Union for Radical Political Economics
2014 Annual Report

I. Membership

URPE is finishing 2014 with a strong membership base of 470 dues paying members which is an increase of 29% from this time in 2013. The URPE community that includes our social networks has grown to more than 3,000 in 2014 and we see that number increase every day. As a membership organization, it is very important that we continue to attract new members.

The URPE leadership makes it a priority to remain relevant to radicals through our various projects run by members who volunteer their time to help grow the organization. The success of URPE at ASSA and URPE at EEA have played a large role in the increase in membership. Future projects that we hope will also function as effective recruiting tools are the URPE Road Show, an upcoming reader, URPE sessions at the Southern Economic Association meetings, and a graduate student fellowship.

Our new website will play a key role by making it easier than ever to join and renew your membership. Through the web, one can choose an annual membership or they can choose to become a three year member, an option that was not previously available. We will continue to utilize technologies available to us as well as old-fashioned networking in order to work towards strengthening our membership numbers and participation in 2015.

II. Activities

RRPE

Enid Arvidson has been chosen as the next managing editor of the RRPE, effective at the San Francisco ASSA meetings in January 2016. Arvidson, who is based at the University of Texas at Arlington, has served on the editorial board for 10 years and acts as the RRPE’s Web master. The editorial board and the outgoing mangaging editor, Hazel Dayton Gunn, are confident that she will wear the mantle of responsibility with grace and dedication to the ongoing project that is the RRPE.  Gunn has served as managing editor for 20 years.  She thanked all the URPE members who have served on the editorial board during that time, saying "the journal has improved and grown in stature because of their efforts."

In 2014 the RRPE received 88 manuscripts of which 18 were accepted and 44 were rejected for an acceptance rate of 20 percent. Seventy-four percent were from countries other than the United States. We must factor this international bias into our decisions in the future regarding who we serve, the make-up of the editorial board, and so forth.  22 book reviews were received of which 16 were accepted  and 4 were rejected, for an acceptance rate of 73 percent. (Note that accepted and rejected submissions do not sum to total received because some manuscripts are under review.)

The journal received 10 ASSA papers from the 2014 Boston ASSA meetings and accepted 6.  One paper was received from the EEA meetings, which was not accepted.

The special issue currently being reviewed is Economics and Morality. Calls for papers have been sent out for 1) The European Union, and 2) The Past, Present and Future of Radical Economics: URPE at 50.

URPE at ASSA

URPE continues to be allotted 16 sessions at the ASSA convention, and there does not seem to be any threat of a reduction in the foreseeable future. The last reduction attempt was 9 years ago and our attendance in recent years has been respectable enough (thanks to Al Campbell for keeping our own records of attendance to help defend ourselves against possible reduction attempts in the future). LERA is being cut way back, but they moved their main convention to the summer so fewer of their members attend the ASSA meetings.

One of our sessions is for the Gordon Lecture, one is for a joint URPE-AEA session, and three are shared with IAFFE. So that leaves 11 sessions that are open for our submission process, which seems to be about right given our current rate of proposals.

In the 2014 meetings, the Gordon Lecture was given by Tom Weisskopf (“Reflections on Twenty Years of Political Economy”) and the joint URPE-AEA session was on “Debating the Marginal Productivity Theory of Distribution”.

In the upcoming 2015 meetings, the Gordon lecture will be by Julie Schor (“Capitalism and the Climate Crisis: Reducing Emissions through Reductions in the Working Day”) and the joint session will be on “Debating the Minimum Wage”.   As you can see, we are trying to use the joint session to engage in critical dialogue with the mainstream (URPE members presenting papers and mainstream economists as discussants). One advantage of such an ASSA session is that mainstream economists have to respond to our criticisms (since we are in the same room!), rather than just ignoring us as they usually do.

Eastern Economic Association

Not available.

URPE at Left Forum

Not available.

URPE Road Show

In 2014, URPE worked in collaboration with John Jay College Department of Economics to host the first event in a series that we call the “URPE Road Show”. The series is designed to get URPE members together with college audiences to participate in conversations related to radical political economy. The event held in 2014 at John Jay was titled, “The Global Crisis of Capitalism: Marxist and Post Keynesian Views”. Matias Vernego and Paul Cooney presented their analysis of global capitalism to an audience of 60 students, faculty, and community members. URPE plans to host similar events in upstate NY and at UMKC in 2015. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Frances Boyes at urpe@urpe.org.

