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Teresa Ghilarducci on the Past and Future of Retirement

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

Release Date: 06/03/2024

Elizabeth Ingleson on the Past and Present of Made in China show art Elizabeth Ingleson on the Past and Present of Made in China

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

Today, China is the U.S. third largest trading partner and second-largest source of imports. This wasn’t always the case. Indeed, in the 1970s, when the United States first began trading with communist China after several decades, few could have foreseen such a scenario. In this episode, guest Elizbeth Ingleson reveals the surprising story of how two Cold War foes found common cause in transforming China’s economy into a source of cheap labor. Along the way, we discuss some of the key policy decisions and Chinese and American actors, including U.S. business, that facilitated China’s...

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Teresa Ghilarducci on the Past and Future of Retirement show art Teresa Ghilarducci on the Past and Future of Retirement

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

When we study capitalism, we usually focus on the active time in people’s lives: the moments where things like work, consumption, production, trade, accumulation, and exchange all happen. But Teresa Ghilarducci, the guest on this week’s episode, argues that capitalism also shapes what happens next, in that period after people’s working lives have come to an end. Teresa’s new book, Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy tells the story of how retirement—just like work—has become much more precarious over the past several decades. It’s a story about...

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

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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Ben Waterhouse on the Dream and Reality of Self Employment show art Ben Waterhouse on the Dream and Reality of Self Employment

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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Brent Cebul on Business, Inequality, and American Liberalism show art Brent Cebul on Business, Inequality, and American Liberalism

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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Tim Keogh on Suburban Poverty and the Roots of Postwar Inequality show art Tim Keogh on Suburban Poverty and the Roots of Postwar Inequality

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

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...

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Bart Elmore on Southern Companies Remaking our Economy and the Planet show art Bart Elmore on Southern Companies Remaking our Economy and the Planet

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

An iced cold Coca-Cola. A cross-country flight on Delta to visit friends. A much-needed medication overnighted via Fed-Ex. Bulk toilet paper purchased at Wal-Mart. What do these items have in common?  In today’s modern economy, each of these can be purchased from the comfort of the couch, frequently with a credit card pioneered by Bank of America. They are all also from companies headquartered in the American South. In this month's episode, historian Bart Elmore explains how corporations from the American South helped make it possible for us to satisfy our desires from the convenience...

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Mark Erlich on the Way We Build and Restoring Dignity to Construction Work show art Mark Erlich on the Way We Build and Restoring Dignity to Construction Work

Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast

This month's episode gives a nod to one of the figures in our logo: the construction worker. Our guest, Mark Erlich has worked in the construction industry as a carpenter and union leader for a half century. In this episode, he shares his insights on the industry's past, present, and future, paying particular attention to the politics and material conditions surrounding construction work. In response to those who argue that today's labor shortages in the construction industry are the result of societal preferences, Erlich points to the decades-long degradation of construction work, including...

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More Episodes

When we study capitalism, we usually focus on the active time in people’s lives: the moments where things like work, consumption, production, trade, accumulation, and exchange all happen. But Teresa Ghilarducci, the guest on this week’s episode, argues that capitalism also shapes what happens next, in that period after people’s working lives have come to an end.

Teresa’s new book, Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy tells the story of how retirement—just like work—has become much more precarious over the past several decades. It’s a story about politics, about demographics, about economics. How we pay for retirement, she reveals, tells us a lot about what we value in our society, and how that’s changed over time. And along the way, she offers us a few policy proposals that just might remedy the way we handle retirement today.