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Fred Block

Fred Block

Professor, Sociology
University of California, Davis
Expertise: Economic Policy and History

Fred Block is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis (Chair 1992-1996). He is the author of The Vampire State And Other Myths and Fallacies About The U.S. Economy (1996), Postindustrial Possibilities: A Critique of Economic Discourse (1990), The Mean Season: The Attack On The Welfare State (with Richard A. Cloward, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Francis Ford Piven) (1987), Revising State Theory: Essays In Politics and Postindustrialism (1987), and The Origins of International Economic Disorder: A Study of United States International Monetary Policy From World War II to the Present (1977). He has also published many articles on economic sociology, political sociology, sociology of work, and sociological theory in Politics & Society, World Policy Journal, Socialist Review, Theory and Society, Annual Review of Sociology, and Social Problems.

Dr. Block has served as a member of the Office of Technology Assessment Advisory Panel on the Electronic Enterprise (1992-1993), and he serves on the Board of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy (1989-present). Dr. Block was a Distinguished Scientific Visitor to the Republic of China in 1995. He has also written for The Nation, The American Prospect, In These Times, Commonweal, Boston Review, and Tikkun.

LongviewInstitute.Org resources by Fred Block:

Articles
The New Right-Wing Permissiveness
No Mandate for Market Fundamentalism
The President insists that his election victory paves the way for major new initiatives such as Social Security privatization. However, there is little evidence that the public embraces the right wing's long term hostility to our most successful and effective social program.
Pessimistic Conservatives Cannot Fix Social Security
The Administration’s push for radical reform of Social Security rests on the idea that it is impossible to solve the system’s long term financing problems. In reality, this pessimism is simply a consequence of their deep hostility to public spending.
Retirement Security: A Moral Economy Proposal
Fred Block applies the Moral Economy perspective to the debate about Social Security and other retirement programs. He proposes an alternative revenue source that would allow us to protect both present and future generations of retirees from economic hardship and insecurity.
Bush's Defunct Economist
The case for privatizing Social Security depends on an error of logic. If in the future, there are too few wage earners to support too many retirees, private accounts will not solve the problem.
Protesting For All the Wrong Reasons
Religious conservatives have been attacking giant retail firms for dropping Christmas from their holiday greetings. But Santa might have other reasons to put Sears on his list of those who get a lump of coal in their stockings this year.
Poverty Rediscovered and so Quickly Forgotten
Taking the Long View: Thoughts on Post-Election Strategy
Fred Block puts the election results in perspective and suggests a strategy that will help progressives to make further advances in shifting the nation’s agenda.
Books
Postindustrial Possibilities
A fresh understanding of the dynamics of postindustrial change.
The Vampire State
An engaging look at how popular metaphors distort our economic understanding.
Moral Economy
Longview is working to develop a systematic alternative to the Market Fundamentalism that has dominated the policy agenda in the United States for a generation. We seek to replace Market Fundamentalism by building a Moral Economy that is consistent with our deepest values.
Market Fundamentalism
Market Fundamentalism: Frequently Asked Questions
Resources for learning more about Market Fundamentalism
Links
The "Thing" Economy and the "Care" Economy
This short essay focuses on a key aspect of moral economy--our society's inadequate arrangements for providing the care and nurturance that we all need.
News Items
Fred Block: A Moral Economy
Over the last twenty-five years, conservatives have used simple, moral language to convince Americans that only unregulated markets produce prosperity. Fred Block writes in The Nation that, for the Democrats to regain power, they will have to replace that story with one of their own – a vision of a moral economy.
News Items
One Step Toward a Moral Economy
With help from Longview Senior Fellow Fred Block, the union of hotel workers has provided a powerful example of how consumers can contribute to a moral economy.
One Step Toward a Moral Economy
With help from Longview Senior Fellow Fred Block, the union of hotel workers has provided a powerful example of how consumers can contribute to a moral economy.
Reports
Reframing the Political Battle: Market Fundamentalism vs. Moral Economy
Fred Block begins Longview's systematic critique of Market Fundamentalism—the economic doctrine that has dominated the U.S. and global economy since the 1980's. Tying his analysis closely to the current political situation, Block argues that progressives can gain political leverage by focusing their criticisms on the exaggerated reverence for the market that has shaped the current Administration's domestic and foreign agendas. His goal is to show that Market Fundamentalism is both inadequate as an economic theory and morally dangerous. Later articles in this series will analyze the destructive impact of Market Fundamentalism in particular policy areas.
Is the American Dream Dying?
In this election season, politicians of both parties celebrate the American Dream of unlimited opportunity for the poor who are willing to work hard and play by the rules. However, there are signs that indicate the Dream is on the decline.

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