1. Mattick’s two articles provide some good background on the 2008 crisis and how this relates to a broader perspective on capitalism and the 20th century economy. How does a falling rate of profit factor into the story (and how does this relate to the attack on unions and workers)? What about the rise of… Read More

1. Explain to me what I mean (or what Astra Taylor means) by the idea of a subprime education? Or subprime credentials, or subprime college. This is a loaded term, and very important to understand how and why for-profit college are being accused of predatory lending. How then does this relate (or not) to other… Read More

1. How does Giroux define neoliberalism? Why does he say that it “legitimates a culture of cruelty”? Further – he subtly makes an argument that neoliberalism represents a direct attack on the sociological imagination. Can you find this? It has to do with private troubles and public issues… 2. What does Giroux think the function… Read More

1. In this reading we are continuing the discussion of the financial imperialism or neo-colonialism that has defined the neoliberal period, but extending the story to include forms of predatory lending that have been occuring in the US economy. Its important to understand the simple narrative of how racial exclusions from the financial markets were… Read More

1. Golden Gulag tries to show how complicated the rise of prisons (or ‘prison society’) actually has been. Gilmore puts the war on drugs into a broader context of mounting surplus – not just a surplus population, but also a surplus of land, capital and state capacity. Can you see how her argument relates to… Read More

1. Why were indentured/bonded laborers and then African slaves necessary when there were so many Native Americans that could have been put to work? How might this relate to our readings about enclosure, primitive accumulation and the doubly free laborer? You could also make a connection between post civil war vagrancy laws and the earlier… Read More

1. Eisenstein tells the story of neoliberalism through the lens of women and work. How does neoliberalism relate to the feminsation of the labor force? What were the factors that led to the shift from welfare to workfare, and what effect does this shift have on the labor market (also make sure you understand the… Read More

1. The Eisenstein reading introduces us to some of the specifics of globalization and neoliberalism. Try to pay attention to the ways in which neoliberalism differs from Keynesianism, and globalization differs from the period before it. She presents Thomas Friedman as an example of someone who loves globalization. How might we critique his idea of… Read More