The Anti-Economist — From the February 2013 issue

Revised History

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

Last month, Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, the documentary series the director made with historian Peter Kuznick, completed its ten-episode run on Showtime. Those who unthinkingly dismiss Stone as a conspiracy theorist might be surprised by this scrupulously accurate warts-and-all consideration of the American century, which complicates our self-serving national folklore. More than thirty years after its publication, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States has attained the status of a classic, but we could use more efforts in this direction. “There is no such thing as impartial history,” Zinn acknowledged, but revisions like his and Stone’s provide a necessary corrective to the ignorance and whitewashing that often proceed from national embarrassments.

Unfortunately, we almost entirely lack similarly comprehensive correctives to prevailing economic history. It has been a century since the publication of Charles Beard’s famous An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, which argued that the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution partly to serve their own material interests. Since then, romantic and ideological myths about how America became prosperous have too often gone unchallenged. This is more than an academic concern: these misapprehensions continue to drive poor policymaking today.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $39.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Single Page
Share
undefined

More from Jeff Madrick:

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

  • Randy Bedore

    Does anyone know the details of the two references to Alan Blinder writings?

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Gateway to Freedom

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Guns and Poses

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Christmas in Prison

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Poison Apples

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Growing Up

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content