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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 […]

It wasn’t a homogeneous block—whether the white working-class or anti-immigrant nativists or the victims of globalization—that put Donald Trump into the White House. That’s the kind of reductionist narrative that has proliferated both before and after the fateful 2016 presidential election, all in an attempt to make sense of Trump’s “base.” Instead, it was a […]

According to recent news reports, Kevin Hassett, the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (no, I didn’t make that up), will soon be named the head of Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. Yes, that Kevin Hassett, the one who in 1999 predicted the Down […]

Now that President Trump has begun carrying out his campaign pledges to undo America’s trade ties, formally withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and announcing he will start to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, it’s time to analyze what this means. As it turns out, I’d already started to do this before the election, with […]

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. . […]

Class and Trumponomics

Posted: 6 December 2016 in Uncategorized

President-elect Donald Trump has inherited an economy that is as divided as the electorate. The question is, what will that economy look like if and when Trump’s right-wing national-populist promises and post-election proposals are enacted? As I have shown in the three installments of the first part of this series, “Class Before Trumponomics” (here, here, and here), […]

In the second installment of this series on “class before Trumponomics,” I argued that, in recent decades, while American workers have created enormous wealth, most of the increase in that wealth has been captured by their employers and a tiny group at the top—as workers have been forced to compete with one another for new kinds of jobs, with fewer protections, […]

In the first installment of this series on “class before Trumponomics,” I argued that the recovery from the crash of 2007-08 created conditions that were favorable to capital at the expense of labor—and that trend represented a continuation of the class dynamic that had characterized the U.S. economy for decades, going back at least to […]

  Right now, after Donald’s Trump surprising victory and in the midst of the messy transition, everyone is curious about how the U.S. economy will change if and when the president-elect’s economic policies are enacted.* But first things first. We need to have a clear understanding of what the U.S. economy looks like now, during the uneven […]

Yes, the late Richard Rorty got it spot on: Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being […]