Residents of Icaria, Iowa.

The 19th-Century Novel That Inspired a Communist Utopia on the American Frontier

The Icarians thought they could build a paradise, but their project was marked by failure almost from the start.
Collage illustration of a civil rights protest, inflated gas prices, and a Richard Nixon campaign poster.

Why America Abandoned the Greatest Economy in History

Was the country’s turn toward free-market fundamentalism driven by race, class, or something else? Yes.
A scene from the film Orphans of the Storm depicting a group carrying a sign bearing the slogan “Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité,” 1921.

The History of Equality: It’s Complicated

The strange and contradicting development of the liberal version of egalitarianism.
Illustration of multiple people drawing the same cover of a book

Big Publishing Killed the Author

How corporations wrested creative control from writers and editors—to produce less interesting books.
Political cartoon depicting busts of Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan on a mantle with spider webs.

The End of Milton Friedman’s Reign

The Chicago school ruled supreme over economics—until recently.
Donald Trump, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Vince McMhaon at a press conference before Wrestlemania 23, 2007.

The Misunderstood History of American Wrestling

A recent biography of Vince McMahon presents him as an entertainment tycoon who changed culture and politics. The real story is as banal as it is brutal.
Hand holding a gun painted like the American flag.

The Real Origins of America’s Gun Culture

“Gun Country” chronicles the transformation of guns from tangible weapons to ideological ammunition during the Cold War.
Conference of Studio Unions' months-long strike against Hollywood studios in 1945.

How Hollywood’s Black Friday Strike Changed Labor Across America

A 1945 union vs. studios battle set off broad right-wing hysteria—its lessons should resonate today.
Display selling nuts

“Girls, We Can’t Lose!”: In 1930s St Louis, Black Women Workers Went on Strike and Won

During the Great Depression, St. Louis's Funsten Nut Factory was racially divided. But Black workers went on strike — and got their white coworkers to join them.
UAW President Shawn Fain greeting striking Ford workers.

The Ghost of Reuther Past

The new UAW faces new challenges, but bears some distinct resemblances to the old.
Milton Friedman in front of a graph.

The Myth of the Friedman Doctrine

Friedman's viewpoint went far deeper and has been more lasting than the politics of 1970.
A hand reaches for stacks of coins and bills, superimposed on photos of factory smokestacks.

Profit, Power, and Purpose

The greatest challenge presented by modern corporations, small as well as large, involves purpose.
Swale Land, painting by Edward Mitchell Bannister, 1898, depicting nature.

Vacant Unsettled Lands

American thinkers consider what the already occupied West could fund.
A building with Amazon's logo

How Public Opinion May Decide the FTC Amazon Antitrust Suit

In the 1920s, electricity monopolies survived an antitrust investigation because they had won over the public.
AR-15 with the American flag attatched.

The Curse of the AR-15

How the gun became a cultural icon—and unmade America.
Shot of Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio hugging in Killers of the Flower Moon

Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon Describes the Struggles of the Osage People

Here’s why they are still fighting.
Quarter teetering on the edge of a plank of wood

The 1970s Economic Theory That Needs to Die

Turns out you can tame inflation without triggering a recession. Will the Federal Reserve accept the good news?
The low water level at Woodhead reservoir.

The “Tragedy of the Commons” Is a Dubious, Right-Wing Concept

The environmental crisis isn’t the result of the “tragedy of the commons.” It’s the result of the commons’ theft and privatization for profit.
American inventions over the past century.

Longer Commutes, Shorter Lives: The Costs of Not Investing in America

For decades, spending on the future put the nation ahead of all others. What would it take to revive that spirit?
View of a Boston Street, circa 1778.

Commissary Notes and the Dark History of Revolutionary Financing

From the outset of the American Revolution, a lingering problem that plagued the minds of the Continental Congress dealt with its financing.
Photo of college graduates throwing their caps in the air.

Borrowed to the Hilt

President Biden’s SAVE plan isn’t going to rescue the tens of millions of Americans that together owe more than $1.7 trillion.
Meeting of the Maguire Men outside a coal mine

Making Sense of the Molly Maguires Today

Who were the Molly Maguires, what did they do, and why did they do it?
President Clinton walks with Jiang Zemin past rows of Chinese soldiers.

It’s the Global Economy, Stupid

A new book on the Clinton presidency reveals how it abandoned a progressive vision for a finance-led agenda for economics and geopolitics.
Hand facing palm up and holding three pills.

Unreasonable Terms

How American drug companies have exploited government contracts to pursue profit over public interest.
Children in a Head Start classroom look out a window at others in the playground.

America Already Knows How to Address Child Poverty

The history of Head Start shows that child poverty is a choice.
Coke bottle littering a beach.

How Coke Killed the Refillable Bottle

Coke knew their plastic would trash the planet…and did it anyway.
Loggers standing next to logs floating down a river in the Oregon forests

Water Logs

Log drivers once steered loose timber on rivers across America before railroad expansion put such shepherds out of work.
The Yuchi people dressed for hunting

What a Historical Analysis of Gunpowder Can Teach Us About Gun Culture in the United States

An understanding of the history of gunpowder might be able to tell us how and why guns have become so widely accessible in the present-day United States.
The "fangs" of private equity dripping blood on the U.S. economy.

Conspicuous Destruction

Two books argue that private equity created an economic order in which getting rich quickly preempts other values, undermining companies and evading the law.
Photo of surgeons performing surgery in a dimly lit operation room.

For Hospitals, ‘Nonprofit’ Doesn't Mean ‘Charitable’

Medical debt has always been part of the history of nonprofit hospitals.