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Institutions with Linwood Tauheed
Episode 10927th February 2021 • Macro N Cheese • Steve Grumbine
00:00:00 01:01:27

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This week Steve talks with Linwood Tauheed, someone we’ve heard about from several of our recent guests. Dr. Tauheed is an institutionalist economist; he looks at the economy not as a macroeconomy or a microeconomy, but as an economy that's founded on institutions. Beyond the economy, or perhaps intertwined with it, institutional frameworks enable and constrain all parts of social life. They are sometimes the unconscious or conscious ideas that structure the way ordinary people live their lives.

Such an expansive, dialectical look at society inspires Steve to take this interview down a number of paths, visiting both recent and distant history. They talk about the stark differences between the French and American revolutions. Slavery was outlawed during the French revolution, which was fought by the poor against the rich:

It was a class-based revolution, whereas the American Revolution was a revolution of the very well-off in this country against the monarchy, the very well-off in Britain. And so it wasn't a revolution that was based on freeing the poor. It was a revolution based on freeing the rich.

The US Constitution is just one representation of the institutions that undergird the divisions of race and sex in the service to capitalism. According to institutionalist Thorstein Veblen, capitalists organize systems enabling them to “make a living without earning a living.” There are micro-institutions and “habits of thought” that continue to divide people whose common oppression should unite them.

This episode includes discussion of A Tribe Called Quest, the life of Malcolm X, and, of course, Modern Monetary Theory. A transcript of the interview is available on our website. For additional, related content, check out the Extras page.

Linwood Tauheed is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City, and teaches introductory and advanced courses in Institutional Economics, Political Economy of Race, Class, and Gender, Economic Development, and a doctoral seminar in Interdisciplinary Research Methodology. His primary research interests are in Economic Methodology, Community Economic Development and Analysis of Education. A major research project involves the development of ‘Critical Institutionalism,’ an interdisciplinary metatheoretical framework for developing models for evolutionary institutional change in social systems through social action.

He is the immediate past president of the National Economic Association (NEA), which was founded in 1969 as the Caucus of Black Economists and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.