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Fall 2021 / Volume V, Number 3
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Capital Hoarding versus Economic Growth

Governance for Good Jobs: The Need for Pro-Productivity Reforms

The writing is on the wall—or, rather, the doors. Following the failed passage of $2,000 stimulus checks in early January 2021, the two most powerful members of Congress found their homes vandalized. “Were’s [sic] my money” was spray-painted on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s front door in Kentucky. In San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s garage door…

Pandemic Preparedness: Fixing America’s Failing Medicine Supply Chain

The first recorded case of Covid-19 in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020—a person who traveled from Wuhan, China, to Washington State. As the virus spread across the country, global supply chains that are usually invisible suddenly became highly visible. News headlines tracked a surge in demand for personal protective gear for…

Ending America’s Antisocial Contract

Earlier this summer, ProPublica released a so-called bombshell report with income tax data leaked from the Internal Revenue Service. The report showed how little America’s twenty-five richest families paid in effective tax rates compared to the average American. How they paid so little was no surprise to anyone who has worked with high-net-worth individuals…

The Value of Nothing: Capital versus Growth

Throughout 2021, U.S. stock market valuations have hovered near all‑time highs. In June, the unadjusted price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of the S&P 500 index eclipsed the tech boom record of 2000. Many other asset classes have attained, or nearly attained, record valuations as well. Stratospheric valuations may be partially attributable to the unique circumstances surrounding Covid-19…

Monopoly and Law

The Bork Paradox and the Conservative Legal Movement

On July 1, 1987, Senator Edward Kennedy took to the Senate floor to deliver perhaps the most famous denunciation of any judicial nominee in American history. His target, whose Supreme Court nomi­nation had been announced that very day, was a graying sixty-year‑old judge on the powerful Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, with a…

“Over-Mighty Subjects”: Big Tech and the Logic of Feudalism

For nearly three decades, conservative orthodoxy has summed up its central objective in the mantra “starve the beast.” Although Grover Norquist may have been exaggerating slightly when he said he hoped to make government so small he could “drown it in the bathtub,” his sentiment certainly captures the myopic obsession of the GOP during the…

U.S.-China Competition

Analogy and Strategy: U.S.-China Competition through an Edwardian Lens

Competition between the United States and China frequently trig­gers Cold War comparisons. Ideologies are contrasted, alliances are touted, and geopolitical maneuvers are proposed. These sorts of comparisons are tempting. China is no longer Maoist in orientation, but still ostensibly Communist and still autocratic. The Cold War is also still within the living memory of most…

Belt and Road Hazards, Coming to the Americas

At a nationally televised press conference in Panama City in March 2019, a China-funded team of Chinese and Panamanian engineers took the stage. They unveiled the results of their feasibility study of the proposed high-speed Panama-Chiriquí Railway. They announced that the megaproject would cost $4.1 billion and take six years to build. Travel time from…

The Roots of the Culture Wars

Why Are Racial Problems in the United States So Intractable?

From the perspective of an outside observer, one of the most striking features of the American discourse over race relations is how insular it is. Slavery is often spoken of as though it were a uniquely “American curse,” or an “original sin,” the legacy of which has been transmitted to each subsequent generation in the…

Liberated Enough: Feminism, Liberalism, and Conservatism

Conservatism has a “women problem.” Conservative women exist, of course, but as a political movement conservatism is associated with opposition to feminism. And feminism is popularly understood as the movement for women’s liberation. Why would women oppose their own liberation? So, the argument goes, it takes perverse dedication to the interests of the patriarchal enemy…

Woke Capital: A Dialectical History

In 1654, Peter Stuyvesant, director general of New Amsterdam (later New York) barred Jews from entering the colony. Then all progressive hell broke loose. Under pressure from shareholders, the Dutch West India Company reversed Stuyvesant’s decision and grad­ually “cancelled” him. It was an early example of political activism in business…

Into the Fairy Castle: The Persistence of Victorian Liberalism

Just over a decade ago, in the autumn of 2010, the Danish state broadcaster DR aired the first season of a drama titled Borgen, centering on a smart and charismatic forty-something politician, Bir­gitte Nyborg, who leads the relatively minor Moderate Party. In an election rocked by a late-breaking scandal, the Moderates gain an un­expected fifteen…

Online Exclusives

  • Announcing the Common Good Economics Grant Program

    American Affairs, together with American Compass, is pleased to announce the Common Good Economics Grant Program to support projects aimed at rethinking the role that economic policy can play in advancing the common good. CGE grants will be in amounts from $5,000 to $50,000, and…

  • How Do You Solve a Problem Like Amazon?

    America’s third-largest company by market capitalization has filled the shoes of predecessors like Standard Oil, Sears, and General Electric as an epoch-defining corporation. Indeed, offering enhanced consumer convenience, Amazon now defines an entire way of life. Amazon’s profits soared nearly 200 percent last year as…

  • Who’s Minding the App Store?

    A conversation on internet platform policy and economics hosted by American Affairs and American Greatness, featuring panelists Mark W. Koran, Minnesota State Senate (R-32); Blake Masters, Thiel Capital; Fiona McFarland, Florida House of Representatives (R-72); and J. D. Vance, Narya Capital…

  • The Left’s Culture War Rebranding

    Technically, you could call it a victory. But what was expected to be a historic blue wave in 2020 turned out to be barely a ripple. Despite many polls predicting a blowout, Democrats only narrowly defeated a president widely believed to have mismanaged a pandemic…

  • New Fault Lines in a Post-Globalized World

    The economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic has upended the global economic system and, just as importantly, cast out the neoliberal orthodoxy that dominated the industrialized world for the past forty years. But Covid-19 has only accelerated a process that was already well underway, impacting trade…

  • How Late Liberalism Undermines Itself

    Just as surely as the French Revolution devoured its children, modern-day liberalism is eating itself, and destroying with it all the norms and institutions that help complex societies to mediate differences. As liberalism grows illiberal, as it turns its back on pluralism, its universalism gives…

  • United We Stand

    Amid the stresses and strains of today’s America, with our national political fabric seemingly at the tearing point, the notion of disunion as our defining idea might seem ripe for embrace. But is this, really, our national experience? The answer matters…

  • Individual and National Freedom: Toward a New Conservative Fusion

    The 2011 hit series The Newsroom begins with a memorable scene. A panel of pundits is asked by a sorority girl to say “in one sentence or less, why America is the greatest country on earth.” The liberal smugly answers, “Diversity and opportunity.” The conservative,…

  • America’s Unhealthy Gerontocracy

    America in its present state of decline increasingly resembles the late Soviet Union, but one of the most unsettling parallels is its unmistakable slide into gerontocracy. From Trump to Biden to Sanders to Pelosi to most of the Senate, one might think that the biblical…

  • Lenin versus the God-Builders

    James D. White’s Red Hamlet: The Life and Ideas of Alexander Bogdanov is the first comprehensive English-language biography of Bogdanov. In it, White alternates chapters of straight biography with dense chapters that rehash Bogdanov’s philosophy and the debates surrounding it. The volume meticulously provides an…

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