 Political Economy Open Mic Night

Open mic nights are no longer just for the musicians and the poets- economists are now coming together and sharing their ideas and research! The members of URPE in the Amherst, MA area met in August of 2014 at a local venue to socialize and present their work for feedback in an open mic format. The open mic format is a short 6 minute presentation of anything related to political economy. Presentations included PowerPoints on dissertation ideas, summaries of books written and the sharing of research. (Music and poetry are encouraged also!) This was a nice way to connect with other activists and academics in a casual setting and to get encouragement and feedback on the work that we all do. In 2015, we look forward to a DC area open mic night as well as another Amherst event. URPE chapters across the globe are encouraged to host their own open mic night. For help with coordinating an open mic in your area, contact Frances Boyes at urpe@urpe.org.

 Newsletter

The URPE newsletter did not undergo any major changes in 2014, however, decisions have been made to discontinue the print version of the quarterly newsletter beginning in 2015. The newsletter will continue to be published quarterly, but as an online and electronic version. Members will be able to receive a pdf of the newsletter sent to their email address. It will also be available on www.urpe.org.

Once a newsletter is published, it will be emailed to individual URPE members and a notice will go out on the URPE list serve. For URPE members who enjoy receiving the paper version in the mail, do not fret! We will give everyone the chance to opt-in and continue to have it delivered via USPS. The new default will be electronic, but we are happy to be flexible and pop a copy in the mail if preferred.

The final issue to be printed and mailed to every member will be the Winter issue of 2015. This upcoming issue will include details of this change and options for selecting your new delivery method for the newsletter. And, as always, we welcome submissions and feedback! Contact Frances Boyes at urpe@urpe.org for more information.

 www.urpe.org

The new URPE Web site went live in mid-December.

As indicated in the annual report last year, URPE decided in 2012 to do an overhaul on its website with the goal of increasing its role in URPE’s mission of promoting and developing radical political economy. The three main pillars of the overhaul are 1) adding new material that will be of use to URPE members and others fighting for deep economic-social change, 2) a cleaning up of the site and its navigation to make it (still) easier to use, and 3) committing human resources for its continuous updating once the new site is launched (to avoid the problem of some of its parts going out of date or becoming dead that we faced with our previous site).

As this is being written at the end of the year, the new site is just up, and we are still getting a few bugs out of it. What it already has done is clean up (updating some out of date material, fixing many links and removing other out of date material) the old site a lot. The most important aspects of the new site, however, in line with the goals indicated in the last paragraph, will be introduced only over the whole of 2015 (and beyond) – new material and new features, which URPE members will be kept advised of via the URPE list serve and the Web site itself (and we are as always open to suggestions on what would help our members develop and promote radical political economy). The URPE website had an estimated 33,000 visitors in 2014, a number we hope to increase in 2015.

Blog

The URPE blog increased its posts from 8 in 2013 to 43 in 2014, especially due to the consistent posts of Matias Vernango, with a consequent doubling of viewership (4,012 views in 2013 vs. 8,121 in 2014). URPE members are encouraged to submit their blog posts to Frances Boyes at  urpe@urpe.org .

Facebook page

The URPE Facebook group has grown exponentially. As of 4/28/2015, it counts 3,445 members. The posting and discussion in the group has also increased significantly in 2014 and the early months of 2015.

 List serve

The URPE list serve is very popular and growing! Many URPErs use the list serve for job announcements, calls for papers, and resource sharing. It is the best way to connect with more than 1400 people in the URPE community via email. The URPE steering committee has recently revisited the guidelines for the list serve and has made a few changes that you should be aware of. These changes are in keeping with our goal of maintaining a list serve that is low volume while maintaining its relevance.

URPE List serve posting guidelines:

1. Each person posting to the list serve needs to be a member in good standing of URPE. If you need to renew your membership, you can do so by contacting Frances Boyes at urpe@urpe.org.

2. The national office of URPE can post the following from non-members: job announcements, meeting announcements, call for papers, resource inquiries.

3. Book announcements are acceptable posts by members, however, article announcements and blog posts are not. People can choose to share those announcements on our facebook page or the URPE blog.

URPE history

URPE’s 50th anniversary will be in 2018. The editorial board of the RRPE and the steering committee urge URPE members to begin thinking and writing about the history of URPE and radical economics. The key activity that is being undertaken is a special issue of the RRPE. Both the RRPE (see below) and the steering committee have formed committees on URPE history. The point person for the RRPE is Marlene Kim and for the SC, Lane Vanderslice.

RRPE special issue: The Past, Present & Future of Radical Economics: URPE at 50. The manuscript submission deadline is September 30, 2015. Questions on this special issue may be sent to: Marlene Kim Marlene.Kim@umb.edu. Please contact her regarding your interest in submission to ensure covering the important areas and topics for this issue.

