Articles & Blogs Presenting Historical Perspectives

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Tea and Capitalism

“The story of Asia has been fundamental to the transformation of the global political economy since the late-20th century, but it has often been marginalised in accounts of neoliberal capitalism that focused on a handful of intellectuals in Euro-America. In turn, these accounts struggle to make sense of the rise of China, without a deeper understanding of how the history of capitalism has long been intertwined with the region.”

The Economy and Religion: Two Worlds? Catholic Thoughts on the Spirit of Capitalism

Economy and morality, or rather, capitalism and its ‘religious-ethical despisers’: two worlds and never the twain shall meet? On the contrary: the economic domain is not and has never been without morals and beliefs. Historically, Catholicism has contributed to the spirit of contemporary capitalism. But modern Catholic social thought has gradually developed a vision that suggests a conversion of the present global system. I will argue that it is necessary to continue the dialogue, not only because economists and faith traditions can critically contribute to each other, but also because this fosters the self-understanding of both faith traditions and economists.

As States Weigh Human Lives versus the Economy, History Suggests the Economy Often Wins

“The right time to start opening up sectors of the economy has been up for debate. […] As a historian of early America who has written about tobacco and the aftermath of an epidemic in New England, I’ve seen similar considerations made in the face of disease outbreaks. And I believe that there are crucial lessons to be drawn from two 17th-century outbreaks during which economic interests of a select few won out over moral concerns.”

How the Last Two Centuries Led to Today’s Economy

“Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money, can trace a line through time from homemade clothing and baked goods to today’s passion economy. Davidson argues that a combination of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are how we got to where we are. We shifted from an intimate and localized economy of goods and services, to an economy of scale, and finally to what Davidson refers to as ‘intimacy at scale.’ There are, of course, positive attributes to this hybrid economic system, but it also comes with some of the flaws of its predecessors.”

The Cantillon Effect: Why Wall Street Gets a Bailout and You Don’t

“According to the 18th-century French banker and philosopher Richard Cantillon, who benefits when the state prints money is based on its institutional setup. In the 18th century, this meant that the closer you were to the king and the wealthy, the more you benefitted, and the further away you were, the more you were harmed. The same is true today, with the Fed’s anti-pandemic liquidity measures benefitting hedge funds and private equity firms first.”

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