102 episodes

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.

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast Jessica Levy and Dylan Gottlieb

    • History
    • 4.9 • 108 Ratings

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.

    Cheryl Narumi Naruse on Singapore, Postcolonial Capitalism, and Becoming Global Asia

    Cheryl Narumi Naruse on Singapore, Postcolonial Capitalism, and Becoming Global Asia

    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 discussed include Singapore’s relationship with a core constituency of Global Asia, namely Overseas Singaporeans, genres of postcolonial capitalism, and much, much more.

    • 31 min
    Ben Waterhouse on the Dream and Reality of Self Employment

    Ben Waterhouse on the Dream and Reality of Self Employment

    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 centuries? In his new book, One Day I'll Work for Myself: The Dream and Delusion That Conquered America, Ben Waterhouse answers precisely those questions. He explains how the rise of self-employment dates back to the economic transformations of the 1970s and intensified during the decades of precarity that followed. In our wide-ranging conversation, we touch on everything from franchise jurisprudence to the gig economy to the surprising story behind the Sam Adams beer company.

    • 39 min
    Brent Cebul on Business, Inequality, and American Liberalism

    Brent Cebul on Business, Inequality, and American Liberalism

    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 their visions of progress to the local needs of capital. In the process, they’ve ended up entrenching the very inequalities that they had set out to solve in the first place.
     

    • 45 min
    Tim Keogh on Suburban Poverty and the Roots of Postwar Inequality

    Tim Keogh on Suburban Poverty and the Roots of Postwar Inequality

    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 other programs facilitated a dramatic rise in suburban homeownership after WWII, while laregely restricting access through covenants and zoning laws to White Americans.
    But is this the full story? In this month's episode, Tim Keogh challenges this narrative, demonstrating that for many the postwar American suburban dream was more myth than reality. Alongside exclusive white middle-class communities, Keogh explains how the suburbs have long served as home to low-income residents, whose labor in construction, retail, childcare and a range of other low-wage jobs helped enable suburban prosperity in the absence of a robust welfare state. Along the way, we explore the policy decisions that helped to ensure poverty's persistence alongside prosperity and what we can do today to eliminate poverty wherever it might appear.
     
     

    • 46 min
    Premilla Nadasen on the Care Economy and the Potential for Radical Care

    Premilla Nadasen on the Care Economy and the Potential for Radical Care

    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 benefit from public investment in care; what it's like for those who work in the care industry; and what a caring society built on radical care, as opposed to care-for-profit, might look like. 

    • 41 min
    Hannah Forsyth on the Rise and Fall of the Professional Class in the Anglophone World

    Hannah Forsyth on the Rise and Fall of the Professional Class in the Anglophone World

    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 professions and virtue; racial, gendered, and class identities among professionals; and the intensifying battle between professionals and managers. Once seen as allied in administering the global welfare state, professionals and managers, in recent decades, have increasingly found themselves on opposing sides—a conflict made pronounced, in the United States, at least, by a series of recent teachers and nurses strikes, among other examples.

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
108 Ratings

108 Ratings

Diane Ludlow ,

Marcia Chatlain on McDonald’s

This podcast was a terrific intro to the intersection between capitalism and structural racism, and the mixed role of corporate America in bringing about change when it benefits the brand, while failing to recognize its own role in perpetuating “second” class minority franchise success. Can’t wait for next month’s selection.

wonderin" mind ,

Beyond infotainment

This podcast familiarizes the listener with the work of a new scholar each week- it’s like readers digest but with academic books and in audio format. I’ve just listened to them all and I hope they make many more; it is a true public service to report on these kind of ideas.

djdudhehshfjsbdhfhrjf ,

Needed podcast

This is a great podcast covering great topics. I would enjoy it even more if the speaker was asked each time to provide a brief overview of their work and *conclusions*. Some of the podcasts spend all their time on why the speaker chose their topic or otherwise delving deep into the backstory of the research, and the overall findings and conclusions of the work sometimes do not come through and we’re left wondering how, in fact, business elites opposed the New Deal and influenced it institutionally for example!!

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