Barkin, Solomon

Economics; Labor Center, 1968-1978

b. 1907

d. March 29, 2000, Leverett, Mass.


Solomon Barkin was born in New York City in 1907. He received his bachelor's degree from the College of the City of New York (CCNY) in 1928, and went on to receive his master's degree in economics from Columbia University the following year. He was an instructor at CCNY from 1928 to 1931, but made his career in labor and social leadership. As Director of Research for the Textile Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC) and its successor, the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), from 1937-1963, he played an important role during the Depression years as the Assistant Director of Research for the New York State Commission on Old Age Security and on the Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration.

As an organizer and advocate for textile workers, Barkin was a fierce opponent of wage cutting, he documented the impact of minimum wage legislation, and devised ways to help workers adjust to technological change. He was a frequent adjunct instructor at CCNY, Columbia, and the New School for Social Research. He left the TWUA in 1963 to become deputy to the director and head of the Social Affairs Division, Manpower and Social Affairs Directorate, of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Paris. He returned to the United States in 1968, to join the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst as Professor of Economics and Research Associate of the Labor Center. He retired in 1978.

An exceptionally prolific writer, Barkin published over 800 articles and wrote or edited 20 books. He was recognized by his peers with numerous awards across his career, including a lifetime achievement award from the Journal of Political Economy and a citation for contributions to economic education from the Joint Council for Economic Education.

Resources

  • See Solomon Barkin Papers, University Archives (FS 100)
  • Stabile, Donald, Activist Unionism: The Institutional Economics of Solomon Barkin. M.E. Sharpe, 1993.
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