Chartbook #135: A Chartbook sampler

It is a delight to welcome new readers to Chartbook.

Many have come by way of the very generous profile in The Atlantic by Annie Lowery.

Both for new readers and those who have been following Chartbook for a while, it may be of interest to take a tour of some of the older posts.

Much of the material in the newsletter is by its nature ephemeral but some of the posts cover issues that have a longer sell by date.

For the first anniversary of the newsletter in the fall of 2021 I put together an index.

Here are some particular recommendations. Back in the fall of 2021 I did two pieces to accompany the release of my COVID book Shutdown, which still rattle around in my mind.

On Keynes and why we can afford anything we can actually do.

And on writing in media res, which my friend Nick Mulder suggested to me might actually be a great alternative title for the Newsletter.

I am in the Abacos right now, and two pieces I wrote here last year come to mind.

Chartbook #20 on The Caribbean, Central America and the “Brazilianization” thesis, which was a response to a fascinating article by Alex Hochuli.

The other, Chartbook #21, was an essay about Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad novels.

I wrote it in the weeks following my father’s unexpected death and the essay carries some of the emotion of that moment.

Then there is Chartbook #45 on the Mariel boatlift to Miami and the award of the Nobel prize in economics to David Card, “or the history of a natural experiment”.

Chartbook #45: Of Scarface & the Nobel – The Double Life of Mariel

The award of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Berkeley’s David Card is important because of the recognition it extends to an economist who has consistently worked on urgent questions of labour economics. Together with the late Alan B. Krueger and the two other winners, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens, Card pioneered the methodology of natural experiment…Read more9 months ago · 25 likes · 3 comments · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #37 on how to write the economic history of China, the Soviet Union and Eurasia’s great divergence is one I regularly come back to.

Chartbook #37: How to escape shock therapy – writing the history of China, the Soviet Union and Eurasia’s great divergence

Some time in the next 10-15 years, China’s GDP will likely overtake that of the United States. That is the future. One of the momentous that already happened early in the 21st century is China’s overtaking of Russia. The dramatic surge in China’s GDP per capita contrasts with the catastrophic collapse in the Soviet Union and Russia after 1989…Read more10 months ago · 15 likes · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #44 on William Jennings Bryan, populism, the gold standard, and the “cross of gold” speech.

Chartbook #44: The Cross of Gold – populism, democratic iterations and the politics of money

“Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold…Read more9 months ago · 33 likes · 9 comments · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #82: The rise of asset manager capitalism and the financial crisis of 2008

We live in a remarkable world. As of July 20 2021, three asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard Group and State Street Corp. collectively owned about 22% of the average S&P 500 company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, up from 13.5% in 2008. Asset manager capitalism…Read more5 months ago · 40 likes · 13 comments · Adam Tooze

More recently I’ve done a mini-series on the ideological tropes that have emerged from the war in Ukraine.

Chartbook #119: Lend-Lease & Escalation

Containers of Dodge trucks awaiting shipment to Russia under the lend-lease agreement, August 1943. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Alfred T. Palmer, photographer (LC-USE6-D-002838) In 2022, we wait with bated breath to see how Putin will mark “Victory day”, the day of celebration that marks the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, in…Read more2 months ago · 142 likes · 37 comments · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #120: St Javelin, Lockheed & the arsenal of democracy

If there is a weapon that symbolizes the war in Ukraine, it is the FGM-148 anti-tank infrared guided missile also known as Javelin. Images of St Javelin which shows Mary Magdalene holding a Javelin launcher in the style of an Eastern Orthodox church painting…Read more2 months ago · 51 likes · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #123: The war in Ukraine and the triumph of the all-American anti-tank gizmo

Ukraine’s successful defense against Russian attack has become a dynamic (re)generator of ideology. The war has reopened debates about just war and the future of alliances like NATO. I have addressed those themes in two pieces in New Statesman – on Habermas…Read morea month ago · 64 likes · 40 comments · Adam Tooze

Chartbook #128: Mission command – NATO’s Strangelove vision of freedom enacted on the Ukraine battlefield

Russian forces attempted to cross the Siverskyi Donets river in eastern Ukraine this month using a pontoon bridge, but their tanks and armoured vehicles were picked off by Ukrainian artillery. So they tried it again. And again. And again. The Russian army made nine attempts to cross the river in the second week of May, according to Ukrainian defence chi…Read more24 days ago · 87 likes · 47 comments · Adam Tooze

But perhaps the newsletter that has meant most to me is an appreciation of Stuart Hall’s autobiography.

Chartbook #125: Familiar Stranger – Stuart Hall on diasporic thought

A few weeks ago, browsing the bookshop at the Barbican in London I chanced on Familiar Stranger – A Life Between Two Islands, the posthumous memoir by Stuart Hall edited by his friend and colleague Bill Schwarz. Stuart Hall, born in Kingston Jamacia in 1932, was one of the founders of…Read morea month ago · 53 likes · 4 comments · Adam Tooze

In any case, this is an invitation to browse the archive and enjoy.

And if you find stuff you enjoy and have not yet hit the subscription button, please do consider giving your support to the enterprise.

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