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Spring 2020 / Volume IV, Number 1
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Economic Divides

The Cost of Thriving

It sounds like an absurd riddle, or perhaps a kindergarten-level math problem: the median male full-time worker earned $314 per week in 1979, while his counterpart at the median in 2018 earned $1,026; who was better off? In fact, the question proves fiendishly difficult, even as its answer lies at the heart of understanding America’s economic progress…

Deconcentrating Capital

On a great many metrics, a strong and innovative financial services sector contributes significantly to growth, jobs, and productivity in the wider economy. For example, it is well established that measures of financial depth—such as the size of the banking sector, the market capitalization of stock markets, and the scale of corporate debt mar­kets—have an…

The War within Corporate America

In the 2020 election cycle, corporate America seems under attack from all directions. Elizabeth Warren and Mark Zuckerberg are in a war of words; Bernie Sanders has proposed codetermination, partial employee ownership, and other major corporate governance reforms; Joe Biden has called for insurance company executives to be jailed; and Donald Trump regularly attacks Jeff…

The Past and Future of Antitrust

Stoller’s goal in Goliath is to cast the economic history of the United States as an epic struggle between the big and the little, between evil and powerful monopolies and the resistance of a few heroic champions of small business, market competition, and eco­nomic liberty. Among the virtuous are Louis Brandeis, Robert Jack­son, Thurman Arnold, and, especially, Patman…

Corporatist Models in America and Asia

Tripartism, American Style: The Past and Future of Sectoral Policy

In reality, Coolidge Republicans and Roosevelt Democrats were not that far apart, agreeing that collective bargaining was legitimate in the private sector but not in the public sector. Before the late twentieth century, mainstream Republicans and Democrats alike agreed with the sentiment expressed by Coolidge in his speech to union officials in 1924: “We have yet a long way to go…

Corporatism for the Twenty-First Century

Ask voters about American politics, and they typically respond that it is ever more polarized, fragmented, divisive, and hyper­partisan. A recent report indicated that 78 percent of voters are un­happy with increasing partisan divisions. Beyond the issue of polar­ization, there is also a problem of performance. Satisfaction with American political institutions is decreasing. The dominant…

Korean Industrial Policy: From the Arrest of the Millionaires to Hallyu

Within days after he seized power in the 1961 military coup d’état in South Korea, Major General Park Chung-hee ordered the arrest of fifty-one of the country’s leading businessmen. The head of Samsung, the largest chaebol (family-owned conglomerate), who had been travelling in Japan, was immediately placed under house arrest when he returned to Korea.…

The Century of Chinese Corporatism

Since its foundation in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has engaged with corporatism as a model for organizing societal interests. China’s corporatist elements, misunderstood as they often are by foreign observers, help to explain its economic successes and political resiliency. Across a variety of different forms of corporatism—some heavy-handed, some too decentralized—China has man­aged…

Foreign Interventions

The Road to Hell

The overall thrust of Power’s argument is to deny the need for any accounting of how good intentions can drive perverse results in the use of state power abroad. Only copping to forgivable or unintentional mistakes, it pushes back against the possibility of ethical com­promise in crossing the Rubicon from government critic to government service…

Fear and Loathing in Mosul

This past December I stood on a rooftop in the center of the ancient Nabi Jarjis neighborhood in Mosul. Coalition bombing runs during the October 2016 to July 2017 battle to retake the city from ISIS had left large sections of the area leveled. The home I stood on had only recently been reconstructed…

Virtue Politics

The Derivations of Charles Koch

Despite himself illustrating their pitfalls, Koch has dedicated his life to constructing mental models. “He thinks he’s John Galt,” says one colleague, comparing Koch to the philosopher-hero of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Koch’s writings do little to dispel that assess­ment. In The Science of Success, Koch claims to have discovered, well, the science of success. Just as the natural world operates in accordance with fixed laws, Koch explains, so do fixed laws govern human well-being. Those same laws apply a fortiori “to the miniature societies of organizations”…

Soulcraft in a Complex Society

In recent years, conservative commentators have criticized how the individualism of the neoliberal age has undermined the moral and ethical foundations of community in America. Yuval Levin’s 2014 essay “Taking the Long Way” argues that too many people on both the right and left are committed to a thin vision of liberty, defined simply as…

Virtue Signaling: Humanism and Politics

James Hankins’s Virtue Politics puts the politics back into humanism in an extraordinarily deep and far-reaching way. He does not deny that the whole cultural movement of humanism ranged much more broadly than any specific political project. Learning to write elegant Latin hexameters was not the conduct of politics by other means…

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