Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Antonio Callari - Introduction of Gar Alperovitz

Session: Entrprenuers and Communities in the Global Local Economy


Thank you Erik.

Our next guest is Gar Alperovitz, Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. Professor Alperovitz has been a prolific and distinguished writer. His works have been nominated for academic prizes and have appeared in both academic venues and venues of popular currency--in the NY Times and in the Washington Post, for example. Professor Alperovitz belongs to that increasingly rare breed of scholars who are public intellectuals, a breed whose numbers we would all be better served to see increase. He’s a well traveled scholar in various ways. He’s well traveled around public arenas, appearing on Wall Street Week, on Crossfire, on the Jim Lehrer Newshour, on Larry King Live, and on The Charlie Rose Show, and I think that we all recognize the quality of at least some of these shows. He is also well traveled in academic settings. He has been at Cambridge University, at Harvard University, at the Brooking Institution, at Notre Dame University. He has also worked in government, as a Legislative Director both for the House of Representatives and the US Senate, and at the State Department. Finally, he has been a Marshall Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow. I think you get the idea; and I could go on.

Professor Alperovitz came to our attention when we read one of his books, entitled "Making Place for Community." A number of us here have been teaching a course on cities and communities, and one of the issues that comes up in that course is the economic distress that cities and communities have been feeling as a result of the changing economic environment. Professor Alperovitz has been long been paying attention to the question of how communities can resist the damaging effects of these new economic patterns. Enough so that he has served as President of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives.. Recently --just two days ago, in fact--a new book of his has come out (and it is being displayed outside for anybody to inspect, or, if you’d like, to buy; and if you can’t buy it, you pick a copy up at the library, some people have been reading it, and are very excited. I just bought myself a copy. This is not .. , I’m not doing a sales job, I’m just telling you about it. And by the way, Prof. Julie Graham’s, one of Prof. Julie Graham’s books is out on display as well). Now, the title of this nice book is America Beyond Capitalism. Such a title might sound a little strange at first, but it will perhaps not seem so strange if you keep in mind some of the things we have been hearing today. We heard David Nikoloff, for example, talk about the fact that more people are looking for ways of providing for their own economic well-being, to become self-employed, and not counting on getting jobs in traditional wage-labor settings and corporations. Dave Nikoloff also talked about how the new economy is an economy we should be thinking about in terms of its ability to produce wealth, and not necessary in terms of its ability to produce jobs. These are all important and significant trends. But they raise the question of how we distribute the wealth. They raise the question of how we maintain a general level of prosperity in the population at large if, in fact, jobs are no longer available in sufficient quantities. And it is under these conditions that people are thinking about alternatives. The panel that we are going to have after Professor Alperovitz will also, I think, be concerned with some of these questions. But Professor Alperovitz has been thinking about these questions in terms of public policy and of community initiatives, and he’s going to talk to us about that. We welcome him.