ASSA panel on class

This post is based on a panel at the ASSA in January 2015 which focused on the important issue of class.  This panel was part of URPE’s new effort at interdisciplinary collaboration. One of the participants in the panel, James Livingston, is a historian at Rutgers. He has written two very fine books on the founding of the Federal Reserve system, after consolidation of the capitalist class in late 19th century. He has also written additional books about cultural critique, rather than simply rely on the organization of labor at the workplace. He is willing and interested in engaging in this debate about the location of class consciousness and the opportunity for mobilizing change. He has agreed to let us post pdf versions of his paper and presentation slides. We welcome comments on the general theme of the panel (first slide) as well as the questions to Prof. Livingston (last slide).

The Role of Class in Historical Analysis

Theses on Capitalism and its Other(s)

One thought on “ASSA panel on class

  1. My heartfelt thanks to Ann Davis for making this post possible–also intelligible with the panels, slides, etc. The paper was first submitted to a small invited-only 2009 conference on 19th-century capitalism, an early symptom of what we now call the “history of capitalism” syndrome. The participants were convinced that I was onto something, but they didn’t know what, and they objected to my language. How can you have a bourgeoisie and not have capitalism? Why don’t you just change the name of the thing you’re describing, and we”l put it into the collection? Those were their questions. The paper didn’t appear in the collection of essays that followed.
    Of course I’m trying here to clarify the difference, and the relation, between modern slavery and capitalism, and, by the same token, to understand the difference, and the relation, between capitalism and socialism, without rarefying capitalism, turning it into something that never did exist, as if Ayn Rand were a reputable authority on the subject. But you may well ask why the difference is so important in one case and not in the other. My students in a course I taught for the first time last semester certainly asked.

    Anyway, glad to be here, to see what happens.


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