OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Louis Hyman

Portrait of Louis Hyman

Louis Hyman is the Maurice and Hinda Neufeld Founders Professor in Industrial and Labor Relations in the labor relations, law, and history department at the ILR School of Cornell University, where he teaches courses on the history of labor, business, consumption, and management. His research focuses on the history of American capitalism, particularly the intersection of the government and the market in everyday economic practice. A former Fulbright scholar and McKinsey consultant, he is the author of Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (2011), which focuses on the history of the political economy of debt, and Borrow: The American Way of Debt (2012), which explains how American culture shaped finance and in turn how finance shaped culture. In 2018, he published his most recent book, Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Wilson Quarterly, Bloomberg, CNBC, and other media outlets, as well as in essay collections. He teaches the EdX mooc, "American Capitalism: A History," and is the founding editor of the Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism book series.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Think the postwar boom was because government stayed out of business? You would be wrong. Working with business, postwar federal policies smartly encouraged the investment of private capital in new sectors, producing what many have called "the golden age of capitalism." Learn how some of the New Deal’s most transformative programs were steered by business leaders whose entrepreneurship made the postwar boom possible, and what these lessons mean for today's economy.
Learn how innovations in business, policy, and technology brought a shift to a more flexible workforce, and what that will mean for the future of work in the United States.
This lively lecture traces the history of personal debt in the twentieth century from the first credit cards to today, explaining what is new, and what is not, in today's debt-driven economy.