How did a colonial backwater explode into an economic powerhouse that transformed not only its home continent but the world, in the blink of an historical eye?
As we head into the global scrum that is 21st century economics, understanding the successes and excesses of American capitalism will be an essential primer for political and financial survival.
And that primer is free and open to the world.
Beginning on March 17, Cornell University professors Edward Baptist and Louis Hyman invite students, scholars and citizens everywhere to join them for “American Capitalism: A History,” a massive open online course being offered through a partnership with the non-profit learning platform edX. Baptist is an historian who focuses on American economic expansion and is author of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.” Hyman, who researches labor, business and consumer history in the U.S., is the author of “Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink” and “Borrow: The American Way of Debt.”
Together, they will offer a chance to explore the people, markets and investments that transformed America’s 13 backwater colonies into a global power and created the world in which we live today. Participants will learn essential lessons about capitalism’s radical reorganization of investment and work in the last few hundred years, the likes of which humans have never seen before, and meet the forgotten, the famous – and the infamous.
The course is free and very open to the public.
To learn more or sign up:
? Cornell’s course description, including video and a link to register, is here.
? Find “American Capitalism: A History” at edX.
? Connect with “American Capitalism” at Google+.
? Follow the course and interact with the professors on Facebook.
? The complete set of 151 podcasts from the course is on iTunes.
? A series of more than 20 short videos by Hyman and Baptist – exploring topics from “Neoliberal Panics” to Henry Ford and the economic impact of slavery – can be viewed at the Cornell X YouTube channel.
? Baptist and Hyman outline their reason for faith in the future of MOOCs in this Huffington Post piece.
History professors Edward Baptist and Louis Hyman write about the financial system that made slavery possible in this Chicago Sun-Times piece.
"The infant American financial industry nourished itself on profits taken from financing slave traders, cotton brokers and underwriting slave-backed bonds. But though slavery ended in 1865, in the years after the Civil War, black entrepreneurs would find themselves excluded from a financial system originally built on their bodies. As we remind our students in our new online course American Capitalism: A History, African-Americans — unable to borrow either to buy property or start businesses — lived in a capitalist economy that allowed them to work, but not to benefit.
"More recently, history repeated itself — or more accurately, continued. The antebellum world eerily prefigured the recent financial crisis, in which Wall Street securitization once again stepped in to strip black families of their wealth."