Department of Criminology, Economics and Sociology

"Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Personal and Societal Effects of the 2008 Economic Crisis."

April 23, 2014 to April 24, 2014

Wolff and Fraad image

 Richard Wolff and Harriet Fraad two-day 2014 speaking event Wednesday, April 23 and Thursday, April 24.


Thanks to the efforts of USM students who successfully campaigned for high-level student involvement and college group sponsorship, two nationally prominent scholars will make a return visit to USM on Wednesday, April 23 and Thursday, April 24 to speak about the devastating 2008 economic recession and its societal and personal impact.

“This is a great and rare opportunity for both students and the community to meet and hear national figures who can speak on our national situation,” said event organizer Michael Havlin, a USM senior business and economics major from Hampden, Maine. “I hope they gain an interesting perspective into one of the leading critics of capitalism and learn about different methods of economic organization and economic systems. This is also an opportunity to hear how the 2008 recession affected us all on a personal and psychological level.”

"Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Personal and Societal Effects of the 2008 Econonomic Crisis."

A two-day event featuring lectures by economist Richard Wolff and psychotherapist/journalist Dr. Harriet Fraad.

Richard Wolff lecture:

  • "Capitalism Hit the Fan, So Now What? Economic Democracy and America’s Future."
    Wednesday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 pm
    Talbot Lecture Hall, Luther Bonney Hallimage_Capitalism_hits_the_Fan
    University of Southern Maine, Portland campus

Harriet Fraad lecture:

  • "The Great Recession’s Hurricane Swath Through Intimate Life: Social and Personal Transformation in the U.S. Since the 2008 Economic Crisis."
    Thursday, April 24, 12:00-1:30 pm
    University Events Room, Glickman Family Library
    University of Southern Maine, Portland campus

The lecture series is sponsored by: USM Student Senate; USM Students of Economic Interest; USM Student Sociology Association; USM International Relations Association; USM Psychology Club; USM Department of Economics; USM Communication and Media Studies Department; and USM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Much published and a popular speaker, Richard Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of The New School, a university in New York City. He teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.

Known as a proponent of economic democracy, Wolff is also one of the founders of the Association of Economic and Social Analysis and its publication, “Rethinking Marxism.” He is author of “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Crisis and What to Do about It” and “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.”

Harriet Fraad is a psychotherapist-hypnotherapist in practice in New York City. Her work primarily deals with the interface between economy and psychology. She is a founding member of the feminist movement and also of the journal, “Rethinking Marxism.” Her radio show, “Interpersonal Update,” is broadcast on WBAI-FM, New York. She is co-author of “Class Struggle on the Home Front.”

“We are six years into the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Fraad stated. “Recovery happens only at the top. The impact of lower wages or none, cut benefits, sparse services, poverty and debt is deeply disruptive and even traumatic. While this leads some people into deep, passive, despair, it leads others to dreams and actions of social transformation.”

In September 2013, a group of USM Students of Economic Interest members attended the 8th international conference Rethinking Marxism 2013: Surplus, Solidarity, Sufficiency held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for which Wolff was the keynote speaker, according to Havlin. USM Professor of Economics, Michael Hillard, who introduced Wolff to the students, said that several USM faculty members have done doctoral work with Wolff. Havlin said that the student group decided to invite the economist and Fraad to visit USM.

Professor Hillard said that Mainers would be interested in what Wolff has to say because the state has had about 30 years of economic hardship, and Wolff is one of the foremost analysts of why. Hillard also believes that the state has a real interest in economic alternatives, such as co-ops and non-profit organizations, but not a lot of understanding about them. "Wolff will bring analysis, policy models, proposals and best models."

For more information about USM Department of Economics, visit

Contact Information

Michael Hillard