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Luncheon Seminar Explores Reducing Inequality

The Schemel Forum’s spring World Affairs Luncheon Seminars began on Feb. 9 with “The Citizen’s Share,” presented by Joseph Blasi, Ed.D.
February 12, 2018
By: Breanna Forgione ’18, student correspondent

“Broad-based property ownership was necessary for a democratic republic to exist and sustain itself and not to fall apart,” said Joseph R. Blasi, Ed.D., the J. Robert Beyster Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, at Schemel Forum World Affairs Luncheon held recently at The University of Scranton.

A former top policy advisor on employee share ownership and profit sharing to the Clinton presidential campaign, Dr. Blasi explored the concept of economic inequality in his lecture titled “The Citizen’s Share: Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century.”

“Dr. Blasi has built his stellar career on idealism. I would say a pragmatic idealism. His look to employee ownership is an important approach to arriving at economic fairness. He is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the subject of how workers and companies can share profits and ownership to strengthen the middle class. He has advised leaders in many parts of the world on that subject, working with both Republicans and Democrats all over the country,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum.

Dr. Blasi provided brief background of his book, “The Citizen's Share: Putting Ownership Back Into Democracy,” published in 2013. He discussed the American history behind owning shares and reviewed companies that have gone global within the past few decades.

“You can create as many corporations as you want and as many shares as you want. Profit sharing is the way of the modern world. A number of American entrepreneurs have gone global, very quickly, and have started thinking of this idea of broad-based property ownership. One of the first was the Pillsbury family,” said Dr. Blasi.

The author also discussed the importance of what his ideals mean for each individual, as well as on a larger scale, specifically in Lackawanna County.

 “The people who are able to have economic liberty now are people who own capital. They own stock, bonds and real estate, and they live off of the income from that capital. These are the members of the population that have economic liberty,” said Dr. Blasi. “The rest of us are not in that situation. And this impacts you because today 77 percent of all wealth and property in the hands of the richest 10 percent.”

Dr. Blasi teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on corporate governance at Rutgers University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has written a total of 13 books.

The World Affairs Luncheon Seminar series is sponsored by Munley Law.

For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers, Schemel Forum director, at 570-941-4089 or sondra.myers@scranton.edu.

Breanna Forgione ’18, Levittown, is a strategic communication major at The University of Scranton.
Breanna Forgione ’18, Levittown, is a strategic communication major at The University of Scranton.
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