Seymour Melman would have been 100 years old in 2017. We will examine his legacy in terms of his writing and activism, and discuss how to use his insights about political economy, manufacturing, the military economy and other topics in the light of the right-wing turn exemplified by Donald Trump. We will discuss the possibility of industrial policy from a working class perspective, including a large-scale infrastructure reconstruction program focusing on the needs of working people.
By “infrastructure” we mean more than simply physical construction of bridges but infrastructure in the sense of the backbones of our society- manufacturing, transportation, energy and information. These needs can be expressed as “design criteria”. Our vision means that the systems we support produce an environment that will replenish, not destroy our planet, and a manufacturing system that enhances skills and innovation, not one which degrades them. We are thinking about how to organize such a discussion and we thought that you might be interested in joining us in a discussion of the various aspects of a program of economic reconstruction - for example, an information system open and available to all; an energy system that is renewable not destructive; manufacturing that is productive and environmentally benign, designed for safety and skill; and a transportation system that serves to build a society, not destroy it.