Procrastination? No way. When it comes to economics, it’s just that I’ve spent my past few weeks thinking about the topic in sociological rather than personal terms.
It started back around spring break, when a group of political scientists proposed a reading group on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The book is a little windy and Piketty may be an economist, but he thinks like a sociologist—not only in taking on the problem of inequality itself but in seeing it as a problem, in understanding its roots in social and political systems, and in using graphs and charts to bring complicated and troubling economic trends to life.
It continued a week or two later when Richard L. Zweigenhaft and G. William Domhoff sent us a synopsis of the new edition of their book on corporate diversity (or the lack thereof) in the contemporary United States. I love this long-term, fairly basic project because so often when we sociologists study social inequality we focus on disadvantage, marginalization and poverty. Zweigenhaft and Domhoff—or, as I like to call them, Richie Z. and the Big B.D.—turn this on its head, tracking the social demographics of the other side of the economic coin, the most privileged of Americans, the corporate elite. We published that just last week as “Trends at the Top: The New CEOs Revisited.”
And, after lecturing on the cultural and political foundations of capitalism last week in my Intro class, I’ve spent the last few days reading Lane Kenworthy’s bold, visionary call for better government involvement in our economy and collective lives, Social Democratic America. The timing isn’t accidental, nor all just about taxes. Kenworthy is going to be here on campus at Minnesota tomorrow, as part of our ongoing Scholars Strategy Network series. It should be good.
Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ve got a little paperwork to prepare for tomorrow’s mail.