[OPE] Studs Terkel died, and lives on

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Nov 01 2008 - 04:18:58 EDT

Modern economics is mainly a technical science about how to huckster with prices.

Yet, as Sarah Palin noted, the "resilience of the American economy" which continues to attract large quantities of foreign capital, is based principally on the productive power of its workforce.

This workforce is the main productive force of the economy, in Marxist terms. Yet, despite their central role, workers are almost totally absent from modern economics - they only exist as an abstract "factor of production", or an abstract "consumer", a "labour input", an "economic agent" or a "game-theoretical rational actor", i.e. as objects rather than subjects.

Studs Terkel did what most economists do not do. He investigated workers' lives and their meanings. He investigated the people behind the abstract markets, what drove them their lives, with genuine curiosity, conscientious data gathering and an open mind, revealing in story form the record of human meaning behind the reifications of commercial life.

Any economist can benefit a a lot from reading Studs Terkel, I think. Read and be amazed how people's lives can go, often defying economic logics.



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Received on Sat Nov 1 04:21:15 2008

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