Producerism is an ideology which holds that those members of society engaged in the production of tangible wealth are of greater benefit to society than, for example, aristocrats who inherit their wealth and station.
Robert Ascher traces the history of producerism back as early as the Diggers in the 1640s. This outlook was not widespread among artisans of the time because they owed their livelihoods to the patronage of the aristocracy, but by the time of the American Revolution, the producerist view was dominant among American artisans.
Rosanne Currarino identifies two varieties of producerism in the mid-19th Century: "proprietary producerism," which is popular among self-employed farmers and urban artisans, and "industrial producerism," which spoke to wage-laborers and is identified in particular with the Knights of Labor and the rise of socialism.
Controversy over modern-day producerism
Producerism has seen a contemporary revival, sparked by popular opposition to the machinations of globalized financial capital and large, politically connected corporations. Critics of producerism see a correlation between producerist views, and views that are antagonistic toward lower income people and immigrants, such as nativism. These critics see producerism as analogous to populism. Examples of politicians or groups that are cited by these critics include the Reform Party of the United States of America, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Lou Dobbs, as well as Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Jörg Haider in Austria, and similar dissident politicians across Europe (Betz & Immerfall, Betz).
- Ascher, Robert, "Producerism is consciousness of class," Organized labor and American politics : 1894-1994 : the labor-liberal alliance, Albany : State Univ. of New York Press, 1998, pp. 53-55
- Currarino, Roseanne, The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age, University of Illinois Press, 2011, pp. 13-15
- Stromquist, Shelton, "The crisis of 1894 and the legacies of producerism, The Pullman Strike and the crisis of the 1890s : essays on labor and politics, Urbana, Ill. [u.a.] University of Illinois Press 1999, p. 197
- Currarino, Roseanne, The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age, University of Illinois Press, 2011, p. 118
- Westbrook, Robert B., Democratic hope : pragmatism and the politics of truth, Ithaca, N.Y : Cornell University Press, 2005, p.84
- Producerism.org Explicitly Producerist website which divides society into Producers and the "Looters" (liberal elite) and "Moochers" (underclass) who exploit them.
- Why Democrats Must Be Populists. And what populist-phobes don't understand about America. American Prospect article with a positive view of producerism.
- The Producerist Narrative in Repressive Right Wing Populism
- Hard Right Styles, Frames & Narratives Includes a short section on Producerism under "Populism."
- The Party of Privilege: The NDP Consensus and the Attack on the Poor A critique accusing a Canadian political party of being producerist.
- Journeymen for Jesus: Evangelical Artisans Confront Capitalism in Jacksonian Baltimore. Book proposing a Jacksonian and evangelical origin for producerism
- Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life. Book that includes section on Producerist hostility towards financial capital.