May 20, 2023Analysis
Green Industrial Strategy
The scale and scope of Biden’s landmark climate investments
The Inflation Reduction Act is the most significant piece of climate legislation in US history. Alongside its three other major legislative achievements, the Biden administration has passed between $500 billion and $1.2 trillion worth of new climate spending, depending on…
April 19, 2023Analysis
A year later, the Russia sanctions and an emerging geopolitical order
Pain and resolve: have we reached the beginning of the end of sanctions?
April 6, 2023Analysis
Mercantilist Deals of the Great Powers
Decoupling from China is an uphill task in both the global North and the global South
This is the twelfth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The maiden flight of a new cargo route between Shenzhen and São Paulo took off on…
March 25, 2023Reviews
On Fritz Bartel’s The Triumph of Broken Promises
The Triumph of Broken Promises by Fritz Bartel is a new history of the end of the Cold War. Challenging conventional narratives that focus on Reagan’s military-ideological assertiveness or Gorbachev's openness to reform, the book gives a material and structural…
March 23, 2023Analysis
Stranded Countries and Stranded Assets
Outsourcing the energy transition to the Gulf
This is the eleventh edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The US routinely flouts its international climate financing commitments, rarely delivering on its promises. Last year, for example,…
March 1, 2023Analysis
The IMF Trap
Debt, austerity, and inequality in Sri Lanka’s historic crisis
Massive demonstrations that swept Sri Lanka last year exposed the serious challenges at the heart of the global economy. In July 2022, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee the country, only a few months after announcing a hasty…
February 18, 2023Reviews
The Sanctions Age
On Agathe Demarais’s “Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against US Interests”
Charles De Gaulle declared in 1961, “A great state which does not possess [nuclear weapons]… does not command its own destiny.” France became the world’s fourth nuclear power in 1960 following the Gerboise Bleue nuclear test. Yet the command of…
February 11, 2023Analysis
The Carbon Triangle
China’s real estate bubble and global emissions
China has ended zero-Covid. The resultant viral tsunami is crashing through China’s cities and countryside, causing hundreds of millions of infections and untold numbers of deaths. The reversal followed widespread protests against lockdown measures. But the protests were not the…
January 25, 2023Analysis
War, energy, and NATO’s new climate framework
This essay first appeared in GREEN, a journal from Groupe d’études géopolitiques. When NATO held its two-day summit in Madrid in June 2022, the Spanish government deployed ten thousand police officers to cordon off entire parts of the city, including…
January 18, 2023Reviews
On Daniels and Krige’s “Knowledge Regulation and National Security in Postwar America”
In an effort to stymie “indigenous” chip development in China, the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) introduced new controls on semiconductor technology exported to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) last October. Targeting high-performance and advanced memory chips,…
December 15, 2022Analysis
Europe’s “Leap Into the Future”
Do exceptional crisis-fighting policies signal the arrival of an interventionist Europe?
This is the fifth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. In 2020, as demand for liquefied natural gas boomed in Asia, the shippable fuel was an afterthought in…
December 3, 2022Analysis
Bolsonarismo and Brazil’s shifting middle-class vote
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may have won last month’s presidential elections, but the strength of Bolsonarismo has been confirmed. In both houses of the National Congress, Bolsonarismo and its allies made gains, overcoming the traditional right wing. In the…
November 30, 2022Interviews
Chile, Brazil, and the future of the Latin American Left
The recent victories of left parties across Latin America—most recently the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil—have prompted comparisons with the Pink Tide of the early 2000s. But with narrow margins of victory against far-right opponents,…
November 18, 2022Analysis
Collective Action and Climate Finance
Can the COP move markets?
This is the third edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. At UN climate summits, the items that appear on the agenda are usually those that advocates have fought…
November 12, 2022Analysis
The Sacrifice Zone
Mining communities in the wake of Chile’s constitutional referendum
In September 2022, 62 percent of Chilean voters rejected the country's proposed new constitution. The defeat took many by surprise—the demands to rewrite the existing charter had been loud and seemingly unanimous. For followers of Chile’s extractive industries, however, the…
November 3, 2022Analysis
Domestic Politics & Planetary Change
Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?
Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?
