Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Liberalism in the American Century
In this episode Roger Horowitz interviews University of Pennsylvania historian Brent Cebul about his new book Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Liberalism in the American Century. In the interview Cebul explains his book’s core notions of “supply-side liberalism” and “business producerism” to explain how local elites, often quite conservative, made peace with and actually administered liberal New Deal programs including public works, urban redevelopment, and housing. Ranging between a close look at small town Georgia and urban Cleveland, Cebul explains how the New Deal built on older liberal traditions of using state resources to boost capitalist enterprises that needed capital resources in order to grow. In doing so, in essence binding national visions of progress to the local interests of regional business elites, liberals often entrenched the very inequalities of power and opportunity they imagined their programs solving.
The audio only version of this program is available on our podcast.