Today’s guest is Monica Prasad, professor of sociology at Northwestern University, where she studies economic, political, and comparative historical sociology. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Politics of Free Markets and Starving the Beast
Our discussion will center on her book The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty, in which she addresses the question of why the US has more poverty than any other developed nation, despite being the wealthiest country on earth. To answer this, she develops a demand-side theory of comparative political economy. She argues that American "mortgage Keynesianism" - as opposed to European "social Keynesianism" - was the result of the world-historical conjuncture created by the massive productivity of settler colonial farming in the late 19th century, and the deflation that followed.
In the second half of the episode, we delve deeper into the history of the American mortgage with a reading series from K Sue Park. It turns out that mortgage "foreclosure" was a settler colonial invention from the 17th century. This was the violent, early modern legal foundation for the 20th century development of mortgage Keynesianism.
*** LINKS ***
Monica Prasad's Northwestern University Profile: https://sociology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/monica-prasad.html
The Land of Too Much: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674066526
K-Sue Park's Georgetown Law Profile: https://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/k-sue-park/
Money, Mortgages, and the Conquest of America: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/lsi.12222