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Weekly Roundup: February 23, 2024


At the Blog

On Monday, Daniel Morales argued that the “crisis” at the U.S. border with Mexico is neither about the border, nor about migrants’ impact on the country. Instead, it must be understood as part of the broader right-wing project to reproduce the settler colonial mindset in the next generation. The social machinery that produces such an identity — one which revels in hierarchies of race, gender, and wealth — requires the presence of vulnerable, “less than” people, over which would-be settlers can practice dominance with the tacit or explicit sanction of the state. In the wake of the civil rights movement and the changing face of immigration in the 1960s and 70s, this machinery has begun to break down. Thus, the staging of a crisis at the border, and renewed focus on the migrant/citizen divide, is meant to reinforce these waning hierarchical impulses. As Morales concludes, the dehumanizing muscles, reflexes, and feelings of threat that this drama produces in its audience will not be restricted to the distinction between native-born Americans and otherized migrants. Rather, they will be directed at women, racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people, non-Christians, and any others thought to be “less-than” white Christian men. The Democratic party’s continued embrace of the Right’s framing of the border thus threatens many mainstream liberal equality projects, along with the Left’s ambitious emancipatory visions.

On Wednesday, Matt Buck interviewed Ganesh Sitaraman about his new book, Why Flying Is Miserable: And How To Fix It. In their conversation, they discuss the corrosive effects that deregulation had on the airline industry, what we can learn from the earlier American tradition of regulated capitalism, how to think about the use of history in addressing contemporary problems, and much else. Here’s a brief taste of the conversation: “Rate regulation enables a critical feature of many network businesses: affordable access across a large geography, through cross-subsidies. For many of these essential services — transportation, communications, energy — we want access all around the country. But it is more expensive to serve remote or smaller places. Those places would get limited or even no service if they had to pay the full cost of rail service, electricity, or even letter delivery. NPU law thus often required enterprises to offer service across a geographic area, and set the rates for service. Uniform pricing – such as charging the same price to send a stamped letter from New York to Boston as from New York to Anchorage – was based on cross-subsidies. The higher-volume, higher-profit places paid a little more so there was affordable access in the more expensive, lower-volume areas. This ensured access throughout the country to these services.”

In LPE Land

PhD students and early-career researchers working on histories of neoliberalism are invited to apply for summer research grants from the History of Political Economy Project. Deadline is 3/24!

The Labor and the Law Workshop, co-hosted by the Center for Political Economy at Columbia University, seeks contributions from PhD students and post-doctoral fellows that address the labor movement’s relationship to the law. The workshop will be held Friday, May 24 at Columbia University, with LPE-favorite Veena Dubal giving a keynote lecture. Abstract submissions due March 10!

Over at Balkinization, Willy Forbath discusses law’s violence, the labor movement, and rival constitutional claims in his reaction to Robert Post’s recent book, The Taft Court: Making Law for a Divided Nation, 1921–1930.

In the Atlantic, Zephyr Teachout argues that while recent laws in Texas and Florida that would prevent social-media platforms from moderating their content are misguided and dangerous, a broad constitutional ruling against them would be even worse.

In case you haven’t yet subscribed, the hit new podcast Fragile Juggernaut released its third episode (“The Lean Years”), which explores the transformations within the working class brought about by World War I and its decade-long aftermath.

On March 1st, the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy will be holding a symposium on “The Future of Work: The Intersection of Poverty and Labor.” The Symposium will include discussions with academics, union leaders, NLRB staff, and advocates across current topics at the intersection of poverty and labor including worker cooperatives, child labor, automation and technology, worker surveillance, unionism, and collective actions.

A reminder that the deadline to apply to The LPE in Europe Project’s second Summer Academy is March 1st! Taking place at the University of Glasgow from June 19 – 21, participants in this immersive 3-day Summer Academy will attend writing workshops, in-depth masterclasses covering key LPE subjects, sessions on policymaking, an introduction to heterodox economics, roundtable discussions, and social activities. Researchers at the doctoral stage are particularly encouraged to apply.