Richard Wolff delivered Hampshire's third annual Eric Schocket Lecture on Class and Culture, entitled "Capitalism's Crisis and Class Consciousness Renewed," on April 22, 2010. Wolff is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts and teaches in the graduate program in international affairs of the New School University in New York City.
The lecture series honors the late Eric Schocket, who, until his untimely death in 2006, taught American Literature at Hampshire College and was the author of Vanishing Moments: Class and American Literature (2006).
Professor Wolff's major interests and publications focus on advanced class analysis and in the critical comparison of alternative economic theories (neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian).
He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Rethinking Marxism. His work, regularly published in journals in the United States and abroad, is available one his website: www.rdwolff.com.
He has co-authored several books with Stephen Resnick, including Knowledge and Class: A Marxian Critique of Political Economy; New Departures in Marxian Theory; and Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical.
He produced and was featured in the DVD Capitalism Hits the Fan and is author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to do About It.
The Eric Schocket lecture series was inaugurated in 2008 with a lecture by Cora Kaplan and continued in 2009 with a talk by Michael Denning.
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Today's capitalist crisis caps 30 years of divisive economic development in the United States. Real wages stagnated and are now roughly at the mid-1970s level. Over the same period, labor's productivity soared, yielding employers' record revenues and profits from 1980 to 2000. Income and wealth inequality returned to late 19th century levels. That divisive economic development generated the economic crisis. Now, the so-called "recovery" further deepens the inequalities and divisions. Crisis and recovery have provoked a return of the much-repressed consciousness of class, class divisions, and class struggles. In turn, renewed class consciousness now also shapes the unfolding crisis. To borrow the last line of Eric Schocket's Vanishing Moments, once again class consciousness expresses "our resilient desires to comprehend our misshapen existences and to struggle - collectively - to a postcapitalist future."