United States Capitol

America Is Headed Toward Collapse

How has America slid into its current age of discord? Why has our trust in institutions collapsed, and why have our democratic norms unraveled?
Food with prices in store window display

The FTC May Crack Down on Price Discrimination. Will It Matter?

The Robinson-Patman Act was supposed to prevent price discrimination — but consumers wanted cheap goods.
American flag sign that reads "NWRO," "I support a guaranteed adequate income for all Americans"

Escape from the Market

Far from spelling the end of anti-market politics, basic income proposals are one place where it can and has flourished.
Colorful abstract art

The Writers’ Strike Opens Old Wounds

The deep roots of the latest WGA strike.
Sculpture of Thinking Woman, by Louis Fleckenstein, 20th century.

The Birth of Brainstorming

Meet the self-help author who wanted to teach corporate America how to think.
Tenant farmers picking cotton in Mississippi circa 1890.

The Black Populist Movement Has Been Snuffed Out of the History Books

Often forgotten today, the black populists and their acts of cross-racial solidarity terrified the planter class, who responded with violence and Jim Crow laws.
Aerial view of Pennsylvania's Eastern State Penitentiary, 19th century.

Untangling the 19th Century Roots of Mass Incarceration

Popular accounts often trace the origins of forced penal labor to the post-Civil War South. But a vast system of forced penal labor existed in the antebellum North.
Big Bill Haywood, Adolph Lessing, and Carlo Tresca, Paterson, New Jersey, 1913.

The Wobblies and the Dream of One Big Union

A new history examines the lost promise and fierce persecution of the IWW.
The Federal Reserve building under ominous black clouds.

The Federal Reserve Exists to Protect The Economic Status Quo

What is the Federal Reserve, and who put it in charge? Is there no other way to fight inflation? Just what the hell is going on here?
Prominent writers Billy Wilder and Gore Vidal (right and second from right) join a writers’ picket line at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles, June 25, 1981. (Bettmann / Getty Images)

Hollywood Screenwriters Have Always Known That Moviemaking Is a Form of Labor

Stretching back to Hollywood’s Golden Age, writers and many others in the industry have fought for their rights as workers.
Bylaw excerpt of racial restrictions in housing.

A New Law Addresses the Harm Done by Decades of Racist Housing Practices

The Washington state law provides low-interest loans for down payments for those harmed by racially restrictive covenants.
Anti-Apartheid Rally, June 14, 1986, New York City.

Coke Money and Apartheid Divestment in U.S. Higher Education

US corporations, with universities as one of their stages, masqueraded as agents of Black solidarity while undermining the demands of African liberation movements.
A collage shows a white hand segregating Black Americans.

No Breakthrough in Sight

More than fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, inequality and segregation persists. What went wrong?
Boxing great Joe Louis stands in a gymnasium boxing ring as if ready for a match.

How Racist Car Dealers KO’d Joe Louis

A never-before-published tranche of letters reveals the white-collar racism that prevented the world’s most popular athlete from selling Fords.
Flight attendant serving a full meal.

Remembering the Golden Age of Airline Food

Why were in-flight meals so much better in the past?
An ad for a runaway slave in the Virginia Gazette, describing Thomas Greenwich, an "East-India Indian."

“Of the East India Breed …”

The first South Asians in British North America.
Two horses and jockeys racing on a track.

There Won’t Be Any Black Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby. That’s Not New.

Black jockeys dominated 19th-century American horse racing, but racism chased them away and undoing that damage has been slow going.
Political cartoon of the Lincoln Administration, reading "Running the 'Machine'", 1864.

Blues, Grays & Greenbacks

How Lincoln's administration financed the Civil War and transformed the nation's decentralized economy into the global juggernaut of the postwar centuries.
A First Republic Bank sign.

First Republic and Our Undemocratic Bailout System

Regulators with no democratic accountability keep bailing out banks and big depositors — at the cost of billions to taxpayers.
Campaign signs from the Carpenters and Millwrights union supporting Michigan Governor Grace Whitmer.

Michigan Repealed Its ‘Right-to-Work’ Law, a Victory for Organized Labor

Labor activists can learn from the decades-long campaign to undermine their influence by focusing on state-level action to bolster their cause.
Lithograph of the Haymarket riot.

Chicago Never Forgot the Haymarket Martyrs

Ever since the execution of labor radicals in 1886, reactionaries have tried to tarnish their legacy — and leftists have honored them as working-class martyrs.

Anatomy of an ‘American Transit Disaster’

In his new book, historian Nicholas Dagen Bloom chronicles the collapse of public transportation in US cities — and explains who really deserves the blame.
From left to right portraits of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

The 40-Year Path that Left the GOP Unable to Balance the Budget

First, the GOP became the party of tax cuts and now it won't touch entitlements — which makes a balanced budget nearly impossible.
CEO Eli Black (middle) talking with farmers at a lettuce farm.

The Banana King Who (Tried to) Put People Over Profits

1970s United Fruit CEO Eli Black got caught between the warring ideals of ‘social responsibility’ and shareholder gains.
Eugene Debs with Texas and Oklahoma socialists, c. 1910–14.

Texas Was Once a Hotbed of Socialism

In the early 1900s heyday of the Socialist Party, Texas boasted a vibrant state party that attracted oppressed farmers in droves.
An Arkansas girl in migrant camp near Greenfield, Salinas Valley, Calif., 1939. (Dorothea Lange / Heritages Images via Getty Images)

How Reading “The Economist” Helped Me to Stop Worrying About White Supremacy

A recent viral sensation identifies the migration of poor whites as the cause of the problem—letting the rest of us off the hook!
Signage for Hachette Book Group is displayed at BookExpo America in New York.

When You Buy a Book, You Can Loan It to Anyone. This Judge Says Libraries Can’t. Why Not?

The lawsuit against Controlled Digital Lending is about giving corporations—rather than readers, buyers, borrowers, or authors—control over content.
Dilapidated traffic sign reading "School Bus Stop Ahead."

Child Labor In America Is Back In A Big Way

The historical record says we shouldn’t be surprised.
Drawing of performers and different audio technologies.

The End of the Music Business

A century of recorded music has culminated in the infinite archive of streaming platforms. But is it really better for listeners?

The Middle Hutchinson: Elisha, 1641-1717

By leading the risky but eventually successful financial operation, Elisha justified his name.