On August 4, 2017, workers at Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, voted to reject representation by the United Auto Workers union. The loss stung, to be sure, but the once-powerful UAW has become accustomed to failure in its efforts to organize auto production facilities operated by foreign companies. Twice previously, in 1989 and 2001, workers rejected the union at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee,—the company’s first North American plant, and only the second Japanese-owned plant in the United States. Continue Reading Andrew C. McKevitt: UAW’s Defeat at Nissan and the Path Forward
The oatmeal market suffered under the weight of too many competitors, with prices often falling below production costs. Crowell saw the solution in the mill’s overlooked Quaker trademark. And so, at a time when most consumers shoveled their oatmeal from open barrels, Crowell’s product appeared on shelves in sealed, two-pound boxes. Richly illustrated advertisements saturated local, then national, print media. Both package and ad featured the iconic Quaker, always smiling jovially and holding a scroll on which was written the single word “Pure.” Continue Reading Excerpt: Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism, by Timothy Gloege
In recent months, Vladimir Putin has been playing hardball with the world. Yet Russia’s bullying and bravado can be seen as signs of a longstanding weakness. Continue Reading Patryk Babiracki: Showcasing Hard Power, Russia Reveals Her Longstanding Soft Spot
With oil prices falling, the ruble is tumbling down, and Russia’s immediate economic prospects are grim. But the Russian leaders’ political will to retain Ukraine is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The lands that became modern Ukraine had been part of Russian empire for three and a half centuries. Vladimir Putin has shown inexhaustible energy in obstructing Ukraine’s rapprochement with the West; Ukraine’s prospective successes in integrating with the EU (or, in a more adventurous scenario, with NATO) would be a heavy blow to Russia’s prestige and to Mr. Putin’s ego. Therefore on the long run, it seems unlikely that any person or institution can prevent the Russian president and his cronies from wresting Ukraine back firmly into the Russian orbit. Continue Reading Patryk Babiracki: Post-Soviet Ukraine: Not Unlike Postwar Poland. What Putin’s Russia (and the West) Can Learn from the Cold War
Deng Xiaoping’s paramount political status and strength of personality played a major role in shaping China’s foreign policy during the last decade of the Cold War, opposing Soviet hegemony while allying with the United States and other Western countries in order to gain their support for China’s economic reform. Continue Reading Xiaoming Zhang: Deng Xiaoping and China’s Invasion of Vietnam
In my opinion, the most interesting topic for discussion is not that Cubans are finally embracing private enterprise, but rather that the new legislation will surely change the existing face of private enterprise on the island. Talk to Cubans about the new business, property, and internet reform measures and you are less likely to hear them marveling at the wonders of capitalism than to hear them debate the variety of state-imposed taxes that often leave them with only a few CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos that carry a 1:1 exchange rate with the U.S. dollar) at the end of each month. Continue Reading Tiffany A. Sippial: Cuba’s New Economic Policies: Event Horizon or Business as Usual?
According to Goldstein, the most exciting part is the “opportunity is to reach a much broader audience.” Because his class with Thorp is on innovation, teaching it as a MOOC provides a unique opportunity to marry form and content. “We’re interested in the interactive aspect because innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t passive—they’re active,” he says. “Entrepreneurship is about impact and taking innovative ideas to fruition. The key notion of MOOCs is creating a global reach with an entrepreneurial mindset that allows opportunities in those spaces between innovation and execution that is key to social change.” Continue Reading Innovating with MOOCs
That reaction to Indians’ pursuit of wealth has a lot to teach us, not only about common conceptions of Indians but also about dilemmas inherent in Indian/non-Indian relations and in America’s economy because of that economy’s foundation in lands and resources appropriated from indigenous peoples. Continue Reading Alexandra Harmon: Public Reaction to Indians’ Pursuit of Wealth
Along with the growth of tribal bureaucracies, this turn toward tribal capitalism has given Indians new reasons to articulate, ponder, and debate some of the basic principles that guide or should guide their economic affairs—to consider in particular whether economic aims and relations in Indian communities do or should differ from those that predominate in the United States. Continue Reading Alexandra Harmon: Economic Disparities in Native American Communities
Murphy attacked the tight-fisted policy of Ford Motor Company (FMC) and its indifference toward unemployed workers. Henry Ford publicly maintained he would never cut wages or jobs, even as he proceeded to do both. Employment at the largest facility of FMC in Dearborn, just outside Detroit, fell nearly 50 percent between 1929 and 1932. But the overwhelming majority of laid-off Ford workers resided in Detroit, raising the question, who bore responsibility for assisting them? Continue Reading Beth Tompkins Bates: What is Society’s Obligation to Those in Distress?
To address the human element of production, Ford introduced his Five Dollar Day, Ford Profit-Sharing Plan. When the plan was unveiled in 1914, the world was stunned. Qualified Ford workers would receive five dollars a day, more than double the average wage in the auto industry at that time. When compared to lower prevailing wages in other industries such as steel, meatpacking, or coal mining, the Ford proposal was even more astounding. Simultaneously, FMC reduced the workday from nine hours to eight. Continue Reading Beth Tompkins Bates: The High Road to Economic Prosperity
Gitterman and Coclanis argue that our leaders must find a way to forge a bipartisan, pro-growth economic agenda and, in order to implement it, embrace creative public-private partnerships of various kinds. Continue Reading New ebook offers blueprint for building a globally competitive South
Foreign policy historian James Edward Miller provides background on the current financial and political predicament of Greece and the European Union. Continue Reading James Edward Miller: Greece and the EU Face Their Walt Kelly Moment
Polanyi’s classic suggests we should ignore the profoundly false choice between markets and the state. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: Polanyi’s ‘Great Transformation’: A classic for our hard times
Revisiting Henry Luce’s essay on American ascendancy, Michael H. Hunt considers the current era of American decline. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt: How to think about the end of the “American Century”
The recent events concerning public sector workers in Wisconsin have brought a great deal of reflecting and attention to the ways in which the government, at both the state and national levels, spends and saves money. UNC Press author Lisa Levenstein, with economics doctoral student Jason Brent, wrote an Op-ed in this past Sunday’s Greensboro… Continue Reading Lisa Levenstein on Balancing Budgets and Public Employees
The midterm election campaign now approaching the home stretch has brought with it striking but fairly empty calls to action–from the Tea Party frenzy over fiscal virtue to a president exhorting his base with the banal promise of “moving America forward.” But this and all the other lamentable features of our democracy, it is worth… Continue Reading American Democracy and the Challenge of Globalization
As we celebrate the University of North Carolina’s 217th anniversary on this University Day, chancellor Holden Thorp introduces a new project called “Innovate@Carolina: Important Ideas for a Better World” to lead the university forward. This three-year roadmap, described in detail at innovation.unc.edu, is designed to “build a culture of innovation that permeates every corner of… Continue Reading The University Day Challenge: Innovate!
Congratulations to Michael Walden, author of North Carolina in the Connected Age: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy, who has just been awarded the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Public Service. The award is intended “to encourage, identify, recognize, and reward distinguished public service and outreach by faculty across the University.”… Continue Reading UNC system honors Mike Walden for helping make economics easier for the rest of us to understand
We welcome a guest post today from Andrew J. Kirkendall, author of Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy. In his political biography of Freire (1921-97), a native of Brazil’s impoverished northeast who developed adult literacy training techniques that remain influential today, Kirkendall gives new perspectives on the history of the Cold War,… Continue Reading Paulo Freire, Lula, and the Next Step for Brazil