“What are Economics For?” A Truthout interview with Gerald Epstein

Gerald Epstein

Gerald Epstein, UMass Amherst economics professor and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, is interviewed about the history and role of progressive economics. According to Epstein, “A lot of the impetus for alternative economics came from opposition to the Vietnam War and in solidarity with the Civil Rights movement and New Left feminism. It was oriented towards peaceful revolution. The idea was to develop a better economics for a democratic society, a theoretically more valid way to understand capitalism. While its origins were revolutionary, they were also somewhat theoretical. In the last twenty years, alternative economics has become much more policy-oriented, toward developing more equalitarian policies – a lost idea.”

Epstein is an advocate of transforming the financial sector, including reducing its size. “The US should be – but we are not – transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables and a green economy. That would help us transition out of a financialized economy. We need to shrink the financial sector – which before 2008 accounted for 60% of the profits in the US – and find another sector where we can create jobs. (Truth-out.org, 10/10/11)

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