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Fred Block

Research Professor of Sociology, University of California, Davis
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About Fred

Block’s research explores the systematic connections among economy, politics, and society, and analyzes the U.S. and global economy from an historical and institutional perspective. He probes the circumstances in which markets alone cannot generate solutions to economic problems. Block is a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, and was previously a Senior Fellow at the Longview Institute in Berkeley.


A Strategy to Foster Advanced Manufacturing in the United States

    Fred Block , Matthew R. Keller , Josh Whitford

The Vital Role of Government in U.S. Economic Innovation

    Matthew R. Keller ,

In the News

"Dems Must Start Now to Build a ‘People’s Platform’," Fred Block, The Hill, December 7, 2018.
"A Different Strategy for Economic Renewal," Fred Block, The Hill, July 9, 2018.
Fred Block quoted by Roger Gran Harrison, "The Great Transformer" The American Interest, January 23, 2018.
" A Basic Income Would Upend America’s Work Ethic - and That’s a Good Thing," Fred Block (with Frances Fox Piven), The Nation, August 23, 2016.
"Markets, States, and the Green Transition," Fred Block, American Prospect, March 5, 2015.
"Is Cruelty the Key to Prosperity?," Fred Block (with Margaret Somers), Open Democracy, October 27, 2014.
"In Tech, Reagan had it Backwards," Fred Block, Interview with Rob Johnson, Institute for New Economic Thinking, November 1, 2010.
Regular contributions by Fred Block to


Capitalism: The Future of an Illusion (University of California Press, 2018).

Argues that restoring the vitality of the United States and the world economy can be accomplished only with major reforms on the scale of the New Deal and the post–World War II building of new global institutions.

State of Innovation: The U.S. Government’s Role in Technology Development (with Matthew R. Keller) (Paradigm Publishers, 2011).
Provides an overview of the extensive governmental role in moving new technologies from the research lab to the marketplace.
"Where Do Innovations Come From? Transformations in the U.S. Economy, 1970-2006" Socio-Economic Review 7, no. 3 (2009): 459-83.
Reports results of a study of four decades of award-winning marketable innovations, and explores the role of large firms, smaller firms, and private and public partnerships in creating innovative products and bringing them to the market.
The Vampire State (New Press, 1996).
Elaborates a critique of the free market ideas that have dominated U.S. political and economic debate, and warns of the dangers of continued reliance on these ideas.
Postindustrial Possibilities (University of California Press, 1990).
Explains how structural changes in advanced economies require a rethinking of economic categories and policies that emerged in the 19th century.