Date: Sun Dec 19 2004 - 10:03:11 EST
Seymour Melman died on Thursday (see the -- not very extensive -- obituary from _The Washington Post_ below). An article from 2003 that he wrote for _Counterpunch_ on the permanent war economy: http://counterpunch.org/melman03152003.html In solidarity, Jerry =========================================== Seymour Melman Dies; Fought Spending on Wars By Patricia Sullivan Seymour Melman, 86, one of the first social critics to contend that excessive military spending has "depleted" the U.S. economy, diverting investment capital, scientific know-how and natural resources from sorely needed domestic improvements, died of an apparent aneurysm Dec. 16 at his home in New York. Mr. Melman, a retired Columbia University professor of industrial engineering and a consultant to companies and government agencies, for 40 years urged the United States to convert its military-based economy to focus its formidable economic energy on improving roads, schools, railroads and housing. In the early 1990s, at the end of the Cold War when a windfall "peace dividend" was expected, it seemed that Mr. Melman would finally have his wish. "There are times when it gives me no joy to be right," he told The Washington Post. "Now the results are visible. . . . It's a myth that military spending brings prosperity to all." He is considered the grandfather of the economic conversion movement, and the guru to the dozens of leftist activists who embraced the idea as a way to argue that disarmament can also make good economic sense. The author or editor of more than a dozen books, he opposed the war in Iraq -- he had been a speaker at a Vietnam War protest on Wall Street in 1970 -- and was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. He was chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. Born in the Bronx, N.Y., he received a bachelor's degree from the College of the City of New York and a doctorate in economics from Columbia University. His marriage to JoAnne Medalie ended in divorce. He is survived by a brother. In the 1970s, he was spokesman for a group of Columbia faculty members who opposed the appointment of former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger to a faculty position. Mr. Melman said in the 1990 Post interview that he remembered when he was in Calcutta years before and noticed how the educated middle class could ignore the horrible conditions of the poor. "I don't want it to be that way here," he said. "I live on Broadway near Columbia University, and there are more beggars on Broadway now than during the Great Depression."
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