About the Author
My name is Stephen Yearwood. I am the author of all of this. I was born in Atlanta, GA, U.S.A., in October, 1952. I don't claim to be the smartest person in the world. Often, if not to say usually, I am not the smartest person in the room. (I do have some exceptionally intelligent friends and at least one sister who is clearly in their class.) Still, I do have a brain. I have a creative intelligence. Although my work in philosophy and political economy does contain a creative impulse, the finished product does represent vast amounts of heavy intellectual labor. I have spent my adult life reading and studying history, philosophy, and economics. It hasn't been drudgery because I've enjoyed every minute of it, but it has been effort all the same. If, however, there is a connection between exceptional brilliance and fragility, then it might bode well for the application of real justice to life, in the rough-and-tumble world that we inhabit, that all of this is the product of a not-so-brilliant mind.
The content presented on this Web site is not stuff I dreamed up this morning. I have been tinkering with these ideas—while trying to get them into the public discourse—since the Autumn of 1982. I have been completely on my own in developing these ideas. They certainly would have benefited from analysis and critique by others, but that is one of the things that getting them into the public domain would accomplish.
In the end, any idea is independent of the person who originated it. The idea is valid or not regardless of that individual. The validity of these ideas does not depend on how intelligent I am, or how good of a person I am, or how much I've read, or what I've read, or anything else concerning me. One good thing about these ideas is that they require no special knowledge for their evaluation. One needn't have read any philosophy to evaluate real justice, and one needn't know calculus to evaluate the economic proposal. Regarding the latter, it barely qualifies as 'economics'; it is nothing but some straightforward thinking about how money affects the economy as a whole with perhaps a bit of some very basic math.
I did earn an M.A. in economics (Atlanta University, 1988) after I had developed the first iteration of the monetary system I am proposing, to be certain of its economic validity. It was included in my Thesis, which was approved by a panel of economists with Ph.D.’s who took their roles as protectors of academia’s intellectual integrity most seriously. My Thesis also contained a “Review of the Literature” of the academic debate regarding 'distributive justice' that had been initiated by the publication of John Rawls’s book, A Theory of Justice (1971). I was fortunate to be in school when that debate had run its course. Finally, in an appendix to my Thesis, I summarized the much more scant academic debate concerning the concept of ‘neutral money’, the concept that begat the Austrian School in economics, which begat in turn the subject of monetarism. The notion of neutral money had particularly captured the imagination of F.A. Hayek.
The higher echelons of the school’s administration hated my Thesis. Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) was and is a private school and at that time it was desperate for money (from private foundations). The powers that were had just gotten rid of the only Marxist on the faculty, and being associated with some newfangled idea was no part of the new agenda of the school (which ended up merging with Clark College). I was told in person by the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences that he would never have allowed me to write my Thesis if he had known about it. My Thesis advisor, Dr. Fred Boadu, was let go. [He used to say, "When we show them this Thesis they'll be chasing us with sticks!" They chased him all the way to Texas A & I University.] The Economics Department was dissolved and the economics courses incorporated into the Business Department. I'm not suggesting that all of that was caused by my Thesis, but there you go. Dr. Boadu was sympathetic to—while forcing rigor onto—my project in part because he had come to this country from Nigeria and earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics with the idea of promoting Jeffersonian Democracy as a developmental model for Africa. As so often happens, he got sidetracked by life.
I got to these ideas unexpectedly. I grew up with a child's understanding of the 'unfairness' of our economic system, based on the experiences of my daddy. Given my personality, all that inspired in me was a desire to minimize my exposure to the economy. After graduating from high school in 1970 I did wander off to college (Georgia Southern College--now University--in Statesboro, GA--where Blind Willie McTell wrote "Statesboro Blues"--and, yes, The Allman Brothers Band performed there frequently). Having sampled all of the other social sciences, I ended up with a B.S. [yeah] in political science. (I had enough courses for a minor in economics, but unlike a B.A., the B.S. degree doesn't allow for a minor.) In one of my poli-sci courses we were assigned to read The Water Lords. That book was the product of a Ralph Nader project (and its lead author was James Fallows, who later became editor of The Atlantic Monthly--now The Atlantic). The subject of the book was the nefarious ways of the paper-making companies in Georgia. That book gave intellectual substance to my childhood feelings about this economy. I started studying Marxism informally, since that was the only alternative out there, but eventually rejected it for lots of reasons--foremost among them that it eschewed the need for anything as immaterial as an ethic of justice. I then asked myself how we could have a truly just economy, and the rest is--to this point--my private history.
One feature of a Web site is that it can be continually updated based one’s very latest thinking. I am constantly revising and updating it. That does make the content of the site something of a moving target for analysis and critique, but as time goes by the changes get smaller and smaller. At this point changes in the content are pretty much limited to correcting typographical errors (still!) and using alternative words and phrases and clauses for greater accuracy or clarity. My point here is that the basic ideas have not changed in thirty years, though my understanding of those ideas and their implications most certainly has evolved over that span of time.
Other than being a student, I have never been in academia. To support myself monetarily I have worked at various jobs, from tending bar, to doing some teaching, to driving an 18-wheeler (very briefly), to (more than any other job) being a self-employed handyman. The last of those is all about solving problems and fixing things. With my intellectual efforts I like to think of myself as a handyman for the whole world.
Other published work:
"Smith and Keynes: The Economic Insight They Shared," The Globalist (on-line magazine), Today's Feature: Sunday, July 28, 2013
“Justice for All Not Possible Using Beliefs,” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Faith and Values Section, September 30, 2006
“Justice: Mutual Respect in Effecting Choices,” Contemporary Philosophy (Vol. XXVII, No. 1 & 2, Jan./Feb. & Mar./Apr., 2006) 71-75.
“Democratic Capitalism: An Economic Model for Presently Less Developed Nations,” Contemporary Philosophy (Vol. XIX, No. 6, Nov./Dec., 1996) 16-22
“A Model of the Political Sphere of Society,” Contemporary Philosophy (Vol. XVII, No. 5, Sept./Oct., 1995) 28-29
“The Science of Chaos Has Important Lessons for Democracy,” featured Letter to the Editor, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 10, 1990
A Just Solution, AuthorHouse (authorhouse.com), 2003
Other (unpublished) writing:
a novel, several plays and other scripts, a few dozen songs (mostly country), and lots of poetry (beaucoup haiku)