Throw the Reactionary Rulers of Iran onto History's Rubbish Heap

Nearly all of the world’s people, who are overwhelmingly wage laborers and peasants, endure oppression. Of course, societies vary considerably in both the degree and openness of this oppression. Sweden is no doubt a less repressive nation than is the United States, and the latter is less coercive than is Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the lot […]

Music, Music, Music, or How Amy Winehouse Made Me Cry

Playwright William Congreve said: “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” And so it does. Perhaps the Russian revolutionary Lenin had Congreve in mind when he said, according to Maxim Gorky: “I know the ‘Appassionata’ inside out and yet I am willing to listen to it […]

Work is Hell

Economists never say much about work. They talk about the supply of and the demand for labor, but they have very little to say about the nature of the work we do. Like most commentators, they seem to believe that modern economies will require ever more skilled work, which will be done in clean and […]

Indianapolis Hotel Workers Rising Up

At the request of an organizer from the union, UNITE/HERE (see comment on last post), I am posting this interesting video. Hotel workers are notoriously overworked and underpaid. Karen and I have talked to many motel workers in our years of travel, and I can say from experience that this is the case. We both […]

What if the United Auto Workers Owned a Car Company?

The troubles in the U.S. automobile industry have taken an interesting turn. In return for considerable concessions to Chrysler and General Motors, the United Auto Workers may become a majority shareholder in Chrysler and a large stakeholder in General Motors. The federal government will also own a large fraction of the shares of the two […]

Mormon Country

Karen and I love the canyon country of southern Utah. Last November, we spent three weeks hiking in the five national parks that span the state from west to east.  We drove from Tucson north to Phoenix and up, up to Sedona and Flagstaff, rising 6,000 feet out of the polluted desert developments and into […]

The Blighted Groves of Academe

The more I read about the state of our colleges and universities, the more thankful I am that I quit my job at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) in 2001, after thirty-two years of teaching. I wrote the following essay a dozen years ago, and since then, matters have gotten progressively worse, not […]

A Nation of Immigrants: Part Two

Since the publication of Part One of this post a few days ago, President Obama has decided not to nominate immigrant-rights advocate and attorney, Thomas Saenz, to head the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department.  Saenz is currently Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa’s chief legal advisor, and he has a long history of commitment […]

A Nation of Immigrants: Part One

Every night on CNN, Lou Dobbs bashes immigrants.  No matter what the subject, he manages to turn it into a horror story about the evils of people he calls “illegal aliens.”  They steal; they cheat; they use drugs; they murder innocent people; they transmit diseases; they have filthy habits; they take jobs from decent hardworking […]

Michael Steele is a Nitwit and Wolf Blitzer is a Jackass

Economic ignorance is widespread in the United States. People think they know something about the subject, but few do. My mother is convinced that China is the cause of all our economic problems. When I challenge her, she doesn’t think it matters that I have spent forty years studying and teaching the dismal science. If […]