Gar Alperovitz

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Gar Alperovitz
Born May 5, 1936 (1936-05-05) (age 83)
Alma mater Wp→ B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. University of Cambridge
Occupation Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, College Park
Notable work(s) 2008 Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance
2003 "Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era" (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio)
1984 Rebuilding America(with Staughton Lynd)

Gar Alperovitz (born May 5, 1936) is Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, College Park Department of Government and Politics. He is a former Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; a founding Fellow of Harvard’s Institute of Politics; a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. Alperovitz also served as a Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and as a Special Assistant in the Department of State. Alperovitz is a founding principal of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, and a member of the board of directors for the New Economics Institute.[1][2]


Alperovitz is a political economist and revisionist historian whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, and The Atlantic among other publications. Alperovitz has been profiled by The New York Times, the Associated Press, People Magazine, UPI, and Mother Jones, and has been a guest on numerous network TV and cable news programs, including Meet the Press, Larry King Live, The Charlie Rose Show, Crossfire, and The O'Reilly Factor.

Alperovitz is the author of critically acclaimed books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy and was named "Distinguished Finalist" for the Lionel Gelber Prize for The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth, (Knopf, 1995). His research interests include:[3]

  • community-based political-economic development, and in particular new institutions of community wealth ownership;
  • political-economic theory, including system-wide political-economic design particularly as related to normative issues of equality, democracy, liberty, community and ecological sustainability;
  • local, state and national policy approaches to community stability in the era of globalization;
  • the history and future of nuclear weapons; arms control and disarmament strategies, including work on the conditions of peace and related long-term political economic structural change.

Alperovitz's articles include "Another World is Possible", published in Mother Jones; "A Top Ten List of Bold New Ideas", published in The Nation; and "You Say You Want a Revolution?" in WorldWatch.

America Beyond Capitalism


This book is subtitled "Reclaiming our wealth, or liberty, and our democracy". A recurring theme is that for democracy to work on a large scale, people need to gain experience with it on a small scale. He recommends cooperatives in part because they give people experience with democracy on a relatively small scale. This in turn provides experience and a depth of understanding of how to work with others that can be translated into more effective political action at larger levels, like state and national politics.


'[T]he seemingly radical idea of the workers and community owning and running a giant steel mill was hardly radical at all at the grass-roots level. Indeed, the vast majority of the community, the local congressional delegation, both senators, and the conservative governor of Ohio, James Rhodes, supported it.' (Introduction page v)

'Way back when–in my early days in Wisconsin–Senator Joseph McCarthy of our state dominated politics, both nationally and locally. “They shot anything that moved politically,” people used to say. Fear dominated every suggestion that progressive ideas might be put forward. Anyone who thought otherwise was obviously foolish. But of course, what came next was the 1960s.'(Introduction page vii)


Alperovitz's writings criticizing the decision by U.S. President Harry S Truman to use the atomic bomb against Japan have been characterized as revisionist by several historians, including Robert James Maddox, Professor Emeritus of History at the Pennsylvania State University. Maddox has criticized Alperovitz for "his unscholarly use of ellipsis" and other alleged misrepresentation of sources. Maddox also accuses Alperovitz of cherry-picking his sources, ignoring those that undermine his thesis.[4]

He has been criticized by Marxist-Leninists for advancing a program which does not meet the objective needs in the United States for a more militant approach:[5]
Seasoned veterans of the left know that any strategy that promises to be non-threatening and enters through the front door of the monopoly media should be received with suspicion.


  • Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965). Other editions: German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, British
  • Cold War Essays, with an Introduction by Christopher Lasch (New York: Doubleday, 1970)
  • Strategy and Program, with S. Lynd (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973)
  • Rebuilding America, with J. Faux (New York: Pantheon, 1984)
  • American Economic Policy, ed. with R. Skurski (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984)
  • The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). Other editions: German, Japanese, Korean, British
  • The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb (New York: Vintage Books, 1996). British edition (Harper Collins).
  • Making a Place for Community, with D. Imbroscio and T. Williamson (New York: Routledge, 2002)
  • America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy (John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0471667307, October 2004)
  • Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems (Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, April 2005) (Democracy Collaborative Report, under the direction of Gar Alperovitz)
  • Unjust Deserts: How The Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back, with Lew Daly (New York: New Press, 2008)
  • What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution (Chelsea Green, 2013)


  1. New Economics Institute. New Economics Institute. URL accessed on 2013-02-07.
  2. [1][dead link]
  3. See his university webpage at
  4. Maddox, Robert James, ed. 2007. Hiroshima In History: The Myths of Revisionism. ISBN 978-0-8262-1732-5
  5. "Anarchy in the USA-- Live at Zuccotti Park" ZZ's Blog May 21, 2013

External links

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