I was born on August 28, 1942 in Flint, Michigan. The earliest childhood
memory I can date was August 14, 1945. I was standing with my mother in front
of our house on Edmond St. and asked her why all the cars were blowing their
horns. She look down at me and said "Because the War is over." My next
earliest memory was November 30 of that year when my father came home
from the Army. All of my family in my parents' generation served in that
war—my father and uncles in the military, my mother and aunts in the factories. The experiences of my parents' generation during the war, and during
the depression that preceded the war, have had a profound effect on my view of
the world throughout my life.
I have been married twice, and raised six
children—five daughters and one son—the oldest of which is 53 and the youngest
28. (As of 3/2015.) I have eight grandchildren and six truly amazing
great grandchildren. No one really expects to have great grandchildren until
I graduated from the University of
Michigan-Flint in 1966 and received a Master's Degree in economics from the
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1967. I taught introductory economics and
an introductory social sciences course for a year at Ferris State College in
Michigan as an instructor. I then entered the Ph.D. Program in economics at
the State University of New York at Buffalo where I taught courses in
introductory economics and money and banking in the night school for three
years. In 1972 I moved to Potsdam, NY and taught at the State University of
New York college at Potsdam for a year then returned to Buffalo in 1973 where
I taught introductory economics, money and banking, intermediate macro and
micro, econometrics, and business-forecasting and research-methods courses at
the State University of New York college at Buffalo until 1979. I received a
Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1974.
My dissertation was in monetary and macro economic theory.
In 1979 I moved back to Flint to chair the Department of Economics at the
University of Michigan-Flint and taught there until 1986. At the
University of Michigan-Flint I manage the senior seminar in economics and taught a course in healthcare economics in the Masters of Public
Administration program. I also taught an undergraduate managerial-economics course at GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now known as Kettering University)
for one semester and an advanced statistical methods course in GMI's Masters
of Business Administration program.
I published an
article in the
Eastern Economic Journal and a
note in the Journal of Political Economy
relating to the microeconomic foundations of macroeconomic theory in the
1970s. In the 1980s I wrote a number of paper on the economics of Keynes
that I read at various meetings that, at the time, no one found of interest. I also wrote
computer programs in the 1970s for my students to use in my econometrics,
business-forecasting and research-methods courses which I continued to develop
in the 1980s. In 1987 I put together a statistical package, complete
with users' manuals and workbooks, founded DMC Software, Inc., left academia,
and began licensing my statistical package to colleges and universities and to
publishers as a supplement to statistics textbooks.
I spent the next twenty years reading
mostly mathematics and statistics books. The financial crisis took me
entirely by surprise. I knew there was a problem in the housing market
and that economic nonsense had been at the center of the political debate in
our country for over thirty years, but I assumed, naively it turned out, that
cooler heads would prevail, and sound economic policies would always be
enforced. I had no idea the extent to which ideological beliefs had taken over
the discipline of economics since I left academia or that our financial
institutions would be allowed to overextend themselves to such an extent they
could bring down the economy of the entire world.
After the crash in 2008 I decided to set aside other pursuits and try to find out
what had been going on in the world of economics since I left academia. I read
virtually everything I could get my hands on relating to the financial crises
in an attempt to understand how we got to where we are today. The result is
the collection of papers in:
Where Did All the Money Go?
Understanding The Federal Budget
Essays on Political Economy Volume I: Reality,
Volume II: Ideology,
Volume III: Keynes
A Primer on Piketty’s Theoretical Framework
which were posted on my website, www.rwEconomics.com
and made available on
Amazon.com. In addition, an exchange with David Glasner on his
blog has motivated me to attempt to resurrect the research I had done on the
economic of Keynes in the
nineteen eighties and bring it up to date. The result is
The Theory of Interest: Robertson versus Keynes and The Long-Period Problem
of Saving and Debt
which is also available on
It will be
apparent in some of the essays that my academic interests go beyond economics
to history, political science, psychology, and philosophy. I attribute these
interests to a two year, twenty credit hour Western Civilization program
offered at Alma College, which I attended as a freshman and sophomore, and to
a number of very talented and highly dedicated teachers I had the privilege of
being influenced by in my tender years. Alma’s Western Civilization program
was coordinated by William M. Armstrong. It was team taught and most of the faculty participated in the program. It
provided an integrated, interdisciplinary and comprehensive view of the
cultural, political, and economic evolution of our 10,000 years of recorded history
that was truly remarkable. Sadly, this program is no longer offered
As for the very talented and highly dedicated teachers I had the privilege of
being influenced by, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge them
here: Mrs. Shegus, Ms. Lockner, and Ms. Fortiner, Neil Cason, Charles Shinn, Joseph T. Davis,
William H. Whitemore, Barbara and Robert Anderlik, Frank
Jackson, William M. Armstrong, Florence A. Kirk, Louis R. Miner, Louis Toller,
Alfred C. Raphelson, Elston W. Van Steenburgh, Paul G. Bradley, Virgil M.
