Real-World
Economics

 

George H. Blackford, Ph.D.

 Economist at Large

 Email: george(at)rwEconomics.com

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.

It’s what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Attributed to Mark Twain (among others)

 

Home
Economic Papers
Political Essays
Bibiliography
Biography
Links

 

http://www.rweconomics.com/_themes/sandston/astonrul.gif

Acknowledgements

Autobiographical Information

http://www.rweconomics.com/_themes/sandston/astonrul.gif

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 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 it happens! 

I graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1966 and received a Masters 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 course 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.  I also wrote computer programs 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, and those posted on my website, www.rwEconomics.com.

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 today.

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: In grade school: Mrs. Shegus, Mrs. Lockner, and Miss Fortiner. In junior high: Neil Cason.  In high school: Charles Shinn, Joseph T. Davis, William H. Whitemore, and Barbara and Robert Anderlik. In college: Frank Jackson, William M. Armstrong, Florence A. Kirk, Louis R. Miner, Louis Toller, Alfred C. Raphelson, Elston W. Van Steenburgh, Paul G. Bradley, and Virgil M. Bett. In graduate school: 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 had a profoundly positive influence on my life, and I will be indebted to each forever.

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: Heidi, Steve, Robin, Theresa, Cherilyn, Brad, Terri, Mark, Leigh, Bobby, Sandy, Chelsea, Jeremy, Cynthia, Jason, Stephanie, Shannon, Joe, Stevie, Elizabeth, Ed, Jessica, David, Ryan, Ashley, Tauri, Shawna, Maria, Anna, Caley, Sam, Emma, Alex, Aidan, Lucas, Joey, Sophia, Maxwell, Lily, Brily, and Jason. 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 our children.

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 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 sources.Hit Counter  

Annotated Bibliography

 

Home Economic Papers Political Essays Bibiliography Biography Links