world of money and power. The leak of 11.5 million files came from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helps facilitate movement of money across accounts and borders, frequently with the goal of evading taxation and legal judgments. The leak placed the financial dealings of global celebrities and politicians, including Simon Cowell and Pedro Almodovar, under scrutiny. Vladimir Putin, though unnamed in the leak was connected to upwards of $2 billion of assets. And the revelations provoked such controversy for the Prime Minister of Iceland that he was forced to resign.

While the celebrity names got a good deal of the headlines, firms like Mossack Fonseca are instrumental to the creation of offshore tax havens. Our guest today, Brooke Harrington, set out to understand this world and the people who make it possible. She studied to become a wealth manager, so as to learn about the world of the global elite and how this labor force has contributed to global inequality. This study took her to 18 countries. And it offers a rare insight into the processes by which a small set of people control a good deal of the world’s assets. Like the Panama Papers, this research documents a world that is, as Brooke puts it, technically legal, but socially illegitimate.

Brooke Harrington is Associate Professor of Sociology at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. You can find out more about Capital without Borders here.



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Christy Chapin on the Centrality of Insurance Companies to American Health Care


Fri, Dec 02, 2016


Why is health care in the United States so expensive? Why does the United States find it so difficult to provide quality, affordable health care to most of its citizens? What is the relationship among the government, doctors, and insurance companies? Christy Chapin explains how insurance companies became so central to the provision of health care in the United States.



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Sarah Jaffe on Social Movements and the 2008 Recession


Fri, Nov 04, 2016


The recent years since the 2008 recession have seen a growth of protest movements. Sarah Jaffe’s book, Necessary Trouble, describes how people have been fighting back against bank bailouts, budget cuts, police brutality, and much more. Today, we reflect on this recent history of capitalism and what it might indicate about the future.

Sarah Jaffe is a Nation Institute fellow and an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Salon, the Week, the American Prospect, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and many other publications. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as an editorial board member at Dissent and a columnist at New Labor Forum. Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt is her first book.



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LaShawn Harris on Black Women and the Informal Economy


Sat, Oct 01, 2016


LaShawn Harris discusses how black women in the early twentieth century engaged in the informal economy - performing work that wasn't entirely legal - to get by and get ahead.



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Sandy Hager on Public Debt and Inequality


Thu, Sep 01, 2016


Who owns the U.S. public debt? Why is it such an important commodity in global capitalism? Why does public debt provoke such intense political debate? And how can the quantitative data on the ownership structure of public debt provide insights into these topics? Our guest today, Sandy Hager reveals answers to all of these questions and more.

Sandy Brian Hager is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He is author of Public Debt, Inequality, and Power: The Making of a Modern Debt State.



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Daniel Amsterdam on the Business Campaign to Expand Government Spending


Tue, Aug 02, 2016




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David Harvey on A Brief History of Neoliberalism


Fri, Jul 01, 2016


Neoliberalism. It is a vexing term, especially for many in the United States. But it means to call attention to the policies that emphasized so-called free markets as well as the increased market regulation of society since the 1970s. Few texts have been as important for popularizing the analysis of the politics and economics of neoliberalism as David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Published a little more than decade ago, we decided to speak with him about his important book and his reflections about the past decade’s political economy, and what has changed and what has not since the great recession.

David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Director of Research at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics.



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Sujani Reddy on Nursing and Empire


Thu, Jun 02, 2016


The history of nursing is inextricable from the history of capitalism and imperialism. Our guest today, Sujani Reddy, helps us understand the history of nursing through the lives and experiences nurses who migrated to the U.S. from India, and what this reveals about gender, religion, and corporate philanthropy.

 

Sujani Reddy is Associate Professor of American Studies at SUNY Old Westbury. She is author of Nursing and Empire: Gendered Labor and Migration from India to the United States.



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Sherene Seikaly on Economic Thought in British Mandate Palestine


Mon, May 02, 2016


Historian Sherene Seikaly uncovered a group of elite Palestinian men in 1930s and 1940s who articulated a national economic vision for Palestine before the founding of Israel. Listen to learn more about how debates about Palestinian independence from British rule hinged on pan-Arab ideas about class, trade, and profit during these decades in a story that moves beyond our contemporary understanding of Israel and Palestine.



