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Robert L. Kuttner (/ˈkʌtnər/; born April 17, 1943) is an American journalist and writer whose works present a liberal/progressive point of view. Kuttner is the co-founder and current co-editor of The American Prospect, which was created in 1990 as an "authoritative magazine of liberal ideas," according to its mission statement.[1] He was a 20-year columnist for Business Week and The Boston Globe,[2] and continues to write columns in and for the Huffington Post.[3]

Robert L. Kuttner
Robert Kuttner - Flickr image 3444876149.jpg
Robert Kuttner in April 2009
Born (1943-04-17) April 17, 1943 (age 76)
New York City, New York
EducationOberlin College (1965)
University of California, Berkeley
OccupationJournalist, Writer
Notable credit(s)
Squandering of America
Everything for Sale
Spouse(s)Sharland Grace Trotter (?-?)
Joan Fitzgerald

Kuttner is also one of five 1986 co-founders of the Economic Policy Institute, and currently serves on its executive committee. Between 2007 and 2014, Kuttner joined the liberal[4] Demos research and policy center as a Distinguished Senior Fellow.

Early life and educationEdit

Kuttner was born in New York City. He attended Oberlin College, the University of California, Berkeley, and the London School of Economics.

He currently holds the Ida and Meyer Kirstein Chair at Brandeis University, where he is in his sixth year as a visiting professor of social policy. At different times throughout his career he has also taught at Boston University, University of Oregon, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Harvard's Institute of Politics. He has also been a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UC-Berkeley, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Radcliffe Public Policy Fellow.

He holds honorary degrees from Swarthmore College and Oberlin College.

Writer and editorEdit

Kuttner has had an extensive career as a writer and editor at various national publications.

In addition to his early work at Pacifica Radio, including a stint as general manager of WBAI-FM in New York, he has served as Washington Editor of the Village Voice, economics editor at The New Republic, and was a member of the national staff at the Washington Post. Between 1984 and 2005 he was one of five columnists for the "Economic Viewpoint" section (also titled "Economic Watch") of BusinessWeek.

His magazine writing has also appeared in The New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper's, Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, Columbia Journalism Review, the Washington Monthly, Dissent, and Political Science Quarterly.


Kuttner is author of several books dealing with economics, politics, globalization and labor markets, as well as his political support for the revival of a robust labor-left agenda. His books include The Revolt of the Haves: Tax Rebellions and Hard Times (1980), The Economic Illusion: False Choices between Prosperity and Social Justice (1984), The Life of the Party: Democratic prospects in 1988 and beyond (1987), The End of Laissez-Faire: National Purpose and the Global Economy After the Cold War (1991), Everything For Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets (1996), and The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity (Knopf, 2007). His 2008 book, Obama's Challenge: America's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency, presented a vision of Barack Obama's opportunity to transform American politics.[5] A 2010 sequel, A Presidency in Peril, warned that Obama was too close to Wall Street. His 2013 book, Debtors’ Prison: The Politics of Austerity versus Possibility, criticized austerity economics in the U.S. and Europe.[6]

In his book, Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism (Norton, 2018), Kuttner describes the role of globalized deregulation of capitalism in undercutting economic security and feeding the rise of the far-right.

W.W. Norton and Company will publish his latest book, The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy in September 2019.[7]


Kuttner has appeared as a commentator, usually offering a liberal view, on numerous public affairs and debate programs, including National Public Radio, the PBS Newshour, CNN, and MSNBC.

Government serviceEdit

Kuttner has served in several capacities within the federal government, including as an investigator for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, as well as serving as Executive Director of former President Carter's National Commission on Neighborhoods.[citation needed]


Kuttner has been recognized by various organizations for his career as a journalist, such as by the Sidney Hillman Award, which he won twice, once for his 1997 book Everything For Sale and again in 2008 for "Obama's Challenge."

He has also been the recipient of the Paul Hoffman Award for Human Development of the United Nations, the Jack London Award for labor journalism, and the John Hancock Award "for excellence in business and financial journalism."


Kuttner's wife, Joan Fitzgerald, is Director of the Law, Policy and Society Program at Northeastern University in Boston. His first wife, the late Sharland Grace Trotter, was a psychotherapist and author. His daughter Jessica is a clinical social worker currently living in western Massachusetts, and his son Gabriel is a stage actor and director in Boston.[2]


  • Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. New York: Vintage Books, 2013.
  • Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism, W.W. Norton & Company, 2018. [1]
  • The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. W.W. Norton & Company, 2019.


  1. ^ "The Prospect's Mission". Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  2. ^ a b Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Robert Kuttner". Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  4. ^ Wasson, Erik (2011-03-07). "Liberal group pushes for $382 billion stimulus". The Hill. Retrieved 2012-05-04. A liberal think tank is calling on Congress to embrace a $382 billion stimulus plan to lower unemployment. The call from the Demos group comes as the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans argue over how greatly to cut this year's spending.
    • "Time to make the 401k mandatory?". MSN Money. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2012-05-04. For a useful description of the various ideas, see a study by Robert Hiltonsmith for Demos, a liberal think tank that espouses total overhaul.
    • Drawbough, Kevin (2011-03-23). "World swap market revamp pauses for a breather". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-05-04. If Geithner backed a wide exemption, it would be a sign that the Obama administration is 'not really messing with the current business model that caused all the trouble,' said Robert Kuttner, an economist at liberal think tank Demos.
  5. ^ "Obama's Challenge". The New Yorker. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  6. ^ Robert Kuttner (2013). Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. ISBN 9780307959805.
  7. ^ "Lit Hub's Fall 2019 Nonfiction Preview: Politics". Literary Hub. 2019-08-21. Retrieved 2019-08-25.

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