Panel presentations We urge URPE members to consider presentations on topics in radical economics and URPE history at upcoming URPE at ASSAs and other meetings. A broad based history of radical economics needs a broad base of people contributing to articulating it.

Oral histories The SC is considering encouraging oral histories as an important way to capture URPE history and has done a number of interviews to test the idea and explore methods of presenting the information. SC member Eric Olsen was able to interview Fred Lee before his untimely passing. If you are interested in doing an oral history, contact Lane Vanderslice.

III. Financial

URPE ran a small deficit ($400.00) in 2014 due to an unexpected slight decrease in revenues.  In 2014 URPE had revenues of approximately $146,400 and expenses of approximately $146,800. URPE’s revenues derive mainly from two sources: royalties from the publishing contract with Sage for the Review of Radical Political Economics (85 percent of revenues) and membership dues (9 percent of revenue). Other sources of revenue include interest on savings, donations, conference registration fees, and other occasional income.

 URPE’s largest expenses are payroll for the URPE Office Coordinator and the Managing Editor of the RRPE, equaling approximately 50 percent of the total expenses. Other expenses include the operating budget for the RRPE, general administration for the national office, travel for the Steering Committee to SC semi-annual meetings and for the Office Manager, our Speaker’s Bureau, and other occasional expenses.

 URPE has been investing in certificates of deposit and our investments have grown steadily, ending 2014 at $198,700 largely in interesting-bearing bank accounts. URPE has invested approximately $30,000 in shares in Equal Exchange, a business which promotes coffee and other products grown in cooperatives and under fair trade guidelines.

The URPE Finance Committee (Steering Committee member, Erik Olsen and Treasurer, Paul Cooney) has taken on the task of revising the annual operating budget to reallocate funds towards projects that are a priority of the organization and are working closely with the URPE Office Coordinator, Frances Boyes, to closely manage the operating budget for 2015. We are anticipating significant one-time expenditures related to the search for a new Managing Editor of the RRPE. We are also planning to shift some investments into funds with higher interest rates than the CD’s now offer. Options are still being explored at the time of this printing. 

IV. People

We would like to acknowledge the following people whose efforts make URPE possible.

URPE members whose radical political economy analysis and other efforts to understand and change society are the reason for URPE’s existence.

The Review of Radical Political Economy Hazel Dayton Gunn (Managing Editor), Enid Arvidson (2003-2015), Fletcher Baragar (2010-2016), David Barkin (1991-2015) Brigitte Bechtold (2000-2017), Ray Boddy (2000-2017), Martha Campbell (2013-2016), Sara Cantillon (2014-2017), Firat Demir (2009-2017), William Dugger (2005-2017) , Don Goldstein (2003-2017), Davide Gualerzi (2010-2016), Christopher Gunn (1989-2016), Dorene Isenberg (2006-2015), Fadhel Kaboub (2006-2017), Michael Keaney (2013-2016), Marlene Kim (2007-2016), Mark Klinedinst (2013-2016), Tim Koechlin (2009-2014), Mehrene Larudee (2006-2015), Mark Lautzenheiser (2010-2016), Victor Lippit 2004-2016), Gary Mongiovi (1994-2015), Phillip O’Hara (2013-2016), Shaianne Osterreich (2005-2017), Paddy Quick (2006-2015), Arslan Razmi (2014-2017), Daniel E. Saros (2013-2016), Susan Schroeder (2013-2016), Ramaa Vasudevan (2007-2016), John Willoughby (2014-2017) and Tamar Diana Wilson (2012-2015).

Steering Committee The Steering Committee is made up of twelve members serving staggered three-year terms, so that every year four members’ terms expire. Al Campbell (term expiring 2015); Scott Carter (term expiring 2015); Paul Cooney (term expiring 2017); Ann Davis (term expiring 2015); Julio Huato (term expiring 2017); Laurie Nisonoff (term expiring 2015); Erik Olsen (term expiring 2016); Paddy Quick (term expiring 2016); Geoffrey Schneider (term expiring 2017), Lane Vanderslice (term expiring 2017); Ramaa Vasudevan (term expiring 2016); Matias Vernengo (term expiring 2016)

URPE Coordinators Frances Boyes, National Office Manager and Newsletter Editor, and Fred Moseley, ASSA Coordinator.

URPE members willing to make a significant but manageable commitment of time and talent are urged to consider running for election to the RRPE Editorial Board or the URPE Steering Committee.

 

Comments by members on the Annual Report and URPE activities are welcome and may be sent to Frances Boyes at the URPE National Office urpe@labornet.org .