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Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on Black Lives Matter and Black Liberation


Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Few social justice struggles have captivated recent political history like the broad Black Lives Matter movement. From the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore to campaign rally interruptions of leading politicians, we have seen people speak up in outrage about injustices of policing, racist violence, wealth inequality and much more. What does this cycle of struggle have to do with the history of capitalism?

In addition to these questions, our guest today, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, asks "Can the conditions created by institutional racism be transformed within the existing capitalist order?”.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Her book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, was recently published by Haymarket Books.



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Eric Rauchway on How FDR and Keynes Ended the Depression


Mon, Feb 01, 2016


We've been hearing a lot about economist John Maynard Keynes' midcentury economic plans for the U.S. since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. Are the measures that Keynes and FDR took to combat the Depression in 2008 relevant to the present? What is the difference between fiscal and monetary policy, and how might changing our national approach to the monetary supply help our economic circumstances? Listen to find out!



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Leigh Claire La Berge on Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s


Fri, Jan 01, 2016


What stories do we tell about finance? How does financial print culture shape our lives? Our guest today explores the narratives we have been told, and tell, about finance. A literary scholar, Leigh Claire La Berge writes about the representations of finance in years after 1979 and how many of the stories we tell about finance—that it is abstract and exceedingly complicated—took hold in this era.

Leigh Claire La Berge is Assistant Professor of English in the Department of English at BMCC CUNY. Her book Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s was recently published by Oxford University Press. You can read more about her work here.



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Jennifer Mittelstadt on the Rise of the Military Welfare State


Wed, Dec 02, 2015


Have you seen those Facebook memes floating around, arguing that we shouldn't support a $15 minimum wage for service sector workers because the military doesn't earn a living wage? Jennifer Mittelstadt tells us how these stark lines were drawn between the military and the civilian economy - and on how military welfare affects us all.



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Mike Elk on Media Workers Unite


Sun, Nov 01, 2015


On this month’s episode, we talk to the journalist Mike Elk about a new group called Media Workers Unite and their “Louisville Statement of Media Workers Rights.” Media Workers Unite are creating a public conversation about the labor conditions of contemporary journalists, with an eye towards bettering these conditions.



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Phil Tiemeyer on Male Flight Attendants and Sexuality in the Workplace


Tue, Sep 01, 2015


Today’s guest discusses the history of sexuality in the workplace through the lens of male flight attendants. We speak with Phil Tiemeyer about the shifts and changes in the airline industry across the 20th century. Phil steers us through this history and reveals the importance and difficulty of braiding together race, gender, and sexuality in a study of the labor and capitalism.

 

 

 

Phil Tiemeyer is Associate Professor of History at Philadelphia University. He is author of Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants. You can read more about his work here.

 



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Live Show: Who Makes Cents with Belabored


Sat, Aug 01, 2015


In July, we joined our friends from Dissent magazine's Belabored podcast to discuss the history of capitalism and how journalists and academics writing about labor and business can work together. Listen to the live recording of our show at 61 Local in Brooklyn, New York!



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Suzanna Reiss on Drug Control, Coca-Cola, and Pharmaceuticals


Wed, Jul 01, 2015


Today’s guest discusses the history of the coca leaf and the U.S. drug control regime. Amongst other topics, we discuss the importance of coca to both Coca-Cola and Merck and the pharmaceutical industry. For Suzanna Reiss, this provides a way to interpret the history of capitalism across the mid-twentieth century and after.

 

 

 

Suzanna Reiss is Associate Professor of History at the University of Hawai’i at M?noa. She is author of We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire. You can read more about her work here.

 

 

 

For our New York area listeners, we will be having a live conversation with our friends from Dissent Magazine’s Belabored Podcast.

 

On July 7th at 7 PM at 61 Local in Brooklyn (61 Bergen St.) we’ll be speaking with Belabored hosts Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen about the histories of labor and capitalism.

 



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Jenifer Van Vleck on Empire of the Air


Wed, Jun 03, 2015


Today's guest discusses the history of aviation and how this provides a lens to interpret the history of capitalism and U.S. foreign relations across the twentieth century. Amongst other topics, Jenifer Van Vleck tells us how the airline industry helped solve various political and logistical challenges for the U.S. government during World War II and how the airlines relied on the government and vice-versa.

 

Jenifer Van Vleck is Assistant Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. She is author of Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy. You can read more about her work here.

