Capital Gains
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Capital Gains
Business and Politics in Twentieth-Century America

Edited by Richard R. John and Kim Phillips-Fein

312 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2016 | ISBN 9780812248821 | $55.00s | Outside the Americas £42.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture
View table of contents and excerpt

"With Capital Gains, the scholarly push to revive political economy and craft a new history of 20th century business, politics, and capitalism has found its vehicle. No longer can we cast 'business elites' as the thoughtless tools of the capitalist machine. Through rich, compelling archival research and authoritative historiographical analysis, these sophisticated essays make a powerful case for business as a multi-dimensional, ideologically diverse set of historical actors—just as eager to wield governing power as to limit it. To understand how capital gains influence today's global political economy, there is no better place to begin than with this exciting new history of capitalism in the United States."—Benjamin Waterhouse, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"What is the most productive way to study the history of capitalism? The authors in this volume pursue a multidisciplinary approach and believe in the importance of institutions and public policy. For these reasons, Capital Gains is a valuable contribution to the historiography of the twentieth-century United States."—Kenneth Lipartito, Florida International University

Recent events—the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and efforts to increase the minimum wage, among others—have driven a tremendous surge of interest in the political power of business. Capital Gains collects some of the most innovative new work in the field. The chapters explore the influence of business on American politics in the twentieth century at the federal, state, and municipal levels. From corporate spending on city governments in the 1920s to business support for public universities in the postwar period, and from business opposition to the Vietnam War to the corporate embrace of civil rights, the contributors reveal an often surprising portrait of the nation's economic elite.
Contrary to popular mythology, business leaders have not always been libertarian or rigidly devoted to market fundamentalism. Before, during, and after the New Deal, important parts of the business world sought instead to try to shape what the state could accomplish and to make sure that government grew in ways that were favorable to them. Appealing to historians working in the fields of business history, political history, and the history of capitalism, these essays highlight the causes, character, and consequences of business activism and underscore the centrality of business to any full understanding of the politics of the twentieth century—and today.
Contributors: Daniel Amsterdam, Brent Cebul, Jennifer Delton, Tami Friedman, Eric Hintz, Richard R. John, Pamela Walker Laird, Kim Phillips-Fein, Laura Phillips Sawyer, Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Eric Smith, Jason Scott Smith, Mark R. Wilson.

Richard R. John is Professor of History at Columbia University.
Kim Phillips-Fein is Associate Professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.

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