Op-Ed by James K. Galbraith

From The New Deal until the present moment the architecture of The United States formed around some basic principles of public policy; principles that will no longer apply under a Trump administration. With all the questions that are on the table when it comes to this transition, Dr. James K. Galbraith asks: “Is the study of public policy still useful? And can it serve as the basis of a rewarding and productive life?”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. James K. Galbraith holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and a professorship of government at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale University. He studied as a Marshall scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1974-1975 and then served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress. He directed the LBJ School’s Ph.D. program in public policy from 1995 to 1997. He directs the University of Texas Inequality Project, an informal research group based at the LBJ School. Galbraith’s most recent book is “Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis” (Oxford University Press, 2012). Previous books include “The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too” (Free Press, 2008), “Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (Free Press, 1998) and “Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future” (Basic Books, 1989). “Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View” (Cambridge University Press, 2001) is co-edited with Maureen Berner. He has co-authored two textbooks, “The Economic Problem” with Robert L. Heilbroner and “Macroeconomics” with William Darity Jr. He is a managing editor of Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

“It was not just the land, it was not just the seeds, it was not just the tools, it was not just the transportation infrastructure. You had to have somebody who did all the digging, and the harvesting, and the taking care of the cotton plant. In the United States that had been resolved through enslaving Africans.” -Sven Beckert 

Cotton. Not quite a food item, but a plant nonetheless with a rather complicated history and an enduring relevance in our lives. Today, a typical day cannot pass without using this pillowy crop that rules our commodified lives.

In this edition of The Secret Ingredient with Raj Patel, Tom Philpott, and Rebecca McInroy: Sven Beckert, Harvard University professor, historian, and author of the 2014 book “Empire of Cotton,” discusses the significance of cotton as the most important commodity of the 19th century, as well as the violent history cotton production has in the Southern United States, and most importantly the pivotal role cotton plays in the enterprise of capitalism we know today.

We ‘d also like to welcome a very special guest to our show for a new segment called “Letter From a Correspondent,” it’s the world-renowned economist Dr. James K. Galbraith; author of, most recently, Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.