 



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Deb Cowen on the Deadly Life of Logistics


Fri, May 01, 2015


Our guest today tells us that the seemingly straightforward field of logistics lies at the heart of contemporary globalization, imperialism, and economic inequality. Listen to Deb Cowen discuss how the field of logistics reshaped global capitalism, undermined worker power, and even transformed how we think about life and death.



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Kim Phillips-Fein on the businessmen's crusade against the New Deal


Wed, Apr 01, 2015


Kim Phillips-Fein discusses her book Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal.

Today we'll focus on the history of resistance to the New Deal. Kim Phillips-Fein details how many of the most prominent elites had their ideas and practices shaped by groups that were part of organized resistance to the New Deal. She argues that this history helps revise common understandings of the rise of conservatism in the 1970s and after.

 

 

 

 

 



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Thomas Palley on the Fed and Shared Prosperity


Sun, Mar 01, 2015


Ever wonder what the Fed does and why? How are interest rates connected to how hard it is for you to find a job? We chat with economist Thomas Palley about how the Fed is a political institution that has betrayed its mandate to provide the highest possible rates of employment to American workers since the 1970s.



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Christina Hanhardt on Gay Neighborhoods and Violence


Wed, Jan 07, 2015


Christina Hanhardt discusses her book Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence.

Today we’ll focus on how the history of quality of life policing connects to the history of gay neighborhood politics. By looking at the gay neighborhoods in San Francisco and New York City, Christina Hanhardt will also shed light on what focusing on real estate, housing, violence, and the politics of place have to do with the history of capitalism.



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Ellie Shermer on Local Elites Creating a “Good Business Climate”


Fri, Dec 05, 2014


Ellie Shermer discusses her book Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics.

On this episode, we speak to Ellie Shermer about how local elites in Phoenix crafted a "business climate" that made Pheonix hospitable to industry and shaped both the modern sunbelt and contemporary politics.



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Andrew Needham on electricity and the Southwest


Mon, Nov 03, 2014


Andrew Needham discusses his new book, Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest

Power Lines shows that we can't think of the modern southwest without the energy that makes such places possible. Through this, he knits together a metropolitan geography that connects Phoenix with the places where it got its electricity--most prominently, coal from the Navajo Nation.



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N.D.B. Connolly on Race and Real Estate in Miami


Wed, Sep 03, 2014


N.D.B. Connolly discusses how examining the ownership of real estate in Miami changes our perspective on the history of capitalism and African American history in the twentieth century.

Ever wondered how real estate factors into American history? Curious about the impact of landlord-tenant struggles on the history of race in America? Listen to find out.



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David Huyssen on Progressive Era Cross-Class Encounters


Fri, Aug 01, 2014


David Huyssen discusses how examining encounters between the wealthy and the working class in Progressive Era New York City challenges our perception of the period's reform.

Ever wondered what to make of the now-common argument that we're living in a "new Gilded Age," characterized by tremendous gaps between rich and poor? Curious how the Progressive Era might be a cautionary tale for the present? Listen to find out.



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Sarah Nicolazzo on 18th Century Vagrancy


Wed, Jul 02, 2014


Sarah Nicolazzo discusses how studying literature can shed light on the history of capitalism – and how the 18th century cultural and legal category of vagrancy shaped the development of labor markets.

Ever wondered about the longer history of police programs to push certain people out of public space - like L.A.'s Safer Cities Initiative or New York City's stop and frisk policy?  Curious how literature can shed light on the history of capitalism?  Want to know what Adam Smith has to do with the concept of vagrancy?  Listen to find out.



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Julia Ott on the History of Widespread Stock Ownership


Mon, Jun 02, 2014


Julia Ott discusses how the majority of Americans came to be stock owners.

Ever wondered how stockowners came to be some of the most important players in American capitalism?  Why do so many Americans own stocks and bonds, and how did we all come to be investors?  Who benefits and who loses in our system of investment?  How does our system of "investor democracy" shape American lives?  Listen to find out.



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Louis Hyman on the History of Consumer Credit


Thu, May 01, 2014


Louis Hyman of Cornell University discusses the changing shape of consumer credit since World War II.  Ever wondered how the credit card came to be?  Who benefits and who loses in our system of consumer credit?  Or how debt shapes American lives?  Listen to find out.



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