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Campus Read featuring Dr. James Livingston

September 20, 2017 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

James Livingston started out as an economic historian writing about banking reform in the Progressive Era. His first book, which is still in print thanks to numerous financial crises, was Origins of the Federal Reserve System: Money, Class, and Corporate Capitalism, 1890-1913 (Cornell U Press, 1986). He is also the author of Pragmatism and the Political Economy of Cultural Revolution, 1850-1940 (UNC Press, 1994), The World Turned Inside Out: American Thought and Culture at the End of the 20th Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), and Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul (Basic Books, 2011). He has also written numerous pieces on fiscal politics, Keynes, Freud, Shakespeare, corporate liberalism, diplomatic history, and Disney (pretty much in that order), with additional scholarly publications appearing in Chicago History, The American Historical Review, Psycho-History Review, and Social Text and numerous Op-Ed pieces in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Dr. Livingston’s most recent book, No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea, challenges the long held imperative for reaching full employment levels. Amazon.com summarizes the book’s theme as such:

For centuries we’ve believed that work was where you learned discipline, initiative, honesty, self-reliance–in a word, character. A job was also, and not incidentally, the source of your income: if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat, or else you were stealing from someone. If only you worked hard, you could earn your way and maybe even make something of yourself.

In recent decades, through everyday experience, these beliefs have proven spectacularly false. In this book, James Livingston explains how and why Americans still cling to work as a solution rather than a problem–why it is that both liberals and conservatives announce that “full employment” is their goal when job creation is no longer a feasible solution for any problem, moral or economic. The result is a witty, stirring denunciation of the ways we think about why we labor, exhorting us to imagine a new way of finding meaning, character, and sustenance beyond our workaday world–and showing us that we can afford to leave that world behind.

Come join us, the Finlandia Community, on Wednesday, September 20th, a 7pm at the Finish American Heritage Center, for a provocative and stimulating discussion of Dr. James Livingston’s book No More Work.


September 20, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
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Bill Knoblauch
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