political economy EI Covid


These readings present pressing issues of political economy — the interconnections between politics, power, and economics — in relation to youth and Big Tech as it’s become the dominant global economic power and the channel through which the entertainment industries flow.  The final reading by Robert McChesney outlines ideological premises upon which capitalist control of the media is based and raises questions about the relationship between democracy and corporate power.


Several of these readings are from the New York Times to which all UMass students have free access.  Follow this link for information on how to enroll:  https://blogs.umass.edu/comm397ss-jsaxe/class-enroll-nyt/

  1. Benjamin Fearnow. Millennials Control Just 4.2 Percent of US Wealth, 4 Times Poorer Than Baby Boomers Were At Age 34. Time, October 8, 2020. 
  2. Examining the Black-White Wealth Gap.  Brookings, February 27, 2020.
  3. Dan Levin.  How the Pandemic Has Been Devastating for Children From Low-Income Families.  New York Times, December, 29, 2020.  
  4. Robin Lake, Alvin Makori.  The Digital Divide Among Students During COVID-19: Who Has Access? Who Doesn’t?  Center on Reinventing Public Education, June 16, 2020.
  5. Nitasha Tiku, Jay Greene.  The billionaire boom.  Washington Post.   March 12, 2021.
  6. Gene Chan. Big Tech Oligopoly. Seeking Alpha, May 14, 2019.
  7. Salvador Rodriguez.  Facebook is a social network monopoly that buys, copies or kills competitors, antitrust committee finds.  CNBC, October 6, 2020.
  8. Shoshana Zuboff.  The real reason why Facebook and Google won’t change.  Fast Company, February 22, 2019.  
  1. Viewpoint: ‘We’re living in an age of surveillance capitalism”.  BBC Ideas, February 20, 2019

  1. Robert McChesney. Media, Markets, Policies. The Problem of the Media. Monthly Review Press. pp.18-24.

Reading response questions.  Post on your rolling Google doc.  Include date and assignment title.  Send link to instructor.

  1. What’s the story these readings convey?  What are some critical issues (take-aways) they address?  How are they interconnected?  Reference at least two specific issues.  How do the issues raised in these readings relate to issues we’ve been discussing in class?  What are your thoughts?

2.  For reading #10 by Robert McChesney. Media, Markets, Policies, select two ideas to discuss in class.  What do they mean to you?  What are your thoughts?