A Second Gilded Age? Historical Parallels, Differences, Lessons



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


1201: Elebash Recital Hall


MAY 06, 2019 | 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM
Rethinking the Grid




The Gotham Center for New York City History


Are we living in a "Second Gilded Age”? Journalists, scholars, and reformers are increasingly using this phrase to describe the political economy which has developed over the last forty years or so, especially since the Great Recession. But historical analogies can have their perils. Might comparing our post-industrial, globalized era with the late industrial period obscure, as well as inform, how we understand and contest economic inequality today?

With this question in mind, we ask a host of experts in various disciplines what insights, and lessons for reform, might be drawn by considering the "first Gilded Age" as like our time, and what risks are posed by an undifferentiated comparison. Three panels will identify and compare for each period (1) the economic factors driving inequality, (2) the political factors which created or exacerbated those market dynamics, and (3) the effectiveness of various policies in leveling those inequalities, and what social movements and political coalitions might be required to enact them.

This daylong conference is a joint venture, hosted in partnership with the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and presented with The Stone Center on Socioeconomic Inequality and The Society for History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, with co-sponsorship from the history departments at The Graduate Center, York University, and George Mason University. Details will be forthcoming.