October 26, 2022Analysis
Town & City
Reading Brazil’s first round election results
Earlier this month, Brazilians went to the polls in an election billed as the most momentous since democratization in 1985. Far-right president Jair Bolsonaro faced off against former two-term president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Though Lula did win the…
October 20, 2022Analysis
An introduction to The Polycrisis
This is the first edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. What crisis? A year ago, one might be forgiven for thinking there was a moment of relative calm…
September 28, 2022Interviews
An interview with Xiao Ma on the politics of China’s high-speed railways
China’s high-speed railway network is one of the largest infrastructure programs in human history. Though today international headlines emphasize the decline in China’s growth—lagging behind the rest of Asia for the first time since 1990—for more than two decades, the…
September 15, 2022Analysis
Technocracy and Crisis
Stagnation and technocratic rule in Italy
On September 25, Italians will be called to elect a new Parliament. The snap election follows on the heels of the forced resignation of the government in late July, led by former European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. That…
September 2, 2022Reviews
Politics and Expertise
On Elizabeth Popp Berman’s Thinking Like an Economist and Paul Sabin’s Public Citizens
Explanations for the rise of neoliberal policymaking in the United States commonly take one of two forms: a political history or an intellectual history. The first focuses on the overlapping crises of the 1970s and the rebalancing political coalitions competing…
August 6, 2022Sources
The past few months have seen record-breaking heat waves across the globe. In India, a deadly heat wave in May renewed questions around the nation's health, safety, and economy.
August 5, 2022Analysis
An excerpt from How China Escaped Shock Therapy
European and American traditions of economic theorizing on price control are intimately connected with war—practices and debates over price control peaked amid the two world wars. The experience of the First World War had been one of inflation and limited…
July 30, 2022Sources
This week, Russia’s state-run energy company Gazprom drastically cut gas supplies— delivered via the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 1 pipeline—to Europe. The move amplified longstanding concerns around European dependence on Russian energy.
July 23, 2022Interviews
Resource Nationalism and Decarbonization
Revisiting “resource nationalism” in a new era of raw minerals demand
Across Latin America, a recent wave of left electoral victories has drawn comparisons to “Pink Tide” of the early 2000s. The current moment, however, coincides with a global push towards decarbonization, and much of the world’s supply of commodities essential…
July 9, 2022Analysis
A New Labor Regime
The BJP's new labor reforms, the construction industry, and the mounting challenges for India’s trade unions
Since coming to power in 2014, India’s right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced sweeping reforms aimed at strengthening the union government at the expense of the states, and catering to large corporations over smaller establishments and…
June 29, 2022Analysis
Geographies in Transition
Mining-based development and the EU's critical raw materials strategy
Though it failed to resolve a number of contentious issues, the COP26 meeting in Glasgow solidified a consensus around the need for a global transition towards clean energy. Implicated in this transition is the widescale adoption of renewables—we must build…
May 19, 2022Analysis
Politics and the Price Level
Inflation and the governance of prices
In 1959, the leaders of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC, now the OECD) appointed a Group of Independent Experts “to study the experience of rising prices” in the recent history of the advanced capitalist countries. Between the end…
May 12, 2022Analysis
America’s kleptocratic public school divide
As the arrival of the pandemic forced schools shut, the Public Schools of Robeson County in North Carolina scrambled to save the rural district’s closed and crumbling buildings. At the same time, they faced the major task of providing education…
May 7, 2022Interviews
An interview with Helen Thompson on the geopolitics of shale and energy independence
Restarting our economies after the pandemic continues to expose the fragility of our supply chains. The Russia-Ukraine conflict serves as a stark reminder that oil and gas can still dictate our anxieties. Commodity prices and our collective sense of vulnerability…
May 4, 2022Analysis
Hilferding, Sohn-Rethel, and Hamilton
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has flung the international order into crisis. Understanding the causes of such cataclysms requires understanding not only the interests of states, but also the shape of society—its internal tensions, as well as its material and cultural…
April 30, 2022Sources
Exxon recently announced three oil discoveries off the coast of Guyana, increasing the company's recoverable oil potential in the country to 11 billion barrels. These discoveries have added to the high likelihood of Guyana becoming a major global oil producer in the…
April 30, 2022Analysis
The Whole Field
Markets, planning, and coordinating the green transformation
In recent years, an intense debate has unfolded over the policy and politics of the green transition. Politically, the tide appears to be receding: As the Biden agenda has lost momentum and rising inflation moves center stage, the near-term prospects…
April 27, 2022Analysis
The evolution and weaponization of the world dollar
The centerpiece of shock and awe of the West’s economic response to Russia’s invasion and bombardment of Ukraine was the freezing of Russia’s central bank assets. In the March 7 edition of his Global Money Dispatch newsletter, the Credit Suisse…
April 15, 2022Analysis
Economic War and the Commodity Shock
A discussion on sanctions and global commodity markets
The war in Ukraine has unleashed both geopolitical and economic strife, and nowhere is the latter clearer than in the volatile commodities market. Commodities prices have fluctuated wildly since the Russian invasion began and the US-led coalition retaliated with extraordinary…
March 12, 2022Interviews
Structures of History
An interview with historian William Sewell
Few scholars have had the theoretical, methodological, and empirical influence of William Sewell. His work has persistently scrutinized and challenged disciplinary barriers, placing historical and social scientific methods in dialogue and thereby illuminating their strengths and shortcomings. This effort is…
March 9, 2022Analysis
On the speed and scope of the Russia sanctions, and the prospects for off-ramps
For the global hegemon, pulling the trigger on crisis management seems to consist primarily of posting PDFs to government websites. During the March 2020 financial panic, as the coronavirus first spread throughout the Global North, the Federal Reserve feverishly published…
February 5, 2022Sources
The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach processed respectively 10.7 and 9.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo volume in 2021, with the former setting a record high of shipping volume in the Western Hemisphere. Continuing…
January 22, 2022Sources
Earlier this month, a wave of protests spread across Kazakhstan. Though prompted by rising gas prices, the demonstrations soon came to target the country's decades long trajectory of corruption and resource privatization. A 2001 article by ERIKA WEINTHAL and PAULINE JONES LUONG…
December 23, 2021Interviews
An interview with Kim Voss on the American labor movement, from the Knights of Labor to “Striketober.”
The uptick in organized and unorganized labor militancy registered throughout the pandemic, and in particular in strike and unionization campaigns in recent months, comes at a relative nadir for the US labor movement. The work of Kim Voss, Professor of…
December 23, 2021Analysis
Stop, wait, go
Is Germany's new coalition government a return to the status quo?
The new coalition government in Germany, led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, is the first time that the SDP, the Greens, and the Liberals have joined together in a single government. The cooperation agreement, published on November 24, was the…
December 17, 2021Analysis
Death or glory?
New forms of fascism haunt Chile’s presidential election
In October 2019, a proposed thirty peso hike in public transport fares triggered protests in Santiago that spread to other major cities across the country, denouncing the country’s economic infrastructure with the slogan, “It’s not thirty pesos, it’s thirty years.” Chileans…
November 20, 2021Sources
In October, over 10,000 John Deere workers went on strike, 1,400 Kellogg's workers followed suit, and observers anticipated thousands more IATSE members and Kaiser Permanente workers to walk out. (After voting down two contracts, workers at Deere reached an agreement last week ending…
November 6, 2021Analysis
Tracing the rise and the politics of asset manager capitalism
In mid October 2021, when BlackRock revealed its third quarter results, the asset management behemoth announced it was just shy of $10 trillion in assets under management. It’s a vast sum, “roughly equivalent to the entire global hedge fund, private…
November 4, 2021Analysis
The Federation of German Industries’ agenda in the formation of the new German federal government
The new German government will be called upon, at a highly critical time for the global and European economy, to draw up a new economic and political strategy not only for Germany but also for the EU/Eurozone. The outcome will…
September 18, 2021Sources
This week, millions in California voted in support of Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election. California is one of 19 states that grants power to voters to recall a sitting governor, a law which was passed in 1911 as…
August 21, 2021Sources
Observers in the past decades have commented on increased urbanization in India, which has led to new challenges for development, housing, and labor. But the majority of India's population, and thus electoral power, remains in rural regions.
August 7, 2021Sources
This week, the Mexican government sued eleven major US arms manufacturers, alleging that they facilitated the illegal flow of guns into the country. The proliferation of US-manufactured guns in Mexico during recent years has been well-documented, but their presence precedes…
July 12, 2021Interviews
An interview with Benjamin Holtzman
As New Yorkers grapple with an uncertain future, the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and its aftermath are often invoked by the press and politicians. Today, “New York in the 1970s” is shorthand for a city facing poverty and crime,…
July 10, 2021Sources
Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on Wednesday, plunging the country into greater political unrest following months of protests around Moïse's controversial decision to rule by decree.
