Jon D. Wisman, PhD

Department of Economics
American University
Washington, DC 20016


Dr. Wisman is Professor of Economics at American University in Washington, DC. where he teaches graduate courses in the history of economic thought and economic methodology and undergraduate courses in macroeconomics, European economic history, American economic history, economic development, and labor economics. He has twice been selected by American University as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year. He has published articles and chapters in a wide variety of journals and books, and edited Worker Empowerment: The Struggle for Workplace Democracy. His most recent published work has addressed the potential for employer of the last resort programs and the role of inequality in generating economic crises and environmental devastation. Among his current projects is a book tentatively titled: We All Must Work: Creative Destruction and the Pursuit of Happiness. During 2002, he served as President of the Association for Social Economics.

Research Interest

His research interests include: Methodology, History of Economic Thought, General Economic History, Workplace Democracy.

Scientific Activities


• Simon Naidel Prize (for best performance on theory comprehensive examinations for the academic year 1970-1971)
• Twice nominated by the Department of Economics for the Deans special award for service to American University in program development: 1975, 1977
• Recipient of The Helen Potter Award in Social Economics, granted by The Association for Social Economics for the best article appearing in the Review of Social Economy for the year 1978
• Recipient of American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching for 1979-1980
• Selected by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to receive the 1980 College of Arts and Science Award for Outstanding Teaching
• Selected as Professor of the Year for 1982-83 by Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
• Winner of the $10,000 Speiser Essay Contest (Summer 1986). Essay title: “Economic Reform for Humanitys Greatest Struggle”
• Invited by the Faculty Senate to present a lecture, “An Economic Response to the Threat of Nuclear War,” in the Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series at American University, March 11, 1987
• Chosen by the student yearbook (1988-1989) as teaching the course at American University in which the students learned most
• Nominated for the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching – General Education, 1993-1994
• Recipient of American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching for 1996-1997
• Recipient of the Literati Clubs “Highly Commended Award” for “The Ignored Issue of Workplace Democracy in Political Discourse,” International Journal of Social Economics, 24 (12), 1997, 1388-1403)
• Elected President of the Association for Social Economics, January 2002
• Recipient of the Association for Social Economics Ludwig Mai Service Award, January 2007.
• Recipient of the Association for Social Economics Thomas F. Divine Award for important life-long contributions to social economics, January 2009


