Edward E. Baptist

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[Cross-posted from New Books in American Studies] An unflinching examination of the trauma, violence, opportunism, and vision that combined to create the empire for slavery that was the Old South, Ed Baptist‘s new book The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, 2014) challenges popular conceptions of that region that imagine it as a land of proud men, genteel ladies, and an antiquated, inefficient system of labor. The slavery that Baptist uncovers is dynamic, relentless, brutal, and extremely profitable. Surviving it, he shows, was an impressive accomplishment all its own. And its role in driving the development of American capitalism in the formative years of the republic raises troubling questions about the legacy of slavery in contemporary times.

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Tim AndersonPopular Music in a Digital Music Economy: Problems and Practices for an Emerging Service Industry

August 23, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Popular Music] Since the 1990s, the music industry has been going through a massive transformation. After World War II, the primary way audiences participated in the music business in the period between 1945 and 1990 was by purchasing records and attending concerts. The internet and the mp3 file, however, have changed how [...]

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John Nathan AndersonRadio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the 21st Century

June 20, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Media and Communications] John Nathan Anderson’s new book, Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2014), documents the somewhat tortured path of broadcast radio’s digital transition in the United States.  Beginning his analysis with rise of neoliberal communications policy in the 1980s, Anderson charts the development of the idea of digitalization by closely [...]

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Vili Lehdonvirta and Edward CastronovaVirtual Economies: Design and Analysis

June 19, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Book in Technology] The continued growth of online gaming and virtual worlds has effects not only in the analog world, with games and social media organizations taking stock options public, but also in the worlds created online. Many games and platforms allow users to involve themselves in virtual labor, to own property, and most [...]

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James W. RussellSocial Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis

May 20, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Sociology] Jim Russell is a sociologist and it was his encounter with the hidden realities of his own 401(k) retirement plan that touched off his crusade to demystify for himself, and then others, just what was at stake in the options presented by private and public retirement plans. In Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and [...]

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Brett ScottThe Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money

May 19, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Brett Scott is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money (Pluto Press, 2013). Scott is a journalist, urban deep ecologist, and Fellow at the Finance Innovation Lab. While much of Scott’s book focuses on explaining various aspects of the financial services section, the heart of the book [...]

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Benjamin RadcliffThe Political Economy of Human Happiness: How Voters’ Choices Determine the Quality of Life

May 1, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Big Ideas] Americans are very politically divided. Democrats say we need a more powerful welfare state while Republicans say we need to maintain the free market. The struggle, we are constantly informed, is one of ideas. And that it is in the worst possible sense, for neither the Democrats nor Republicans [...]

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Nicholas CarnesWhite-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making

March 31, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Nicholas Carnes is the author of White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Carnes is an assistant professor of public policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. There is surprisingly little in the research literature on the link between social [...]

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Odette LienauRethinking Sovereign Debt: Politics, Reputation, and Legitimacy in Modern Finance

March 9, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Law] In 1927 Russian-American legal theorist Alexander Sack introduced the doctrine of “odious debt.” Sack argued that a state’s debt is “odious” and should not be transferable to successor governments after a revolution, if it was incurred without the consent of the people; and not for their benefit. This doctrine has [...]

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Timothy ShenkMaurice Dobb: Political Economist

February 22, 2014

[Cross-post from New Books in Intellectual History] The British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb is now largely forgotten. That’s too bad for a number of reasons. He was a brilliant thinker who wrote some of the most insightful analyses of the development and workings of capitalism around. You can still read his work and profit. He was [...]

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