BEN SELIGMAN was an old-fashioned socialist intellectual. The world is full of B”old-fashioned intellectuals” for whom the concept of socialist fraternity has long since lost whatever value it might once have had. And it reverberates to the cries of “socialist intellectuals” who brutalize the notion of brotherhood by limit- ing it to this elite or that. Not so Ben.
Many of us are tolerably aware of Ben’s accomplishments in his chosen field. Determined not to be hampered by a heart that would not beat in rhythm with his high ambitions, he drove himself to produce a stream of books and essays on economic problems. Until the last five years of his life he was not granted the leisure of the academic who does his work in three- and four-day weeks and long summer holidays. Employed full-time at a series of research, administrative, and organizing jobs situated mostly around the labor movement, he had to work nights and weekends, reading hard and writing fast, to commit to paper the insights that grew bolder, sharper, and more pungent as he himself grew older.
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