As the title of his latest book, “JFK, Conservative,” suggests, Ira Stoll has a different perspective on politics and economics. After a career in newspaper journalism, he’s now writing on his own and sharing his worldview on his website, Future of Capitalism. I asked him about his work and how he’s doing transitioning from New York to Boston.
Tell me about your website, Future of Capitalism. What’s the unifying theme?
It’s a news and opinion site that covers the intersection of business and government, which is a pretty busy place these days. It’s free-market oriented. It tries to avoid being shrill or partisan. I do some book reviews and some links to writing I do elsewhere. The site covers everything from the rise of automated self-order kiosks at fast-food restaurants as a way for companies to avoid the minimum wage and health care mandates that increase labor costs, to regulators who cash out by going to work in the private sector, to the debate over income inequality.
Your most recent book, “JFK, Conservative,” has a pretty provocative title in liberal Boston. What’s the thesis?
The book argues that John Kennedy was a conservative by the standards of both his time and ours. He increased military spending, was virulently anti-Communist, pursued free trade and supply-side tax cuts, favored welfare reform, was thrifty when it came to domestic spending, escalated the war in Vietnam, and believed the Cold War was a battle between America and a godless, evil Soviet Union. He was the precursor to Ronald Reagan.
I’ve gotten out of the newspaper business, in part because of my pessimism about its future. I am still in the news business. I think the Internet is actually going to prove to be a remarkable boon to newsgathering and to news distribution, and we are still in the early days of it. The growth in the news business is going to be in digital, not in print.
You’ve been in Boston for just under a year. What do you miss most about New York City?
My family and friends who live there. Also, the bagels and bialys!
*Photo by Anne Mandelbaum
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!
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