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economic history



  • 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.”



  • It Didn’t Have to Be Like This

    The New Deal, per historian Eric Rauchway, illustrates the relationship between the American economy and American democracy.



  • The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now

    by Nomi Prins

    Monetary policy responses to the current crisis can't fix either the structural problems that make the economy vulnerable to severe disruption or the virus and public health crisis that underlie that disruption. Governments must choose to take coordinated action on multiple fronts. 



  • The Unluckiest Generation In U.S. History

    Economic data suggest that Millennials aren't just complaining. Their early years on the job market have been affected by the Great Recession and COVID and seen less growth than any other generation.



  • Is Capitalism Racist?

    Nicholas Lemann considers Walter Johnson's new book The Broken Heart of America in light of recent debates among historians about the relationship of slavery, capitalism and racism.