Benjamin M. Friedman is the William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy at Harvard and the author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. He is currently finishing a book on the historical influence of religious thinking on economic thinking.
 (June 2019)


Labor’s Last Hope?

‘Primary Accumulation 3 (Henry Ford)’; lithograph by Hugo Gellert, 1933

The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon

by David Webber
There has now been more than half a century of worsening economic inequality in America. Until the late 1960s, incomes had been growing more equal for nearly four decades: through the Great Depression and World War II and then the Korean War, through the placid Eisenhower years, even through most …

Born to Be Free

Workers at TravelKhana, an Indian startup that books food orders for train passengers, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, September 2016

Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy

by Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght
The loss of jobs in a high-technology society—and, more than that, the downgrading of skills required and therefore of the wages paid for many of the jobs that remain—are likely to be the primary economic and social challenges facing the United States over the coming generation. The question is not …

On the Election—III

Donald Trump at the first presidential debate, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, September 26, 2016
This year’s election is not about economics. The paramount question is whether a person exhibiting no qualification for the office—neither experience, nor preparation, nor personal character—is nonetheless to become president. Yet economics is at the heart of the matter.

The Joys of Innovation: For Profit Only

Edmund Phelps, Amartya Sen, and Joseph Stiglitz at a conference on the future of capitalism, Paris, January 2009

Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change

by Edmund Phelps
In his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to reassure his fellow citizens that he would devote full effort to putting them back to work and lifting them out of the widespread poverty and destitution into which the Depression of the past three years had sunk …

The Pathology of Europe’s Debt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble before a vote on financial help for Greece, Bundestag, Berlin, November 2012
Today Europe is living through a difficult time. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has called the recent elections for the European Parliament “a disaster,” going on to conclude that “all of us in Europe have to ask ourselves what we can do better…we have to improve Europe.” But what is …