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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 fo