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.
Rebecca Marchiel on Redlining, Financial Deregulation, and the Urban Reinvestment Movement
The iconic Home Owners’ Loan Corporation maps, created during the New Deal, have served as powerful illustrations of red-lining. Yet, they suggest a more static relationship between financial institutions and cities than actually existed. In this episode, Rebecca Marchiel offers a riveting account of the urban reinvestment movement, a multi-racial coalition of activists that opposed redlining, while also revealing the obstacles they faced from bankers and government officials in implementing their vision.
Katie Hindmarch-Watson on London's Telecommunications Work and Serving a Wired World
Modern telecommunications is often beset with concerns about privacy of information. Such concerns are not new. Rather, as Katie Hindmarch-Watson shows, they have long plagued information workers whose bodily and gendered labor was central to the development of Victorian-era London's telecommunications industry. Through tales of misbehaving telegraph boys and "wicked" telephone girls, she offers a cultural and gendered history of telecommunications work with deep implications for today's service economy.
Shennette Garrett-Scott on Black Women in Finance
In this episode, Shennette Garrett-Scott explores black financial innovation and its transformative impact on U.S. capitalism through the story of the St. Luke Bank in Richmond, Virginia: the first and only bank run by black women. Garrett-Scott chronicles both the bank’s success and the challenges this success wrought, including bureaucratic violence that targeted the bank. Through recounting the history of the St. Luke Bank, Garrett-Scott gives black women in finance the attention they deserve.
Aaron Jakes on Colonial Economism and Egypt's Occupation
In Egypt's Occupation, Aaron Jakes challenges longstanding conceptions of Egypt as peripheral to global capitalism based on its role as a cotton producer through showing how Egypt functioned as a laboratory for colonial economism and financial innovation amid the turn of the twentieth-century boom and bust. In doing so, Jakes offers a sweeping reinterpretation of both the historical geography of capitalism and the role of political-economic thought during the British occupation of Egypt.
Casey Lurtz on Globalization from the Grounds Up
In From the Grounds Up: Building an Export Economy in Southern Mexico, Casey Lurtz tells the history of how a border region, the Soconusco, became Mexico’s leading coffee exporter. In doing so, she complicates narratives of globalization and economic liberalization that tend to prioritize national and global elites. Rather, as the title suggests, she digs below the surface of these processes in order to tell a powerful story about local engagement with capitalism and the state.
Caleb McDaniel on Slavery and Restitution
For those that argue that reparations are not possible or that too much time has passed, Caleb McDaniel has an important story to tell about a formerly enslaved woman named Henrietta Wood who sued for restitution in 1870 and won; paid $2,500, the largest known sum awarded by a U.S. court for restitution for slavery. Wood’s story offers valuable lessons about the history of slavery and freedom, and the lengths that different people went to in order to achieve both.
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The best podcast in existence. Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
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.
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.