Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Gerald Friedman was born in New York City in 1955 to parents who believed that anyone who said they lived elsewhere was “only kidding.” (He still buys food mail-order from Zabars. Since starting this webpage, he has been reminded that he can, and should, be getting his fish from Barney Greengrass.) After graduation from Columbia College in 1977 he worked on the research staff of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. He moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to be closer to Steve’s Ice Cream (and Fenway Park) and to attend graduate school at Harvard where he earned a Ph.D. in economics. In addition to his 1998 book, State-Making and Labor Movements. The United States and France, 1876-1914, Professor Friedman is the author of numerous articles on topics in the labor history of the United States and Europe, as well as the evolution of economic thought, labor economics, economic theory, and the history of slavery in the Americas, and has edited the Economic Crisis Reader. His teaching and research interests focus on economic history, labor history, labor economics, and the history of economic thought. Recently, he published Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring means to ends in a democratic labor movement (2008) which assesses the decline of the labor movement in advanced capitalist democracies; and, Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities (2015) an alternative introduction to microeconomics. He is currently working on an intellectual biography of Richard Ely, an early American economist, as part of a larger study of the decline of liberalism in the United States. He has been a regular correspondent on the economics to television and other media outlets and a consultant to labor unions and to campaigns for single-payer health insurance in Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon, and New York, and to Physicians for a National Health Plan.
Professor Friedman lives in Amherst with his wife and his dog, Beowulf. He also has two daughters who have been graduated from college into the gig economy.