Welcome to my Boston.com blog.
In the months to come, I hope to provide you with food for thought about the economy and public policy -- particularly about Greater Boston and Massachusetts, but often about the nation and the world. There will be plenty of numbers and statistics, but I hope you will find that within those numbers there are big stories. Many you may find surprising, some I hope you find thought-provoking, and others just plain fun.
As an economist, I work with numbers and statistics all the time. These can be pretty tiresome until you see the story within. I'll do my best to reveal these stories and would appreciate hearing back from you about your own interpretations.
Every economist and indeed every scientist has some biases, if for no other reason than the subjects they choose to study. While I will strive to provide you with as unbiased reports as possible, it is helpful to know my background.
Born in Brooklyn, New York just before the end of World War II, my family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1947 where my father took a job as an international representative for the United Automobile Workers (UAW). He would end up as administrative assistant to that union's president, Walter Reuther, and finally vice president of the union and its chief negotiator with General Motors.
I attended Mumford High School in Detroit, made famous by Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, when the Motor City was the richest city on earth, and went to the University of Michigan where I received my undergraduate degree and Ph.D. in Economics. I was active in student government during the school year and paid my school bills by working as a summer replacement assembly line worker at a Ford plant near Ann Arbor. I helped build the carburetors for the first Ford Mustang.
In 1971, I left Ann Arbor, Michigan to assume my first teaching post at Boston College. I expected to stay in Boston for a short period before returning to the Midwest. That was 41 years ago. I fell in love with Boston and have been here ever since.
After 16 years at BC, I was recruited by UMass-Boston and helped build its McCormack Institute and its Ph.D. program in Public Policy. Eleven years later, in 1999, I was recruited to Northeastern where I helped develop what is now the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. The Center is a "think and do" tank devoted to research and action on a range of urban issues from affordable housing and local economic development to transportation and environmental sustainability.
In 1995, before leaving for Northeastern, I spent a sabbatical as special policy adviser to Congressman Dick Gephardt, then the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
All during these years I have taught political economy, labor economics, urban studies, and labor relations. I now have the great pleasure of not only helping Northeastern create new programs that link our university to the city, the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world, but to find ways to take what we do at the university and make it accessible to everyone in our broader community.
So when you read my blog, think of the rise and fall of Detroit, the rock and roll of Motown, the '60s, the transformation of Boston from the 1970s busing crisis to its current day diversity, from the days of the mini-computer to the birth of biotech, and four decades cheering for everything right in Red Sox Nation.
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About the author
Barry Bluestone is the Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, the founding director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and the Founding Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. More »