About Fred

Fred L. Block is a critical intellectual who has written widely on issues of politics and political economy.  He is a research professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. He also serves as President of the Center for Engaged Scholarship.

Fred’s wide ranging writings cover topics such as state theory, the organization of the international monetary system, changes in the U.S. innovation system, and the prospects for radical reform of U.S. society. (link to publication list which is attached and we can gradually add live links for as many of the publications as possible)

Fred’s work has drawn heavily on the writings of the Hungarian refugee intellectual, Karl Polanyi. Fred has served on the Board of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy since 1989. He has also been a member of the editorial board of Politics & Society for many years.

Fred’s books include The Vampire State and Other Myths and Fallacies About The U.S. Economy (1996), Postindustrial Possibilities: A Critique of Economic Discourse (1990), The Mean Season: The Attack On the Welfare State (co-authored with Richard A. Cloward, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Frances Fox Piven) (1987), Revising State Theory: Essays In Politics and Postindustrialism (1987), The Origins of International Economic Disorder: A Study of United States International Monetary Policy From World War II to the Present (1977),  The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polyani’s Critique (co-authored with Margaret Somers) (2014), and State of Innovation: The U.S. Government’s Role in Technology Development (2011).

His book, Capitalism: The Future of an Illusion (2018) explains how U.S. politics got caught in a loop that alternates between center-left Democrats and increasingly extreme-right Republicans, arguing that, to exit this cycle of raised hopes followed by dashed dreams, we must challenge the idea that we live in a society that operates according to its own inner laws.

Fred formerly taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He is married to Carole Joffe, a sociologist, author and activist for women’s reproductive rights. They have two adult children.