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Catherine Maumi

In April 1935, at the Industrial Arts Exposition organized by the National Alliance of Art and Industry inside the Rockefeller Center in New York City, a model by architect Frank Lloyd Wright was put on display. This model, which has subsequently become very famous, depicted his vision of Broadacre City. Although it has continued to captivate, the public has often disregarded the project’s economic, political and social dimensions that the model sought to illustrate. With Broadacres, Wright inserted himself into the lively debates happening on the American political and economic scene in the 1920s and 1930s. A native of Wisconsin and deeply attached to the culture of the Midwest, Wright was influenced by the kind of progressive culture that developed in the late nineteenth century – first in the state of Wisconsin, then in Chicago, where he rubbed shoulders with intellectuals in the capital of the Midwest. With Broadacre City, Wright was looking to offer a spatial and architectural transcription of the “organic capitalism” that he was promoting at the time: a capitalism that respects the Earth and the men who inhabit it, the only one that would be compatible with the type of democracy he called for.

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Robert Skidelsky

Based on the views of Keynes, this chapter presents the argument that distribution is a macroeconomic question, because a distribution of purchasing power heavily skewed towards the owners of capital assets creates a problem of deficient demand. Although Keynes was relatively indifferent to questions of inequality and distribution per se, he shed light on the under-consumption phenomenon of capitalism, theorizing about the impact of such a phenomenon on the occurrences of crises. Therefore, Keynes’s theory still rings true today, since modern under-consumptionist theory starts with a big increase in inequality, rekindling an interest in distributional issues. Indeed, new under-consumptionism attaches great causal importance to the financialization that serves to redistribute income from productive activities to non-productive finance. Overall, in Keynesian terms, a situation in which the inducement to invest is falling, but income inequality is rising, is the worst possible basis for both stability and growth. This is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

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Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda

This chapter deals with the intellectual discussion about the idea of Latin America, with the objective of showing how this debate is manifested in the context of the region’s professional football. The argument proposed is that the design of a Latin American unit encountered difficulties regarding the construction of identity throughout its history, more precisely between the late nineteenth century and the end of the twentieth century. As geographical territories often cross historical periods of continuous exchange between unity and fragmentation, approximation and distancing, the Latin American case draws attention to the particular characteristics of its colonial heritage. Without being only a dimension of the past, such influences became more complex throughout the twentieth century, when the emergence of the United States, during the so-called “Progressive Era”, as a hegemonic power began to have decisive effects on Latin American economy, politics and culture. The chapter’s purpose is to suggest that, although US hegemony is uncontested in all contexts of collective life in Latin America, its presence was not directly felt regarding modern sports, especially in the practice of professional football and the intercontinental tournaments of clubs and national teams. In this context, the otherness remained focused on the other side of the Atlantic: either on the United Kingdom, responsible for inventing the rules of sports practices; or on Latin European countries – France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – that influenced in institutional and cultural terms the styles and playing techniques in South America.

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Edited by Guillaume Vallet

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Jeffrey Nathaniel Parker

Roderick D. McKenzie published his dissertation The Neighborhood: A Study of Local Life in the City of Columbus, Ohio in its entirety in serialized form over five issues of the American Journal of Sociology in 1921 and 1922. A sprawling multi-method examination of the social life of Columbus, it is among the earliest of what we might now call a neighborhood study, and suggested theoretical directions later taken up by more famous exemplars of the First Chicago School. For the most part, though, it has been ignored. This chapter suggests two reasons for its relative anonymity: infelicitous timing and the fact that it occupies a liminal category that has made it difficult to leverage in debates about the Chicago School of Sociology. More to the point, it suggests that we might still learn lessons from The Neighborhood these many years later, specifically its deep theorization on the epistemology of neighborhoods that anticipates important concerns in urban sociology today. Moreover, the collective forgetting of The Neighborhood also provides lessons about canonization and about the continuing debates over the Chicago School.

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Christian Morrisson

The free-market model was in 1880 well suited to the analysis of income distributions in European or American countries dominated by laissez-faire policies. State intervention was minimal and the percentage of public expenditure in GDP very low. Kuznets explained the successive narrowing and widening of inequality in this period by the massive migration of people from the countryside (with low wages) to urban areas (with higher wages). Here this model is discussed using data for six European countries. The 1880s–1930s experienced a radical shift in public policy where social expenditure dramatically increased, reaching more than 1% of GDP in several European countries. During the First World War, wages remained frozen; likewise, in France property rents were stable for a long period. New sources of income mainly acquired by rich households were redistributed to poorer ones. All these liberal changes had a decisive impact on income distribution, which cannot, however, be easily explained by the Kuznets model. GDP per capita is not the whole story. While global inequalities in income began to improve only around 1990, inequalities in well-being had already done so throughout the whole of the twentieth century, indeed to the extent that they led to ameliorations in citizens’ welfare.

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Guillaume Vallet

This chapter sheds light on Albion W. Small’s views on the relationship between inequalities and the dynamics of capitalism during the Progressive Era. Focusing in particular on inequalities stemming from capital concentration as well as on inequalities related to the conditions of the workers in the workplace, Small designed innovative proposals in order to devise and implement new social policies aiming at building a fairer capitalism. At stake for him was the issue of survival of this economic system but also the survival of democracy. Small demonstrated that economic and social reforms go hand in hand, which still rings true today.

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Inequalities and the Progressive Era

Breakthroughs and Legacies

Edited by Guillaume Vallet

Inequalities and the Progressive Era features contributors from all corners of the world, each exploring a different type of inequality during the ‘Progressive Era’ (1890s-1930s). Though this era is most associated with the United States, it corresponds to a historical period in which profound changes and progress are realized or expected all over the globe.
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Patricia Thane

Inequalities of income, gender and race became prominent from the 1890s and survived into the twenty-first century. Surveys showed extensive poverty, due mainly to low pay and insecure work, causing protest and the first state welfare measures from 1906. Wealth was concentrated among few people, mainly in finance and business in London. Poverty and inequality fell during the Second World War, but revived due to the Depression from 1920. Women campaigned for greater equality, especially for the vote, with increasing militancy before 1914. In 1918 they gained the vote, still unequally with men, but used it through the 1920s to gain some improvements in occupational and legal inequalities. Immigrants from the British Empire legally had full rights in Britain, but ‘colored’ imperial immigrants faced racist hostility. Immigration of Jewish refugees from Russia created anti-Semitism and, from 1905, tighter restrictions on non-imperial migrants. Protest brought some modifications of these inequalities, but they long continued.

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Edited by Guillaume Vallet