Tuesday, April 26, 2005


From: J. B. "Jack" Owens


I have just received word of the death of the noted economist and historian
Andre Gunder Frank. He died early in the morning on Saturday,
23 April 2005, in Luxembourg, where he had moved with his wife, Alison
Candela, in order to live near his son Miguel and his family.

Frank was perhaps best know for his contributions to dependency and world
systems theory, and his earliest interest in these approaches grew out of
his concern for modern Latin America, which he retained throughout his life.
A number of his books and articles took as their focus the impact of the
links established by the expansion of Portuguese and Spanish domains outside
of Europe, and particularly in the Americas.

His last major work was the book *ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian
Age* (University of California Press, 1998). The central argument of the
book is that in the first global age, 1400-1800, all major regions were
connected and interacted all of the time. Therefore, the history of no place
could be understood without taking into account the way it was linked to
other places in this vast global system. To grasp history on this scale
required what Frank described as a "holistic global analysis." The
production of precious metals, especially silver, in the mines of Castile's
American domains was central to the book's argument.

Frank had lived with cancer for over a dozen years and had endured four or
five major operations. He was well along in the writing of a book on world
history in the nineteenth century, and despite pain and exhaustion,
continued to work up until about two weeks ago.

His family will have a small gathering to express their love for Gunder
before he is cremated on Tuesday afternoon, April 26, in the Luxembourg
crematory. Friends and colleagues who wish or are able to attend are welcome
to come. Because Luxembourg law requires a rapid cremation, Gunder's son
Paul sent a message two days ago to all of the people on his father's huge
list of e-mail contacts to let them know that he was dying. The family
wanted to allow those who were able to do so to make travel arrangements.

The family has been a bit overwhelmed by the response because they have
already received over a thousand messages of condolence, remembrance, and
friendship from friends and colleagues of Gunder's all over the world, and
they report that they probably will not be able to answer all of them
personally. However, if you have something that you would like to share with
them, here is the contact information.

Alison Candela, his wife: acandela@citlink.net Miguel Frank, his son:
mfrank@europarl.eu.int Miguel's phone number in Luxembourg is +352 091 656
236 Paul Frank, his son: paulfrank@post.harvard.edu


ZNet remembers Andre Gunder Frank here.

More on Gunder Frank's life and work here.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Posting will be sparse as I sprint for the finish of my first year of graduate school: two term papers, three finals, fellowship applications, and a few cross-country trips to weddings and to be with my wife ensure that my waking hours (of which there seem to be more and more) are at least double-booked for the next month.

In the meantime, I will be bringing you my syndicated "Best of Globalize This!" Bloggers and Blog-readers should expect more than an occasional link to the latest Paul Krugman column. Why not check out the Globalize This! archives in the mean time for some of my timeless (and some of my inane) thoughts?

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Yeah, that's me by the hand rail in the hot red pants. The graduate student employees of the University of Massachusetts walked out of work today to protest against proposed wage cuts and health care and child care cost hikes. Joining us on the walkout were a number of faculty members, and members of Teamsters and SEIU locals on campus; and a general boycott of classes by graduate and undergraduate students lent solidarity to our cause.

The action was planned to coincide with ongoing strikes at Yale University and Columbia University where graduate students are fighting to uphold their constitutional rights to free association and for recognition of their democratically elected labor unions.

Student activisim is on the rise across the nation. And without even the threat of a draft!

More pictures of our one-day (for now) strike are available here.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


D.R. Tucker asks me. Hell if I know. It's anyone's guess at this point.

Tucker is right that Massachusetts ain't as liberal as George Bush would have led the world to believe during the 2004 Presidential Debates (and damn Kerry for not sticking up better for the good citizens of the Commonwealth). After all, Massachusetts voters have sent Republican governors to the state house in all four elections since 1990, to which I alluded below.

The point is that Romney is defeatable, as indicated by repeated sampling of recent polling data. Being a budget-cutter is never a good position for a Governor to be in during re-election season. Doesn't win you any allies, but sure unites all your enemies.

The real question is whether Patrick can win the democratic nomination. Patrick is currently lagging in the same polls. No surprise there. The two leading contenders--Romney and Reilly--hold the state's top public offices and enjoy statewide name recognition. Private citizen Patrick does not. But it is still a good year away from 2006 primary election season. What Patrick has been doing is meeting with leaders of constituency groups, state political blocs, and financial backers. Patrick has a good chance of reining in the backing of labor leaders in Mass. While O'Reilly has been good to labor, his support is widely regarded as adequate enforcement of standards and laws--admittedly a lot more than working people get from some public officials willing to ignore or trample upon existing labor laws. But labor will likely be looking for more than just someone to enforce what's on the books.

With private sector unions dwindling below eight percent of employed workers, the unions' only growth has come from the public sector. The trend here seems to be in working with governors and legislatures to gain collective bargaining rights for workers who--though they may not be employed directly by the state--are part of the vast apparatus of private sector agents performing privatized state functions. The recent campaign to organize family child care providers in Illinois, who are paid partially by state child care vouchers awarded to low and moderate income parents, is a good example of the types of orgaizing labor unions are targeting (service jobs that can't be outsourced). Similar things have been done for home health care workers.

Labor wants someone who will push this agenda forward. And it makes for good electoral politics. Who wants to be the candidate standing against improved health care and child care services? Maybe an elite financier named for a hotel magnate, but not Patrick. Besides, Patrick's wife is also an accomplished attorney--one of the best labor lawyers in the state if not the country--whose clients include some of the largest unions in the country. Those kind of connections can only help.

