STEPHEN A MARGLIN holds the Walter S Barker Chair in the Department of Economics at HarvardUniversity. He became a tenured professor at Harvard in 1968, one of the youngest in the history of that institution. Marglin has contributed to many aspects of economics over his long career: his published papers and books range over the foundations of cost-benefit analysis, the workings of the labor-surplus economy, the organization of production, the relationship between the growth of income and its distribution, and the process of macroeconomic adjustment. His work has been translated into many languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Japanese.
Marglin’s recent work has focused on the foundational assumptions of economics and how these assumptions make community invisible to economists. This work, reflected in his latest book, The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community (Harvard University Press, 2008), attempts to counter the aid and comfort these assumptions give to those who would construct a world in the image of economics, a world ultimately without community.
Over the last several years Marglin’s teaching has emphasized these same concerns. An introductory economics course presents both standard economics and a variety of critiques of economics. A social studies course examines the assumptions of modernity and how these assumptions have shaped both the culture of the Modern West and the experience of colonization, development, and globalization.
In addition to teaching and research, Marglin has been adviser to governments and international agencies, for-profit concerns, and non-profit organizations in many different countries, most recently serving as an adviser on tax reform to the secretary of the treasury of Puerto Rico.
Marglin is married to the cultural anthropologist, Professor Frédérique Apffel-Marglin. In his recent research, her anthropological perspective has been an important counterweight to his own perspective as an economist. Apart from research interests, Marglin and Apffel-Marglin share a common interest in four children, four grandchildren, three horses, and a variable number of dogs, not to mention a large vegetable garden and a small apple orchard.