July 3, 2021Sources
The impending retreat of US troops from Afghanistan has brought renewed discussion on Pakistan amidst both US and Chinese alliances. Much of the scholarship on Pakistan centers around its military and foreign policy, but less attention has been given to…
June 26, 2021Sources
Since the 2000 World Water Forum in The Hague, governance over water resources has gained salience in international development discourse. The allocation of rights (to technology and decisionmaking) and resources (both financial and natural) has shaped local economies in the…
June 19, 2021Sources
Earlier this week, global leaders at the G7 summit signed a "green belt and road initiative," which offers funds to low income countries for sustainable investment.
June 8, 2021Analysis
The Crisis Canal
Trade, bond markets, Suez, and the Ever Given.
Why did the Ever Given capture our collective imaginations? At the end of its week in the spotlight, the poet Kamran Javadizadeh wrote: “I too am ‘partially refloated,’ I too remain stuck in the Suez Canal.” Two fluorescent yellow-vested construction…
April 28, 2021Analysis
Popular politics and reconstructing the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
Like the world system as a whole, segregated cities in the United States have their own finance driven core-periphery dynamics.
April 24, 2021Sources
The US government spends upwards of $20 billion annually on domestic agricultural support programs, but with over 20 percent of farm products exported, these programs interact with trade policies that have fluctuated in the last century between protectionism and liberalization.
Democracy or the Market
Third wayism and the problem of representation.
The problem of democratic representation has always turned on the question of the “have-nots”—that is, not only those without wealth and property, but also those marginalized on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, origin, religion and education. Even in a…
Revolution, Reform, and Resignation
In the 1980s, the left abandoned its language of transformation. Can it be regained?
Some time in 1991 I was invited to give a talk to the Andalusian Confederation of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE). Afterwards, the secretary of the confederation walked me back to my hotel. I asked him why there was…
François Mitterrand’s Austerity Turn
The rise and fall of the French Road to socialism.
The history of French socialism is filled with famous and heroic dates: 1789; 1848; 1871 1936; 1968. But less well remembered is another date of great significance: 1981. It was in May of that year that the French left achieved…
February 20, 2021Interviews
New System, New Society
An interview with former Prime Minister of Spain Felipe González.
Four voices on Spain's transition from the Franco dictatorship to parliamentary monarchy — and what didn't change.
It’s been some time since the term “transition” was fully incorporated into day-to-day usage in contemporary Spanish. It refers to the process of political change that began during the second half of the 1970s, a process which transformed Spain from…
February 18, 2021Interviews
An interview with François Morin.
François Morin was technical adviser to Jean le Garrec at the State Secretary for Public Sector Expansion from 1981–1982 and an adviser to Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy.
February 6, 2021Sources
While the neoliberal era appears to be in crisis, we took on a project to investigate its historical foundations. The tensions of the current political moment are commonly traced to the financial deregulation and economic liberalization of the 1980s and…
February 5, 2021Analysis
The Italian Left After Keynesianism
From stagflation to the transformation of Italian left parties.
In 1977, Eric Hobsbawm published a book of interviews with Giorgio Napolitano, a leading figure in the Italian Communist Party (PCI)’s gradualist wing, the miglioristi. Hobsbawm proclaimed himself a “spiritual member” of the PCI and intended this book to depict…
An interview with Emanuele Macaluso, Italian trade unionist and politician with the Italian Communist Party (PCI)
Emanuele Macaluso was an Italian trade unionist and politician with the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
An interview with Claudio Petruccioli
Claudio Petruccioli is an Italian politician who was president of the Italian national broadcast network RAI from 2005–2009.
January 23, 2021Sources
Outside of Brazil, the Bolsa Familia is known as the hallmark social policy of the former President Lula and remains the world's largest conditional cash transfer program. Less well known is the history of Brazil's social policy in the early…
January 22, 2021Analysis
Inflation, Specific and General
The many causes and effects of inflation.
Concerns over a generalized “inflation” loom in the recovery. Yet the prices that most heavily factor into the cost of living for US workers—housing, health, and education—have already been rising for decades. The question we should be asking is whether…
January 16, 2021Sources
The simultaneous integration of global markets and decentralization of government within nation states has been a hallmark of the age of globalization. In a 2004 article, NEIL BRENNER looks to Europe to argue that through processes of decentralization and localization,…
October 16, 2020Analysis
Data as Property?
On the problems of propertarian and dignitarian approaches to data governance.
