Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2013 - 6/30/2014

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

A History of Market-Based Policies in the United States

FAIN: FA-57183-13

Nancy K. MacLean
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)

Suppose that something long understood as an ending was also a beginning. What if national stories told in isolation from one another were in fact connected, and in ways that illuminate core issues of our time? The Privatization Project shows that Massive Resistance to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision was the chrysalis from which the market first regained popularity over government as the best decision-maker and provider for common needs. Through an accidental discovery followed by extensive archival and other original research, I have unearthed ties between states’ rights activists and leading free-market economists that emerged in the late 1950s and traced their subsequent history of alliance building with sometimes surprising partners over the ensuing half century. Where existing works on neoliberalism begin in the 1970s with crises of profitability and public finance, my work excavates the pre-history of early and ongoing anti-democratic motives and goals.

Associated Products

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (Book)
Title: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Author: Nancy MacLean
Abstract: Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority. In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.
Year: 2017
Publisher: Viking
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-110198096
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes