Who Makes Cents: A History of Capitalism Podcast is a monthly program devoted to bringing you quality, engaging stories that explain how capitalism has changed over time.  We interview historians and social and cultural critics about capitalism’s past, highlighting the political and economic changes that have created the present. Each episode gives voice to the people who have shaped capitalism – by making the rules or by breaking them, by creating economic structures or by resisting them.

Our interviews have tended to focus primarily, though not exclusively, on U.S. history.  That said, we are eager to incorporate more perspectives on capitalism from around the globe. If you have a topic you want to learn more about – or tell us more about – get in touch. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter at WhoMakesCents.

Our ninety-third episode is now available! Featuring Joan Flores-Villalobos on How Black Women’s Labor Made the Panama Canal. Click here to listen online or download. You can also subscribe to our podcast for free by searching for “Who Makes Cents” in the iTunes store or clicking here.

WhoMakesCents is made possible by the generous support of listeners like you. To make a donation to support our ongoing work on the show, visit our Patreon page.

Your Host 

Jessica Ann Levy is an Assistant Professor in Modern American History at Purchase College, SUNY. Her book project, Black Power, Inc.: Corporate America, Race, and Empowerment Politics in the U.S. and Africa (University of Pennsylvania Press, under contract), examines the transnational rise of Black empowerment politics in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa since World War II, including the dramatic expansion of public and private programs promoting Black entrepreneurship, job-training, and corporate-community partnerships in response to multiple Black movements. The dissertation, on which it is based, was awarded the Herman E. Krooss Prize for Best Dissertation in Business History from the Business History Conference and the Betty Unterberger Dissertation Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Jessica’s work has appeared in Enterprise & Society, Journal of Urban History, Black Perspectives, the Washington Post, and other venues. Read more about Jessica’s work here.


Alex Beasley is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Alex’s book project, Expert Capital: Houston and the Making of a Service Empire, examines the cultural, political, and economic development of the globally integrated economy through the lens of the oilfield services industry. Alex’s work has been published in Diplomatic History and is forthcoming in Radical History Review.
Read more about Alex’s work here.

David Stein is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA. His book manuscript, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The Civil Rights Struggle for Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1929-1986, is under contract with University of North Carolina Press for their Justice, Power and Politics series. His article, “‘This Nation Has Never Honestly Dealt with the Question of a Peacetime Economy’: Coretta Scott King and the Struggle for a Nonviolent Economy in the 1970s,” was recently awarded the Maria Stewart Prize for the best journal article in Black intellectual history from the African American Intellectual History Society.
Read more about his work here.

Alex and David wrote a short essay about Who Makes Cents? on the U.S. Intellectual History Blog.

Our logo was designed by Faith Hutchinson.