Articles in Professional Journals

1. Wisman JD. The Naturalistic Turn of Orthodox Economics: A Study in Methodological Misunderstanding. Review of Social Economy. 1978; 263-284. doi: 10.1080/00346767800000017
2. Wisman JD. Toward a Humanist Reconstruction of Economic Science. Journal of Economic Issues. 1979; 19-48.
3. Wisman JD. Legitimation, Ideology-Critique, and Economics. Social Research. 1979; 291-320.
4. Eleştirelideolojiveiktisat M. IktisatRisaleleri. Istanbul: IzYayincilik. 1997; 207-240 .
5. Wisman JD. The Sociology of Knowledge as a Tool for Investigating the History of Economic Thought. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 1979; 83-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.1980.tb01263.x
6. Wisman JD. Rereading Marx for the Non-Marxist Economist: On the Scope and Method of Scientific Economics. Review of Social Economy. 1979; 371-387.
7. Wisman JD. Response to Brennans Comments. Journal of Economic Issues. 1980; 14(3): 775-780.
8. Wisman JD. Values and Modes of Rationality in Economic Science. International Journal of Social Economics. 1980; 7(3): 137-148.
9. Wisman JD. From Capital-Labor Strife to Community. Review of Social Economy. 1984; 62(3): 369-375.
10. Wisman JD. The Methodology of W. Arthur Lewis Development Economics: Economics as Pedagogy. World Development. 1986; 14(2): 165-180.
11. Wisman JD. The Renaissance of Natural Law Cosmology: Free Markets and Fettered Minds. International Journal of Social Economics. 1986; 13(10): 26-37. doi:
12. Wisman JD. Keynesian Economics and Economists Views of the State. Forum for Social Economics. 1986; 16(1): 1-15. doi: 10.1007/BF02839019
13. Wisman JD. Human Interests, Modes of Rationality and The Social Foundations of Economic Science. A special issue of International Journal of Social Economics. 1987; 14(7,8,9): 8-98.
14. Wisman JD. An Economic Response to the Threat of Nuclear War. Forum for Social Economics. 1987; 17(1): 43-58. doi: 10.1007/BF02958665
15. Wisman JD. The Dominance of Consensual over Technical Rationality in Confucius Socio-economic Thought. International Journal of Social Economics. 1988; 15(1): 58-67. doi:
16. Wisman JD. Competition, Technology, Freedom, and The Future of the Workplace. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. 1987; 7: 650-654.
17. Wisman JD, Willoughby J, Sawers L. The Search for Grand Theory in Economic History: Norths Challenge to Marx. Social Research. 1988; 55(4): 747-773.
18. Wisman JD. Straightening Out the Backward-bending Supply Curve of Labor: From Overt to Covert Compulsion and Beyond, in Review of Political Economy. Political Economy. 1989; 1(1): 94-112. doi: 10.1080/09538258900000006
19. Wisman JD. Economic Knowledge, Evolutionary Epistemology, and Human Interests. Journal of Economic Issues. 1989; 23(2): 647-656.
20. Wisman JD. The Use of Mathematics in Economics. 1990: 161-168.
21. Wisman JD. Beyond Foundationalism and Relativism: What Hope for Sciences of Society?. Humanomics. 1991; 6(2): 4-19. doi:
22. Wisman JD. The Methodology of Institutionalism Revisited. Journal of Economic Issues. 1991; 25(3): 709-737.
23. Wisman JD. Economic Sciences Bondage to the Material Progress Vision. Humanomics. 1992; 8(2): 5-29. doi:
24. Wisman JD. Should Formerly Socialist Economies Attempt to Leapfrog Classical Capitalism. International Journal of Social Economics. 1993; 20(2): 12-26. doi:
25. Wisman JD, Scaraboto D. Exploring the Frustrated Quest for Greater Equality in the US. Humanomics. 1994: 122-145. doi:
26. Wisman JD. Economic Dynamism and the Challenge to Community. Humanomics. 1996; 12 (4): 24-48.
27. Wisman JD. The Ignored Issue of Workplace Democracy in Political Discourse. International Journal of Social Economics. 1997; 24(12): 1388-1403. Empowerment in Organizations (An electronic journal). 1998; 6(7).
28. Wisman JD, John Paul II. Christianity, and the Future of Work. International Journal of Social Economics. 1998; 25(11/12): 1658-1671.
29. Wisman JD, Smith JF. American Institutionalism and Technological Change. Journal of Economic Issues. 1999; 23(4): 887-902.
30. Wisman JD. Competition, Cooperation, and the Future of the Workplace. Peace Review. 2000; 12(2): 197-203. doi: 10.1080/10402650050057834
31. Wisman JD. Creative Destruction and Labors Options. Forum for Social Economics. 2001; 30(2): 51-76.
32. Wisman JD. The Scope and Promising Future of Social Economics. Review of Social Economy. 2003; 511(4): 1-21. Presidential Address to the Association for Social Economics. doi: 10.1080/0034676032000160886
33. Wisman JD. Did US Labors Post-World War II Successes Lead to its Subsequent Woes?. International Journal of Social Economics. 2005; 32(10): 899-915.
34. Wisman JD, Grote K. State Lotteries: Using State Power to Fleece the Poor. Journal of Economic Issues. 2006; 150(4): 955-966.
35. Wisman JD. Household Saving, Class Identity, and Conspicuous Consumption. Journal of Economic Issues. 2009; 43(1): 89-114. doi: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624430105
36. Wisman JD. The Moral Imperative and Social Rationality of Government-Guaranteed Employment and Reskilling. Review of Social Economy. 2010; 68(1): 35-67. doi: 10.1080/00346760902968405
37. Wisman JD, Capehart KW. Creative Destruction, Economic Insecurity, Stress, and Epidemic Obesity. American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 2010; 69(3): 963-982 . doi: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.2010.00728.x
38. Baker B. Increasing Inequality, Inadequate Demand, Status Insecurity, Ideology, and the Financial Crises of 2008, MRZine. Electronic project of Monthly Review Press. 2011; 50.
39. Wisman JD, Smith JF. Legitimating Inequality: Fooling Most of the People All of the Time. American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 2011; 70(4): 974-1013.
40. Wisman JD. Inequality, Social Respectability, Political Power, and Environmental Devastation. Journal of Economic Issues. 2011; 45(4): 877-900.
41. Wisman JD. The Growth Trap, Ecological Devastation, and the Promise of Guaranteed Employment, Challenge. 2013; 56(2): 53-78.
42. Wisman JD. Wage Stagnation, Rising Inequality, and the Financial Crisis of 2008. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 2013; 37(4): 921-945.
43. Wisman JD, Davis ME. Degraded Work, Declining Community, Rising Inequality, and the Transformation of the Protestant Ethic in America: 1870-1930. American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 2013; 72(5): 1075-1104. doi: 10.1111/ajes.12038
44. Wisman JD. Why Marx Still Matters. International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education. 2013; 4(3): 229-242.
45. Wisman JD. Government is Whose Problem?. Journal of Economic Issues.2013; 47(4): 911-937.
46. Wisman JD. Foreign Threats, Political Legitimacy, and Democratic Social Institutions. Humanomics. 2014; 30(1): 22-40.
47. Wisman JD. The Financial Crisis of 1929. Reexamined: The Role of Soaring Inequality. Review of Political Economy. 2014; 26(3): 372-391. doi: 10.1080/09538259.2014.915153
48. Wisman JD, Pacitti A. Ending the Unemployment Crisis with Guaranteed Employment and Retraining. Journal of Economic Issues. 2014; 48(3): 679-705. doi: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624480305