Photograph of political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz
|Born||May 5, 1936|
|Alma mater||B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. University of Cambridge
|Occupation||Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, College Park|
|Notable work(s)||2008 Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance
2003 "Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era" (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio)
1984 Rebuilding America(with Staughton Lynd)
Gar Alperovitz (born May 5, 1936) is a founding principal of the Democracy Collaborative. He has been the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, College Park Department of Government and Politics since 1999 and will retire in 2015. Alperovitz is a former Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; a founding Fellow of Harvard’s Institute of Politics; a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. He also served as a Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a Special Assistant in the Department of State. Alperovitz is a member of the board of directors for the New Economics Institute.
Alperovitz is a political economist and historian whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, and The Atlantic among other publications. Alperovitz has been profiled by The New York Times, the Associated Press, People, UPI, and Mother Jones, and has been a guest on numerous network TV and cable news programs, including Meet the Press, Larry King Live, The Charlie Rose Show, Crossfire, and The O'Reilly Factor.
Alperovitz is the author of critically acclaimed books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy and was named "Distinguished Finalist" for the Lionel Gelber Prize for The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth, (Knopf, 1995). His research interests include:
- community-based political-economic development, and in particular new institutions of community wealth ownership;
- political-economic theory, including system-wide political-economic design particularly as related to normative issues of equality, democracy, liberty, community and ecological sustainability;
- local, state and national policy approaches to community stability in the era of globalization;
- the history and future of nuclear weapons; arms control and disarmament strategies, including work on the conditions of peace and related long-term political economic structural change.
America Beyond Capitalism
This book is subtitled "Reclaiming our wealth, our liberty, and our democracy". A recurring theme throughout this book is that for democracy to work on a large scale, people need to gain experience with it on a small scale. He recommends cooperatives in part because they give people experience with democracy on a relatively small scale. This in turn provides experience and a depth of understanding of how to work with others that can be translated into more effective political action at larger levels, like state and national politics.
'[T]he seemingly radical idea of the workers and community owning and running a giant steel mill was hardly radical at all at the grass-roots level. Indeed, the vast majority of the community, the local congressional delegation, both senators, and the conservative governor of Ohio, James Rhodes, supported it.' (p. v)
'Way back when–in my early days in Wisconsin–Senator Joseph McCarthy of our state dominated politics, both nationally and locally. “They shot anything that moved politically,” people used to say. Fear dominated every suggestion that progressive ideas might be put forward. Anyone who thought otherwise was obviously foolish. But of course, what came next was the 1960s.'(p. vii)
Alperovitz's writings criticizing the decision by U.S. President Harry S Truman to use the atomic bomb against Japan have been characterized as revisionist by several historians, including Robert James Maddox, Professor Emeritus of History at the Pennsylvania State University. Maddox has criticized Alperovitz for "his unscholarly use of ellipsis" and other misrepresentation of sources. Maddox also accuses Alperovitz of cherry-picking his sources, ignoring those that undermine his thesis.
- Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965). Other editions: German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, British
- Cold War Essays, with an Introduction by Christopher Lasch (New York: Doubleday, 1970)
- Strategy and Program, with S. Lynd (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973)
- Rebuilding America, with J. Faux (New York: Pantheon, 1984)
- American Economic Policy, ed. with R. Skurski (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984)
- The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). Other editions: German, Japanese, Korean, British
- The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Vintage Books, 1996). British edition (Harper Collins).
- Making a Place for Community, with D. Imbroscio and T. Williamson (New York: Routledge, 2002)
- America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy (John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0471667307, October 2004)
- Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems (Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, April 2005) (Democracy Collaborative Report, under the direction of Gar Alperovitz)
- Unjust Deserts: How The Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back, with Lew Daly (New York: New Press, 2008)
- What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution (Chelsea Green, 2013)
- "Political Economist Gar Alperovitz on America Beyond Capitalism," by Thorne Dreyer, The Rag Blog, Feb. 8, 2012. Includes podcast of Feb. 3, 2012, Rag Radio interview with Gar Alperovitz (56:41).
- Understanding the Imperialist System Changed My Life - Gar Alperovitz on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5) The Real News, 22 January 2014.