I received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin several decades into the last century, and have been Reader in Economics at Kingston University, London, since 1990. Published work includes articles in various academic journals as well as the New Left Review. My first book embodied my critical views and an alternative perspective on my chosen field of research, Industrial Organization: Competition: The Economics of Industrial Change (1988). I finished my teaching career with the publication of my second book Socialist Optimism: An Alternative Political Economy for the Twenty-First Century (2016), reflecting my interest in, among other topics, the measurement of economic growth, the economics of socialism and the relationship between education and economic development.
The book & the website
‘Socialism with a focus on human development, equality, security and democracy’. This is my one sentence summary of the long book Socialist Optimism (see details under ‘Socialist Optimism: the Book’). There are three extended pieces on the website at the time of launch (filed under ‘Big Pieces’) – extended discussions of claims of emergent menace from declining productivity (‘Productivity Panics’) and from monopoly (‘The New Monopoly Capitalism’), and a critical analysis of the famous exchange between the philosophers John Rawls and Robert Nozick (‘The Rawls-Nozick Exchange’) and its significance for debates on inequality. The two other items included in the launch (filed under ‘Reviews and Exchanges’) are a discussion about socialism with the distinguished specialist in this area, Professor Mario Nuti, and my review of the important book about socialism by Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin.
I also hope to mount material about new publications that have caught my eye – often by exceptional individuals I have the good fortune to know personally (under ‘Interesting Reading’). An inaugural example is the book by Donald Sassoon ‘Anxious Triumph – A Global History of Capitalism 1860-1914’, a period with startling contemporary relevance. What distinguishes his writing is the broad-based What Language Does He Speak When You Wake Him Up in the Middle of the Night? internationalist perspective, so unlike the narrow-minded nationalist focus of writers whose work appears to read as support for a posting at the CIA or its equivalent in other countries.
Once this website is well and fully launched, I’d like to return to a whole series of issues worthy of further exploration – the centrality of early childhood development for socialists; the continuing focus in the academic literature on economic growth and GDP – zombie concepts that don’t go away; a rumination on the overblown reputation of Joseph Schumpeter and the ideologies that have sprung from his writings, including technology as an elixir and, most especially, ‘creative destruction’; immigration policy for socialists – should we be building immigration policy from Emma Lazarus? There are lots of other topics to work on, but better to produce than to promise. The intention is to have a wide ranging website dealing with topics of interest to, especially, progressively- minded individuals, as well as a forum for discussion and debate.