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Dwight Billings—Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Kentucky, preeminent scholar of Appalachia, and occasional contributor to this blog—just completed a chapter for a collection of critical responses to J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, edited by Anthony Harkins, which will be published by West Virginia University Press. He has kindly agreed to allow me to publish […]

Themes of 2016

Posted: 6 January 2017 in Uncategorized

Looking back over the past year, here are the ten major themes I found in my blog posts: inequality critique of mainstream economics the U.S. presidential election, especially Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump class and surplus epistemology, especially uncertainty utopia working-class corporations and capital academy critique of liberalism We’ll see what happens in the current year. . […]

The Guardian reports that “white and wealthy voters gave victory to Donald Trump.” Of the one in three Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year, a majority voted for Clinton. A majority of those who earn more backed Trump. Yes, that’s right, according to the CNN exit polls (as in the top chart above). Both […]

Back in 2013 (and in a series of other posts), I have argued that neoliberalism (including so-called “left neoliberalism,” as espoused by Hillary Clinton and her new runnning-mate Tim Kaine) is not a unified period or stage of capitalism but, rather, a project to remake the world. Therefore, what we’re living through now is a […]

Dan Rodrick, like most mainstream economists, wouldn’t know left-wing economics if it bit him on the proverbial nose (as I explained in early 2015). What he’s really referring to—in his essay, “The Abdication of the Left”—is liberal economics, the left-of-center wing of mainstream economics. But, if you replace all his references to “the Left” with “liberalism,” you can read Rodrick’s latest column […]

George Monbiot makes a compelling case that the Left still needs to come up with a viable alternative to contemporary economic and social common sense. Monbiot summarizes that common sense as neoliberalism. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role […]

Year in review

Posted: 1 January 2018 in Uncategorized
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It’s the start of a new year, and thus the appropriate time to look back on the old one. Over the course of 2017, I cut back on the number of posts (to a total of about 600), partly because I decided not to post on weekends (other than cartoons) and partly because I shifted […]

Every public opinion survey I’ve seen in recent years shows a growing interest in socialism, especially among young people.* Socialism is an obvious solution to the most pressing economic and social problems threatening the world today, from growing inequality to climate change. But, as I’ve written before, socialism has many different meanings—both what it is […]

Beyond market vs. state

Posted: 7 August 2017 in Uncategorized

At one time, from the late-1970s until the last couple of years, Britain—or at least the British ruling class—was in love with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism was the common sense of both major political parties—the Tories and Labor (plus, the Conservative coalition partner Liberal Democrats)—as well as most large corporations and wealthy individuals. As Andy Beckett explains, […]

As I argued a couple of days ago, recent events—such as Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, and the rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn—have surprised many experts and shaken up the existing common sense. In short, they’ve rocked the neoliberal boat. The question is, where does this leave us? Thomas Edsall thinks it means we’ve […]