Bett, W. H. Locke Anderson, Daniel B. Suits, Kenneth E.
Boulding, Saul H. Hymans, Mitchell Harwitz, Cliff L. Lloyd, Ray Boddy, James
Crotty, Winston Chang, and Nagesh S. Revankar. Each of these individuals has
had a profoundly positive influence on my life, and I will be indebted to
each forever. This is especially so with regard to Ms. Fortiner, Joseph T.
Davis, Charles Shinn, William H. Whitemore, Robert and Chris Anderlik,
Alfred C. Raphelson, Elston W. Van Steenburgh, Virgil M. Bett, Daniel B.
Suits, Kenneth E. Boulding, W. H. Locke Anderson, Ray Boddy, Cliff Lloyd,
James Crotty, Nagesh S. Revankar, and Mitchell Harwitz.
My indebtedness goes beyond academia, of course, and especially to my family.
My wife, Dolores M. Coulter, has been a pillar of strength in our relationship
for over thirty years. I would be lost without her. I am also indebted to my
two sisters, Kathy J. Ross and Gay S. Towfiq, and to my brothers and sisters
in-law, James Ross, Basim Towfiq, Melissa and Mark Scharrer, Mary Cerreto and
David Coulter, Theresa Coulter, Malcolm Coulter, and Gordon C. FitzGerald as
well as my former wife, Karen F. Blackford. All are more than family,
but friends that have always been there to do what they could when the need
arose. Then there are the cousins, spread throughout the country and too
numerous to mention or even keep track of, all of whom provide a sense of
belonging and connectedness in this isolated world.
I am particularly indebted to the generations that came before, especially to
my grandparents, Mary and Henry White and Juanita and George Blackford, as
well as grandpa Hendrick L. Adams and grandma Delia Coulter, and to my great
aunts and uncles, Grace Cuvrell, Louise and Enoch Anderson, Minnie and Joe
Baumgartner, Cecil and Will Baumgartner, Louie Baumgartner, and Lizzie and
Rudolph Baumgartner. They led remarkable, hardworking, and honorable lives and
set sterling examples for me to live up to, as did my parents, Marion R. and
George P. Blackford, and my fathers and mothers in-law, Eunice and Cecil W. FitzGerald and Helen and Malcolm Coulter.
The same is true of my aunts and uncles: Oliver White, Cecil and Frank Pugh,
Lois and Thomas Shinas, Carol and Charles Cardwell, Donna and David Cuvrell,
Marsha and Louis Irwin, Marjorie and Dick Blackford, Yvonne and William
Finley, and Marilyn and Gene Glanton. I have not always been able to live up
to the examples they set, but I will be forever grateful their examples were
there for me to look up to, to admire, and to strive for.
Then there are the kids: To Heidi, Steve,
Robin, Terry, Jamie, Cherilyn, Brad, Terri, Mark, Leigh, Bobby, Sandy, Cindy, Tony,
Chelsea, Jeremy, Jason, Stephanie, Shannon, Joe, Stevie, Charlene,
Elizabeth, Ed, Jessica, Donnie, David, Claire, Ryan, Andrea, Ashley,
Tauri, Brandon, Brian, Shawna, Aaron, Maria, Anna, Caley, Sam, Emma, Alex, Aidan,
Lucas, Joey, Sophia, Maxwell, Lily, Brily, Jason Jr., and Carter. What does it all mean without them? It is for them
that I posted my website in the hope it will contribute toward a better
understanding of the world in which we live and toward a better future for all
I wish to thank those who have directly and indirectly
contributed to this website: Harry Frank, Gillian Garcia, Rajindar Koshal, G.
William Domhoff, Douglas J. Amy, James DiGiacinto, Nick Seraphinoff, Paul
O’Brien, my wife Dolores, sister Kathy, brother-in-law Jim, sister-in-law
Mary, niece Cherilyn, daughter Elizabeth, granddaughter Shannon, grandsons
Jason, Ryan, and Steve,
brother-in-law Malcolm, and my uncle
Gene for their constructive criticisms of the ideas contained in earlier
drafts of various papers. This is especially so for my uncle Gene who was
particularly conscientious in responding to my pleas for help before he passed
away in October of 2009. His friend, Robert Maximoff, described my uncle best
with the quote from Shakespeare: "His life was gentle, and the elements so
mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a
man.'" He was a very good man and is deeply missed by all who knew him.
I also wish to thank Sandra Cohan, Gloria McIntyre Zucker, Doris Suciu, Jim Hoffmeister,
Robert Maximoff, my Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Dick, and my nephews Bobby and
Brad for the encouragement they have given me.
Finally, I wish to thank Karl Agcaoili, Hugh Connelly,
Tobias Adrian, Patrick Locke, Adrienne Pilot, Bob Rand, and Benjamin Mandel
for the assistance they have given me in sorting through government data