Brooke Harrington

Brooke Harrington is assistant professor of economic sociology at Brown University. Her research focuses on wealth and on social factors in the stock market.

Recent Articles

Investor Beware:

I t has become nearly axiomatic in this country to argue that everything would be better if it were run like a business. In response, government has shifted its mission: If it used to operate like Super Glue, bonding Americans to one another, it is now working more like WD-40, minimizing friction in the pursuit of individual (and corporate) profit. Social Security is not only the largest government program but the embodiment of the Super Glue approach to politics: the ultimate test case for privatization. The Bush administration proposes to allow contributors to invest a portion of their public Social Security pensions in the stock market. What a coup that would be for the WD-40 contingent. Privatization proponents rest their proposal on three claims: Social Security funds are comparable to private investments, like iras; since most Americans manage their own iras, there is no reason they shouldn't manage their public pensions as well; and given the average returns on American stocks...