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Doug Henwood

Doug Henwood, editor and publisher of Left Business Observer, got his B.A. in English from Yale in 1975. At Yale, Henwood was briefly a conservative and a member of the Party of the Right, which maneuvered his election as Secretary of the Political Union, but he quickly came to his senses (though he is, as they say around the POR, a member for life at least). From 1976-79, Henwood did graduate work in English at the University of Virginia, concentrating on British and American poetry and critical theory, fulfilling all requirements for a PhD except for that great stumbling block, a dissertation. After two years working as a copywriter and under-assistant promotion man for a medical publisher in New York, Henwood revived the idea of writing his dissertation, which was to be an examination of the varieties of narcissism in American poetry from Emerson through Whitman to Stevens. To examine the evolution of this psycho-esthetic, Henwood planned to examine the evolution of the U.S. political economy as well, from the entrepreneurial-yeoman capitalism of Emerson's day to the finance-bureaucratic capitalism of Stevens' - which would have taken seriously Stevens' employment as a bond lawyer for The Hartford insurance group.

The dissertation was never written. But in the course of boning up on the theory and history of the U.S. political economy, Henwood got more deeply interested in economic matters and less so in literary ones, supplementing a decent base of undergraduate training with extensive self-teaching. After 5 years of contemplation, convinced that the 1980s experiment with free-market economics was a financial and social disaster and that much "left" writing on economics was usually dry and dated, Henwood decided that there was room for a newsletter addressing both these deficiencies. He founded Left Business Observer in September 1986. Almost from the first issue, the newsletter was a critical success, and, though the publication more than pays its bills, a vast cascade of subscriptions would always be welcome.

LBO covers economics and politics in the broadest sense. Recent and persisting obsessions include

Every issue includes a report on the world's financial markets and central banks.

Besides editing LBO, Henwood is a contributing editor of The Nation, and hosts a radio weekly program on KPFA (Berkeley). (The radio show is archived here.) His book Wall Street was published by Verso in June 1997; it went out of print in 2005 and is now available for free download. His social atlas of the U.S. (in the Pluto atlas series), The State of the USA, was published by Simon & Schuster in the fall of 1994. His latest effort, After the New Economy, was published in 2003 by The New Press. Next on the to-do list: returning to the temporarily postponed book on the current American ruling class, whoever that might be.

photo by Katya Plyshevsky for the New Press

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