Apostles of Growth
Capitalism’s newest critics offer a groundbreaking account of slavery, but does their economic history add up?
That community, which includes a substantial number of Beckert’s former students, is now flourishing. Courses on the history of capitalism have become common, and so are job searches in the field. The latest issue of The Journal of American History devoted more than thirty pages to a symposium on the topic. A canon of scholarship, much of it based on the first books of their respective authors, has begun to form. To hasten that process, three of the field’s brightest stars—Bethany Moreton of the University of Georgia, Julia Ott of the New School, and Louis Hyman of Cornell University’s School of Labor Relations, all of whom earned their doctorates in the last decade—have inaugurated a series for Columbia University Press called “Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism.” It being 2014, historians of capitalism also have a monthly podcast (five episodes in, as of this writing) and an online course co-taught by Hyman, who has also organized a history-of-capitalism boot camp for graduate students and faculty. The movement received high-profile validation in 2013, when The New York Times made it the subject of a trend piece, an honor more often reserved for appraisals of millennial dating habits and other attempts to provoke Twitter.