Thomas Ferguson (academic)

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Thomas Ferguson
Born 1949
Fields Political science
Institutions University of Massachusetts Boston, MIT, University of Texas, Austin
Alma mater Princeton University (PhD)
Known for Investment theory of party competition

Thomas Ferguson (born 1949) is an American political scientist and author who writes on politics and economics, often within a historical perspective. He is best known for his Investment Theory of Party Competition, described in detail in his 1995 book Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-driven Political Systems.

Biography[edit]

Ferguson obtained his PhD from Princeton University before teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas, Austin.[1] He later moved to the University of Massachusetts Boston where he is now Emeritus Professor of Political Science.[2] Ferguson is a member of the advisory board for the Institute for New Economic Thinking where he is Director of Research, and is also a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.[1][3]

Alongside his academic work Ferguson has also contributed widely to popular media. He has been a contributing editor at The Nation and a contributing writer to The Huffington Post.[4][5] He is also a contributing editor at AlterNet.[6]

Investment Theory of Party Competition[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Investment theory of party competition.

Ferguson is best known for his Investment Theory of Party Competition, which was detailed most extensively in his 1995 book Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems. The theory states that political systems featuring party competition are best understood as competitions for investment from wealthy segments of society. This is because political campaigns are expensive, and so political parties whose policies are most attractive to wealthy 'investors' will tend to be more successful as they are better able to attract the finances required to win election campaigns.[7]

The theory contrasts with the median voter theorem, which states that the outcome of elections will be the preferences of the median voter as political parties converge on the 'center ground' as they compete for votes.

In 2009 the investment theory of party competition was the subject of a documentary featuring speakers including Thomas Ferguson, Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert.[8]

MIT controversy[edit]

According to Noam Chomsky, Thomas Ferguson was warned while at MIT that his research might get him denied tenure at the Political Science Department. In Chomsky's account, Ferguson was told “If you ever want to get tenure in this department, keep away from anything after the New Deal; you can write all of your radical stuff up to the New Deal, but if you try and do it for the post-New Deal period, you're never going to get tenure in this department." Although not explicitly mentioned, the research was ostensibly the investment theory of party competition.[9]

Selected works[edit]

Ferguson has written numerous scholarly articles, magazine pieces, and a number of books.

Books[edit]

  • Ferguson, Thomas; Rogers, Joel (eds.) (1984). The Political Economy: Readings in the Politics and Economics of American Public Policy (3. print. ed.). New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc. ISBN 0873322762. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Rogers, Joel (1988). Right turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics (3. print. ed.). New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0809001705. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1995). Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-driven Political Systems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226243176. 

Scholarly[edit]

  • Ferguson, Thomas (1973). "The Political Economy of Knowledge and the Changing Politics of the Philosophy of Science". Telos. 15 (Spring). 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1983). "Party Realignment and American Industrial Structure: The Investment Theory of Political Parties in Historical Perspective". Research in Political Economy. 6. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1984). "From Normalcy to New Deal: Industrial structure, Party Competition, and American Public Policy in the Great Depression" (PDF). International Organization. 38 (1). 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1986). "Elites and Elections, or: What Have They Done to You Lately? Toward an Investment Theory of Political Parties and Critical Realignment". In Ginsberg, Benjamin; Stone, Alan. Do Elections Matter?. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-1-56324-446-9. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1989). "By Invitation Only: Party Competition and Industrial Structure in the 1988 Election". Socialist Review. 19: 73–103. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1991). "Industrial Structure and Party Competition in the New Deal". Sociological Perspectives. 34: 493–526. doi:10.2307/1389404. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (1992). "Money and Politics". In Hodgson, Godfrey. The United States (Handbooks to the Modern World). ISBN 978-0816016211. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Galbraith, James K. (2001). "The American Wage Structure, 1920-1947". In Galbraith, James K.; Berner, Maureen. Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View. Cambridge University Press. pp. 33–78. ISBN 9780521662741. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (2001). "Blowing Smoke: Impeachment, the Clinton Presidency, and the Political Economy". In Crotty, William J. The State of Democracy in America. Georgetown University Press. pp. 195–254. ISBN 9780878408610. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas (2005), "Holy Owned Subsidiary: Globalization, Religion and Politics in the 2004 Election", in Crotty, William J., A Defining Election: The Presidential Race of 2004, Routledge, ISBN 1317478185. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Voth, Hans-Joachim (2008). "Betting on Hitler: The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany". Quarterly Journal of Economics. 123 (1): 101–137. doi:10.1162/qjec.2008.123.1.101. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Johnson, Robert (2009). "Too Big to Bail: The 'Paulson Put,' Presidential Politics, and the Global Financial Meltdown, Part I: From Shadow Banking System to Shadow Bailout". International Journal of Political Economy. 38 (1): 3–34. doi:10.2753/ijp0891-1916380101. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Johnson, Robert (2009). "Too Big to Bail: The 'Paulson Put,' Presidential Politics, and the Global Financial Meltdown, Part II: Fatal Reversal - Single Payer and Back". International Journal of Political Economy. 38 (2): 5–45. doi:10.2753/ijp0891-1916380201. 
  • Ferguson, Thomas; Jorgensen, Paul; Chen, Jie (2013). "Party Competition and Industrial Structure in the 2012 Elections: Who's Really Driving the Taxi to the Dark Side?" (PDF). International Journal of Political Economy. 42 (3): 3–41. 

Popular[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Thomas Ferguson Profile - Institute for new Economic Thinking". Institute for New Economic Thinking. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Ferguson Profile - University of Massachusetts Boston". University of Massachusetts Boston. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Thomas Ferguson Profile - Roosevelt Institute". Roosevelt Institute. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Thomas Ferguson Profile - The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Thomas Ferguson Profile - The Huffington Post". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Ferguson Profile - AlterNet". AlterNet. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Ferguson, Thomas (1995). Golden Rule : The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226243176. 
  8. ^ "Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Politics". IMDb. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Chomsky, Noam (2003). Mitchell, Peter R.; Schoeffel, John, eds. Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky. Vintage. ISBN 0099466066. 

External links[edit]