By this, I do not mean to denigrate Reilly. I think he would make a fine governor for the Commonwealth. So would Patrick. The probability of unseating Romney--a lousy governor and strong potential candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination--is only helped by a democratic primary campaign with a healthy choice of quality candidates. This is Democrats in Mass. as well as those who want to stop Romney here before he can leapfrog from Beacon Hill to the national stage, Patrick's candidacy is good news.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Political junkies like to ask themselves, "What if Ann Richards had knocked out Bush back in 1994?" For one thing, it is highly likely we'd have a pretty darn good baseball commissioner right now instead of a pretty darn bad POTUS.

That was then. Now political junkies are wondering, who can be offed now (say, in 2006) to prevent their later ascension to the Presidency (in 2008 or beyond)? Enter W. Mitt Romney: two time Senatorial loser and, alongside His Jebness, a leading GOP contender for 2008. In the last couple of years, Romney has been ingratiating himself to the conservative base: gay bashing, fighting stem cell research, and travelling around to South Carolina, Iowa, and elsewhere to reap the dividends for his PAC. He's got money. He's got charm. He's got conservatives. He's got national recognition. And he's got a blue state electoral victory (at long last) under his belt. Yikes.

So today's announcement that Deval Patrick, will seek the Massachusetts Governorship in 2006 should be welcome news to us all. I'm psyched because, if Romney goes, I might finally be able to get a raise and some decent health insurance. But also, if Romney goes, that's one less viable GOP contender we have to worry about next time around.

Romney already ain't doing too hot. State Attorney General Tom Reilly is polling way ahead of Romney in January, February, and March already. Not good news for an incumbent Governor with the bully pulpit and name recognition at his disposal.

Tom Reilly would be a good Governor. So would Deval Patrick. The point is that a primary and a general election with real star candidates will energize the race--the main reason that Democrats haven't held the Governor's House since we lost the Duke (no offense to Robert Reich and Shannon O'Brien, but let's be honest with ourselves). It's good to have choices. Real options get people excited. It's good to be excited. Romney's goose is cooking.

Now, who are we going to run in Florida???

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


TK writes me today:

I don’t ordinarily send things like this around, so I apologize for the intrusion. But I think this is an important (if long-term) issue for Democrats. The District of Columbia has no voting representation in Congress. Despite the fact that DC has a bigger population than Wyoming, it has no Senators, and its Representative in the House – Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat – cannot vote for legislation on the floor.

But DC’s population is heavily Democratic and progressive. If the city had full voting rights, you can bet the Senate today would have 46 Democrats instead of 44, and the House would get one more voting Democrat.

Beyond politics, of course, it’s plainly anti-Democratic that DC residents should pay the same federal income taxes as the rest of us but still be denied representation.

To highlight this issue, a group of DC residents have joined together to try to raise enough money to buy the naming rights for RFK stadium, home of the new Washington Nationals (for those of you who aren't fans, they are the newest Major League Baseball team).

This would bring significant and much-needed attention to the cause; polls show that Americans disprove of the idea that people should pay taxes without representation (duh), but don't realize it's happening here.

To make a pledge for the cause, visit: http://www.taxationwithoutrepresentationstadium.com/.


The Pope is dead. And alas, I am not the winner of the office "Death Watch" pool (but I did take second prize for Hunter S. Thompson).

The mass media has been scrambling recently to fill the airwaves and column-inches in lieu of the repeatedly delayed and eagerly awaited Michael Jackson verdict. Thank g-d for the Pope. If you are the mass media, this whole Pope thing could not have come along at a better time.

There is no shortage of gushing for this man.

The NYT writes: "His embrace of each person's innate dignity was his touchstone"

That is, each person excepting in the case that said person is a homosexual.

The Pope mantra has by now coalesced. The Pope:

1. Brought down the Communist Bloc.
2. Promoted unwavering humanity.
3. Met a lot of people around the world.

While no one disputes His Popeliness has qualified for a lot of Business Class upgrades on Alitalia, the former two points are a bit troublesome.

First, someone needs to set this whole "end of Communism" debate straight once and for all. Not that I'm going to achieve this rhetorical score here alone. We heard the same claims when Ronnie left us last year and went to that big red scare in the sky. Either Communism fell because of the system sowed the seeds of its own destruction with restrictions on freedoms and inefficiencies, or it was (is?) a viable alternative to capitalism that was defeated by its imperial rival. If the latter is true, Ronnie and JPII are vindicated, but it also means that statist economic policies can work. This would be a dangerous thing for right-wingers to admit.

Second, glorifiction of the Pope's humanity does grave disservice to the droves of people afflicted by the hate he fomented against homosexuals, the women he subjugated in the Catholic Church hierarchy, the minions of young boys molested at the hands of the Church that the Pope neglected to address, and the millions he condemned to death from the AIDS pandemic by railing against condom use. You might think that this Pope, given his years spent under the Nazi regime in Poland, might have finally apologized for the Vatican's role in the Holocaust.

In death as in life, the Pope and others need to be judged by their deeds.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Now that the global capitalist class has settled on Paul Wolfowitz to head the world's largest underdevelopment organization, all eyes are on who will be the next pick to head the WTO?

Betting is already well under way.

Whoever it is will undoubtedly be of the class of globe-trotting elites who walk the revolving door between trade lobbying, the private sector, and trade "ministering."And whoever that is will have the unwelcome task of resuscitating the dying embers of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, four years long and counting. Good riddance.