College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Rescheduled -- Capitalism Hits the Fan

The highly anticipated lectures by noted scholars Richard Wolff and Harriet Fraad, set for this week at the University of Southern Maine, have been rescheduled due to the pending bad weather, according to organizers.

“We made the decision to postpone the Wolff-Fraad lectures for the safety and well-being of participants and audience members,” said Michael Hillard, USM professor of economics.  “Many people had made plans to attend the lectures, and now we hope they will come to hear Professor Wolff and Dr. Fraad on the new dates.”

Both scholars were expected to speak on the effects of the 2008 recession on American society in a lecture event titled “Capitalism Hits the Fan.” Wolff, a nationally known economist, was scheduled to speak on Wednesday, while Fraad, a psychotherapist and journalist, was scheduled to speak on Thursday.

Details of the rescheduled event are:

·      “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Personal and Societal Effects of the 2008 Economic Crisis: Two-day presentations 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”; 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, Room 113, Masterton Hall, 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”; noon-1:30 p.m., Thursday, Thursday, place to be announced; both lectures free and open to the public. 


For more information, contact Michael Hillard, USM professor of economics at



USM Students to Bring Nationally Known Economist, Psychotherapist to Speak on 2008 Recession 

Because of the efforts of USM students, two nationally prominent scholars will make a return visit to the university next month to speak on the devastating 2008 economic recession and its societal and personal impact. 

Sponsored by a collaboration of student and college groups, Richard Wolff, nationally known economist, and Dr. Harriet Fraad, noted psychotherapist and journalist, will visit USM in March for a two-day presentation open to the public. 

"Several years ago, we both gave public talks to students and faculty at the University of Southern Maine,” Wolff stated recently. “The discussions that followed were very exciting and productive of honest debates and genuinely new ideas. 

“Now at a time of crisis and change in the US, we are especially looking forward to resuming just that kind of exchange during our visit in March," the economist said. 

“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. “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 also is an opportunity to hear how the 2008 recession affected us all on a personal and psychological level.” 

The lecture series is sponsored by: USM Student Senate; Students of Economic Interest; Student Sociology Association; 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, 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 University, New York City. He teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.

Wolff, known as a proponent of economic democracy, also is 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.”

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 Students of Economic Interest members attended the “Rethinking Marxism” conference held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for which Wolff was the keynote speaker, according to Havlin. Several USM faculty members have done doctoral work with Wolff, said USM economics professor Michael Hillard, who introduced Wolff to the students. 

The group decided to invite the economist and Fraad to visit the university, Havlin said. “We were pretty excited to meet him and invite him,” he said. 

The USM students began meeting with other students and to raise funds for the event, gathering continued support. Hillard called the effort “a campaign for high-level student involvement.” 

Hillard suggested that Mainers would be interested in what Wolff has to say because the state “has had about 30 years of economic hardship, and he is one of the foremost analysts of why.” The professor said 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,” Hillard said.

For more information about USM Department of Economics, go to: