My name is Robert Kuttner, and I hold the Ida and Meyer Kirstein Chair in Social Planning and Administration at Heller. I am a bit unusual as Heller faculty goes, since for most of my career I’ve been a journalist, editor, and writer. I have been teaching at Brandeis on and off for two decades, and this is my third year in this chair.
My intellectual focus, in all of my work, boils down to one big question and lots of related questions. What does it take to make an economy that is basically capitalist also be a strong democracy and a tolerably egalitarian society? I explore that question historically, comparatively, theoretically, institutionally, and politically, across the several social sciences and in several relevant areas of public policy.
I do not have a doctorate (except for two honorary doctorates, from Oberlin (my alma mater) and from Swarthmore.) I hold a B.A. from Oberlin and an M.A. in political science from U.C. Berkeley, where my focus was comparative political economy. I’m the author of ten books, all of which address one or another dimension of the general topic I mentioned above. My best known book is “Everything for Sale: the Virtues and Limits of Markets.”
I teach one course on the political economy of the welfare state and one module on Globalization, Development and Governance, which addresses how these tensions play out internationally.
I learned my political economy in college and grad school, as editor of two magazines, as a Senate investigator, by writing books, and by teaching. For fun, I also write a lot of poetry. I have two grown children, and six (!) grandchildren. My son as an actor, director, producer and theatre teacher. And my daughter is a clinical social worker. My wife teaches urban studies and environmental sustainability at Northeastern.