The Rana Foroohar Phenomenon
from Edward Fullbrook
A few years ago I took out a subscription to Time magazine, not because I wanted to read its weekly version of the news, but because it provided me with ongoing access to the magazine’s digital archives which I needed for a long-term writing project. So every Saturday the magazine with its iconic covers found its way into my home. Initially most issues ended up in the recycling box with their transparent plastic envelopes unremoved. But sometimes while waiting for the kettle to boil, l would unwrap and leaf through an issue, and then – it took me a few months – I became aware that there was an unexpected and admirable dimension to today’s Time. It has a name: Rana Foroohar. She was and is Time’s economics editor, and thanks to her reportage my copies of Time are no longer recycled still wrapped.
Time Magazine is of course both traditional and conventional, but when it comes to economics Foroohar is neither. In terms of Econ 101’s articles of faith, both Foroohar’s selection of significant facts and her analysis of them are frequently profane. Reading Foroohar, I was repeatedly surprised to find myself reminded of books and papers by Michael Hudson, Steve Keen, James Galbraith, Emmanuel Saez and other RWER contributors. But as I tend to be slow about such things, six months passed before the penny dropped and I thought to check the Real-World Economics Review subscriber list. Sure enough, Rana Foroohar was a subscriber.
I am bringing up the Rana Foroohar phenomenon today for two reasons. One is because it suggests that the work of the RWER community of scholars has had and is having more influence in the wider world than we realize. In assessing our success we tend to focus on curriculums and academic appointments, where heresy checks remain as tightly and ruthlessly enforced as ever. But perhaps out there in the real world the credibility of Econ 101 is quietly declining as opinion-shapers begin to read and listen more widely.
My second reason for calling attention today to Foroohar is that she has just published a book, Makers and Takers, and which is the basis of a long article (and inspires the cover) in Time magazine’s current issue. I’m about to order Foroohar’s book, and you may do likewise by clicking here.