Harry Magdoff, (Henry Samuel Magdoff), American economist (born Aug. 21, , New York, N.Y.—died Jan. 1, , Burlington, Vt.), after a career in. Henry Samuel Magdoff (21 August – 31 December ), commonly known as Harry Magdoff, held several administrative positions in. Harry Magdoff. Books By Harry Similar Authors To Harry Magdoff The Deepening Crisis of U. S. Capitalism: Essays by Harry Magdoff and Paul M. Sweezy.

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The two lectured to audiences around the developing world, and Magdoff’s expertise and experience with business executives, grounding in statistics and his analysis of persistent stagnation marked his criticism of economic orthodoxy.

It also indicated a continuity between the mainstream ideas of President Roosevelt’s s new deal and those of s new left. Later, with the decline of the new left and the collapse of the eastern bloc, Magdoff emphasised the transfer of US economic world leadership from manufacturing to finance. He also commented on the exaggerated global gap of incomes and the ecological crisis. Magdoff was born in the Bronx in New York City, the son of impoverished Russian-Jewish immigrants, and discovered socialist ideas as a teenager.

He also discovered Yiddish literature, and fleetingly considered life as a poet. Studying mathematics and physics at New York’s City College in the s, he shared the campus with the likes of the anarchist peace activist Paul Goodman, the later blacklisted communist screenwriter and director Abraham Polonsky, the social democrat Irving Howe and the future neo-conservative Irving Kristol.


Expelled from CCNY for activities around a student paper, Magdoff took his economics degree from New York University’s school of commerce inand then joined the new deal’s works progress administration.

His analysis of measuring productivity in manufacturing, published as a book-length government report is still used today, and enhanced his reputation. In he joined the national defense and advisory board, studying bottlenecks in production under wartime conditions.

A report by his circle of colleagues was said to have appeared on Roosevelt’s desk on December 7,the day of Pearl Harbor. Magdoff then joined the war production board, analysing the metal working industries. By mxgdoff, as chief economist in the commerce department’s current business analysis division, he ran the influential Survey of Current Business. InHenry Wallace, matdoff the secretary of commerce in President Truman’s administration asked Magdoff to become his special assistant.

Wallace had been vice-president under Roosevelt from towas the darling of the new deal left, and a mystic visionary of postwar global cooperation. Magdoff prepared position papers for cabinet meetings while overseeing the bureau of standards and the census.

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But by autumn Wallace was haery of government. Cold war reshuffling was taking place. Magdoff returned to New York as programme director of the new council of American business, writing newsletters and position papers.

But the cold war abruptly terminated Magdoff’s government career.

Like many other new dealers, he supported Wallace’s third-party presidential bid inwriting its small business programme. With Wallace’s ignominious defeat, Magdoff soon faced congressional and grand jury investigations, FBI harassment and the blacklist.

So he became a financial analyst, sold insurance and eventually settled upon a publishing company specialising in reprints.


Harry Magdoff – Wikipedia

He also taught intermittently at New York’s New School and at Yale University, and drew close to Monthly Review, established infor which he wrote from By the end of his life, Magdoff had turned over direction of Monthly Review to a pair of younger scholars, and in he moved to Burlington, Vermont, with his son Fred. Magdoff enjoyed the admiration of former Burlington mayor, later socialist congressman Bernard Sanders, who reflected that Magdoff was the “true heart of the greatest generation of Americans”.

Magdoff had, in a sense, always represented that time of the s and 40s, depression and wartime, experiences and lessons for those who would listen, and learn.

In he married his wife Beatrice Greizer, who predeceased him. He is survived by his two sons.

Obituary: Harry Magdoff | US news | The Guardian

From the time of his youthful work as an economist with President Roosevelt’s s new deal onwards, Harry Magdoff, who has died aged 92, believed in the necessity of planning, as opposed to market chaos.

Translated into 15 languages, it had a substantial impact on the s American new left. In it Magdoff argued that empire, not class, was the great contradiction of the age.