Segments in this Video

New Robber Barons (01:34)


Bill Moyers compares recent legislation permitting Wall Street to resume predatory bets to the Gilded Age, when Congress was owned by Big Business. Citigroup lobbyists drafted the provision.

Gilded Age History (01:58)

"The Age of Acquiescence" author Steve Fraser outlines late 19th century crony capitalism and extreme inequality that caused people to rebel. Today's society lacks resistance.

Labor Movement (01:30)

Fraser explains that industrial capitalism disrupted traditional ways of life in the 1880s, inspiring organized resistance. Today's society believes there is no alternative to market capitalism.

Civilizing Capitalism (01:06)

Fraser discusses how the safety net was established as a result of a two generation class struggle against the Gilded Age.

Financial Capitalism (02:22)

In the 1970s, de-industrialization caused the Labor Movement to die. In the 1980s, new capitalists created a financial economy and began dismantling the safety net.

Politics of Fear (01:07)

Fraser believes people are afraid to fight back against inequality because of job insecurity and a lack of social benefits.

Democratic Capitalism Fable (01:35)

Fraser argues that the American myth of individual success and reinvention inhibits collective resistance to inequality.

Consumer Freedom Myth (02:02)

Fraser outlines the idea that Americans can become liberated through material goods, promoted by media images of prosperity. In reality, the U.S. is in the process of under-developing.

Free Market "Champions" (01:08)

Fraser compares popular views of the elites from the first Gilded Age to today. Despite bail outs, Wall Street is still considered an authority on success.

Acquiescent Age (00:55)

Polls show 60% of Americans believe the economy only works for the wealthy—an opinion not reflected in political outcomes.

Vocal Right (01:29)

Fraser talks about free market ideology seen as a synonym for freedom. There are few alternative social visions.

Capitalism and Freedom Language (01:33)

Fraser discusses how the U.S. used the term "freedom" at the beginning of the Cold War since capitalism failed in the 1930s.

Decreasing Living Standards (02:06)

Fraser discusses how the economy is recovering at a low level, at the cost of social safety and infrastructure.

Class War (03:10)

Fraser believes Americans will soon mobilize social resistance against the 1%. Visit for more information on the Gilded Age.

Credits: Moyers & Company: The New Robber Barons (01:35)

Credits: Moyers & Company: The New Robber Barons

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Moyers & Company: The New Robber Barons

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In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill speaks with Author and historian Steve Fraser about provisions in the new spending bill, drafted by Citigroup, that expand the amount of campaign donations wealthy donors can give, and lets banks off the hook for gambling with customer (and taxpayer) money. Fraser compares our current age with the First Gilded Age when people rose in rebellion against the powers that be. Today we do not see “that enormous resistance,” but he concludes, “people are increasingly fed up… their voices are not being heard. And I think that can only go on for so long without there being more and more outbreaks of what used to be called class struggle, class warfare.” Broadcast date: December 19, 2014.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: FMK66050

ISBN: 978-1-60057-705-5

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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