Jennifer Burns

Jennifer Burns is an assistant professor of history at Stanford, where she teaches courses on American political, cultural, and intellectual history. She is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Burns has also written for The New York Times, The New Republic, Harvard Magazine, and Foreign Policy.

Recent Articles

The Measure of All Things

How markets beat out citizenship to define our public life

I n the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, liberals were dismayed by the economic carnage but could at least rejoice that the dominant ideology of free markets had been exposed as fiction. The deepest vulnerabilities of unregulated capitalism had been cast into sharp relief; the groundwork was now in place for a return to robust regulation of the financial sector and a broader shift to the left. Yet as subsequent years have made clear, 2008 marked no such inflection point. The downturn helped usher Barack Obama into office, but his presidency has been defined less by liberal realignment than by the emergence of an Ayn Rand–inspired Tea Party movement that voted in a wave of conservative House members. After a moment of uncertainty, libertarian and conservative pundits recovered and blamed government regulation for the crisis. Well-connected Democratic bankers and ex-bankers helped craft a recovery plan that socialized risk, privatized gain, and did little to punish or correct the...