July 07, 2003
Books: Alan Furst: Dark Star

Alan Furst (1991), Dark Star (New York: Houghton Mifflin: 0006511317). When I talk to practically any of my undergraduates these days, I have a nearly impossible task to do when I try to convince them that the twentieth century has, after all, ended much better than it might have been. The half-full undergraduates talk of how wonderful and advanced our industrial civilization is, and how human progress to this point was nearly inevitable. The half-empty undergraduates talk about poverty in the developing world, inequality, and injustice, and seem deaf to the idea that the world we live in is much better than the world that we seemed headed for during the second quarter of this century. The Great Depression. Stalin's purges. World War II. Hitler's genocides--they have read about these, but they are not *real*, and the idea that for decades people thought that the forces headed by Stalin or by Hitler were the wave of the future (or the last chance to stop an even greater evil) does not penetrate below the surface. So the next time I teach a course on the entire politico-economic history of the twentieth century, I think I may assign Alan Furst's novel Dark...

Posted by DeLong at 09:49 PM

May 14, 2003
Notes: Chiaki Moriguchi: Last Economic History Seminar: "Did American Firms Break Their Welfare Capitalist Promises During the Great Depression?"

Chiaki Moriguchi from Northwestern. Here to talk about welfare capitalism--or maybe better to call it corporate welfarism--in the U.S. in the 1920 and 1930s. Vibrant, growing movement in the 1920s: corporations to provide social welfare benefits that the state would have provided in Europe. Collapse in the 1930s. Corporations wanted to cut costs, and with unemployment so high why bother on programs to attach workers to the firm? Loss of trust thereafter hard to regain--workers turned to CIO instead to negotiate for benefits, et cetera. Did the NLRA foreclose a return of corporate welfarism? Survival in high-wage high-skill firms: IBM, GE, Proctor and Gamble. Foreshadowing of modern HRM for skilled high-wage workers? Chiaki approaches the topic from a perspective that treats Japan--not the U.S., not western Europe--as the typical case. Very refreshing and instructive approach: to presume that welfare capitalism and company unions a la post-WWII Japan should be the rule in mass-production high-skill manufacturing, and to search for explanations for American divergence from the "natural" pattern... Great, great topic!...

Posted by DeLong at 05:22 PM

January 01, 1990
J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1990), "Price Level `Flexibility' and the Coming of the New Deal: A Response to Sumner," Cato Journal 9: 1 (Winter), pp. 729-735.

J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers (1990), "Price Level `Flexibility' and the Coming of the New Deal: A Response to Sumner," Cato Journal 9: 1 (Winter), pp. 729-735....

Posted by DeLong at 03:04 PM

September 01, 1989
J. Bradford DeLong (1989), "Facets of Interwar Unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics 49:3 (September), pp. 800-802.

J. Bradford DeLong (1989), "Facets of Interwar Unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics 49:3 (September), pp. 800-802....

Posted by DeLong at 02:02 PM