Since the proliferation of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, critics of widely used internet communications services have warned of the misuse of personal data. Alongside familiar concerns regarding user privacy and state surveillance, a now-decades-long thread connects a…
October 3, 2020Sources
Recent weeks have seen proliferating analyses of the constitutional infrastructure of the US, and speculation over its ability to hinder the behaviors of a disruptive incumbent. New concerns reflect longstanding apprehension over the stability of presidential regimes.
October 1, 2020Analysis
A Popular History of the Fed
n Populist programs and democratic central banking.
Since Lehman collapsed in 2008, central banks have broken free of historical norms, channelling trillions into the banking system to prop up global finance and the savings of depositors from Germany to Hong Kong. The corona crash has only accelerated…
September 25, 2020Analysis
How should we measure racial discrimination?
A 2018 National Academy of Sciences report on American policing begins its section on racial bias by noting the abundance of scholarship that records disparities in the criminal justice system. But shortly thereafter, the authors make a strange clarification: “In…
July 10, 2020Analysis
The Crisis and the Free Market
On crisis, partisanship, and public policy
Will the current crisis transform America’s politics and economic institutions? With unemployment higher than at any point since the Great Depression, rising food insecurity, and an increasingly muscular role for government—are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the…
May 12, 2020Sources
Covid is changing popular attitudes towards the public sector, prompting many commentators to anticipate a new period of welfare expansion. Others are more skeptical, noting that public opinion undergoes rapid fluctuations, which rarely resolve into a new equilibrium.
May 1, 2020Analysis
The Class Politics of the Dollar System
Managing an international public good
The global dollar system has few national winners. The typical frame for understanding the US dollar is that of “exorbitant privilege.”
April 17, 2020Analysis
Shaping the base of a renewable economy
The transition to a post-carbon energy economy will require extraction.
March 31, 2020Sources
The need to formulate a unified COVID response has placed pressure on European integration in recent days, with Germany and the Netherlands resisting Southern European calls for the issuing of "coronabonds." A 2018 paper by John Ryan and John Loughlin…
February 27, 2020Analysis
The Economics of Race
On the neoclassical and stratification theories of race
Black America has had less wealth, less income, less education, and poorer health than white America for as long as records have been kept.
January 13, 2020Sources
Researchers of policy history have long deliberated over explanatory frameworks: institutionalist accounts tend to focus on inherited conditions and path dependency in political development, while others stress the importance of social movements in shaping policy. Among the more dynamic analytical…
November 28, 2019Phenomenal Works
Phenomenal Works: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
On unions, advocacy, and influence
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is a political scientist who studies the mechanisms of influence. Focusing on the strategies of organized interests, including both business and labor, Hertel-Fernandez's helps illuminate crucial and poorly understood levers of American political economy.
November 7, 2019Analysis
Collective Ownership in the Green New Deal
What rural electrification can teach us about a just transition
This year, we once again shattered the record for atmospheric carbon concentration, and witnessed a series of devastating setbacks in US climate policy—from attempts to waive state protections against pipelines to wholesale attacks on climate science.
October 31, 2019Phenomenal Works
Phenomenal Works: Leah Stokes
Networks of climate denial
Leah Stokes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Santa Barbara. Her research spans representation and public opinion, voting behavior, and environmental and energy politics. ways forward in the climate crisis. Below, her…
October 28, 2019Sources
Tax reform is at the forefront of contemporary policy debate. US citizens pay taxes at lower rates than their European counterparts, and a growing number of researchers agree that progressive taxes on wealth and income have the potential to rectify…
September 16, 2019Sources
Two weeks ago today marked the passing of the great Immanual Wallerstein. His work has had resounding influence across fields: from literature, to legal theory, education, development studies, and international relations. Among his foremost contributions is the four volume Modern…
June 13, 2019Interviews
Elections, Social Democracy, and the Neoliberal Shift
An interview with Adam Przeworski
Throughout the 20th century, radical social movements were plagued by their relationship to existing state institutions. Across Western Europe, labor movements found political expression in parties like the Swedish Social Democrats, the German SPD, and the French Socialist Party.
January 24, 2019Analysis
Why Rational People Polarize
Explanations of political polarization
U.S. politics is beset by increasing polarization. Ideological clustering is common; partisan antipathy is increasing; extremity is becoming the norm (Dimock et al. 2014). This poses a serious collective problem. Why is it happening?
December 1, 2018Sources
GREEN INFLUENCE A discussion of different approaches to climate policy Last week, the U.S. government released the Fourth National Climate Assessmentwhich outlined the dire economic and environmental consequences of climate change. Instead of highlighting key findings of the report—two good…