Steve Pearlstein

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Steven Pearlstein takes on the idea of "maximizing shareholder value." Thursday 02/20/2014 - Charlie Rose Show


Areas of Specialty: Economic principles, political economy, economic policy, morality of modern capitalism.

Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business and economics columnist for the Washington Post, joined the Mason faculty as Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs in the fall of 2011.  At Mason, he has focused on teaching economic principles to non-economic majors and helping to launch the interdisciplinary Politics, Philosophy and Economics concentration for majors in those departments. He also offers seminars on narrative journalism, politics, and wealth and poverty in the Honors College.


Webpage: Schar page  Robinson page
Social Media: LinkedIn Twitter 

Phone:   (703) 993-2165
Address: East Building 207 C, MSN: 1D6
Fairfax, Virginia 22033


From Schar page

Professor Pearlstein’s route to university teaching has been an unconventional one.  After several years as a reporter for small newspapers in New Hampshire, he moved to Washington to serve as administrative assistant to members of the House and Senate. He was a TV reporter for public television in Boston, senior editor at Inc. magazine, and founding editor and publisher of The Boston Observer, a monthly political magazine. He returned to Washington in 1988 as deputy business editor and, over the next two decades, also served as the Post’s defense industry reporter, economics writer and Canadian correspondent. He became an opinion columnist in 2003, with a wide-ranging interest in business and economic topics of local, national and international interest.

Professor Pearlstein was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008 for columns the previous year anticipating and explaining the recent financial crisis and global economic downturn. In 2011 he won the Gerald R. Loeb Award for lifetime achievement in business and financial journalism. His work has also been cited by the Society of Business Editors and Writers. He has appeared frequently as a commentator on national television and radio programs. He continues to write a regular column for the Post’s Sunday Business section, along with book reviews..

Professor Pearlstein grew up in Brookline, Mass. and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. in 1973 with a B.A. in American Studies.  He is a former moderator of West Newbury, Mass. and a director of the Washington Tennis and Educational Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Wendy Gray.  He has two grown children, Laura and Eli.


Can American Capitalism Survive

St. Martin’s Press | Sept 9, 2018 |  ISBN: 9781250185983
From St. Martin’s Press Page

If anyone can save capitalism from the capitalists, it’s Steven Pearlstein. This lucid, brilliant book refuses to abandon capitalism to those who believe morality and justice irrelevant to an economic system.” —Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at-large, Vox

Pulitzer Prize-winning economics journalist Steven Pearlstein argues that our thirty year experiment in unfettered markets has undermined core values required to make capitalism and democracy work.

Thirty years ago, “greed is good” and “maximizing shareholder value” became the new mantras woven into the fabric of our business culture, economy, and politics. Although, around the world, free market capitalism has lifted more than a billion people from poverty, in the United States most of the benefits of economic growth have been captured by the richest 10%, along with providing justification for squeezing workers, cheating customers, avoiding taxes, and leaving communities in the lurch. As a result, Americans are losing faith that a free market economy is the best system.

In Can American Capitalism Survive?, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steven Pearlstein chronicles our descent and challenges the theories being taught in business schools and exercised in boardrooms around the country. We’re missing a key tenet of Adam Smith’s wealth of nations: without trust and social capital, democratic capitalism cannot survive. Further, equality of incomes and opportunity need not come at the expense of economic growth.

Pearlstein lays out bold steps we can take as a country: a guaranteed minimum income paired with universal national service, tax incentives for companies to share profits with workers, ending class segregation in public education, and restoring competition to markets. He provides a path forward that will create the shared prosperity that will sustain capitalism over the long term.


Washington Post Articles


Morality and Capitalism with Professor Steven Pearlstein 

Legatum Institute | June 25, 2013
As part of the Legatum Institute’s ‘Morality and Capitalism’ series, George Mason University professor, Steven Pearlstein, shared his views on why we may need to re-examine the concept of capitalism and markets. Earlier this year, Professor Pearlstein stirred debate and discussion with a Washington Post commentary piece entitled “Is Capitalism Moral?”. While establishing that socialism and communism have been thoroughly discredited since the Cold War, he indicated that stagnant incomes, growing economic inequality, and the recent financial crisis is beginning to force us all to re-examine the functioning of capitalism and markets.

Vision Series: Steven Pearlstein – “Economics for Everyman”

GMU Television | Oct. 4, 2012
The Washington Post’s Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Steven Pearlstein has been teaching economics to his readers for two decades, explaining the ins and outs of health care reform, analyzing the causes of the latest global financial crisis or anticipating the challenges to the Washington area economy. Now he’s trying his hand at teaching the same economic principles, and providing the same common sense insights, to
 the undergraduates at George Mason University. So how is it going?


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