To start, a quick clarification. It might be the day before (a very, very strange) Thanksgiving, but this year at Broadstreet, you won’t find any seasonal content. Next year, I’m going to try and convince the fellow editors to write up “How to Argue About Politics and Economics with Your Relatives… And Win Using History” … Continue reading Adjusting to Automation
There’s some chance that this will be our final Infrastructure Week. But before this very-online joke passes into the ether, it seems natural to think about it in a proper historical context. Well, at least proper to me. The importance of infrastructure in the development of the American economy is well-trod ground. Duranton and Turner … Continue reading Infrastructure Revolts!
The Covid-19 pandemic is poised to kill people on a global scale not witnessed since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Because the influenza pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide and 675,000 in the United States, it stands out among scholars as a uniquely catastrophic event. But less well-known is that the typical rate of death from infectious disease among urban nonwhites in the early twentieth century was just as catastrophic -- even in non-pandemic years.
The boll weevil infestation, as Blind Willie McTell sang, would leave farmers without enough money to pay their drug store bills, buy gasoline or meals, but it also reshaped the economy and institutions of the cotton South. When I teach economic history to undergraduate students, I start with a celebration of the exciting, surprising, and … Continue reading The Ballad of the Boll Weevil