Who Is Jim

luke2I’m Jim Luke and this is my teaching website.  It’s where I keep stuff related to my teaching:  class materials, syllabii, pages of links, my teaching portfolio, my academic vitae, and presentations on teaching I’ve made. I also have a blog  on economic issues, but that’s at econproph.com.   I also have a business/technology professional website at plansolutions.com and I’m involved in starting a non-profit organization called Malartu Inc.  Malartu is attempting to improve teaching effectiveness and efficiency by helping build a tools and networks that support professors.  For more information on Malartu, see their website at Malartu.org org read this interview from Converge magazine.

My Educational Background:

wrightstateAfter taking some time off after high school (and deciding I didn’t really want to work in a warehouse my whole life), I attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio for my undergraduate and master’s degrees.  I attained:

  • B.S. Business Finance (1977)
  • B.A. Communication (1977)
  • MBA with major in Marketing (1982)
  • M.S. Social and Applied Economics (1989)

After I moved to Michigan in 1985, I started at Wayne State University in 1987 and started working towards my Ph.D. in Economics.  I completed all the course work towards a Ph.D. except for dissertation when my studies got interrupted in the early 1990’s.  My fields of specialization in economics are: the history of economic thought, economic history, labor/human resource economics, industrial organization, and the economics of intellectual property & innovation.

My Work Background

I’ve had a diverse work career.  Academically, I’ve taught full-time for over 12 years.  Five years were at Madonna University in Livonia, MI in the late 1980’s-to early 1990’s.   I  took a full-time appointment as professor of economics at Lansing Community College in 2002, where I’ve taught ever since.  In addition to full-time teaching, I’ve taught as an adjunct since 1984 at schools including Monterey Peninsula College (California), Henry Ford Community College, and Walsh College.

I’ve also had extensive corporate experience.  I have worked for the NCR Corp and the Mead Corp.  in Dayton, Ohio as both a software/process analyst and as the director of business & market planning.  I also started and operated my own business planning consulting firm called Planning Solutions Group.  In 16 years of business, Planning Solutions developed business plans, market analyses, technology plans, and strategy for clients which included Mead, Kraft, Georgia-Pacific, Avenor (Canada), A.O.Smith, and Covisint.  All of these kinds are work are, in fact, nothing more than applied micro-economic analyses.

From 1996-2000, Planning Solutions was involved in attempting to start and develop an Internet-based industrial  marketplace start-up.   We ultimately didn’t succeed, but we did develop some new, innovative technology, including a U.S. Patent (US Patent #6131087)  It may not have succeeded as a business, but I learned a lot about investment banking, venture capital, and technology in the process.

I’m now applying what I learned in all those years doing strategic and technology planning to higher education.  In addition to my teaching, I’m working with Lansing Community College to develop a new strategic plan/planning process and I’m developing new technology through the start-up non-profit I mentioned earlier, Malartu Inc.

My Personal Life & Interests

I live with my wife in Dearborn, Michigan.   (it makes for a long commute to Lansing, but thanks to the technology of teaching online, I don’t need to do it every day).  My son attends the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.  I have a pretty good sense of humor, although it tends toward the bizarre, absurd, and satiric.

Between teaching and research, there’s not much time for recreation and hobbies, but I do the best I can.  The types of things that I’m interested in include

  • Open-source & free software
    (Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice, etc) – I’m a bit of evangelist for free software!  I’m even thinking of starting an open-source software project of my own targeting productivity software for professors (there isn’t much right now).
  • New technologies for Teaching and the Web.
  • Cooking, Grilling, and Barbecue
  • Computers – amateur geek that likes to build his own machines (my house has seven machines all connected in a LAN)
  • Cleveland Browns football – I grew up in Ohio in 60’s!
  • Detroit Red Wings and Tigers – hey, I’ve lived in Detroit since 1985!
  • Economic history – oh heck, history of just about any type!
  • Music – mostly rock stuff from 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  But I like some newer stuff, too.  A few rap/hip-hop artists and some country, appeal too.  IMHO, The Who, Dire Straits, and Pink Floyd are the greatest
    bands ever.  (I know, that makes me ancient to most of you, but we used to listen to them on stone, hand-crank phonographs)   I don’t really buy much new music because I can’t stand the price-fixing of the Hollywood studios cartel.  MP3 & Ogg are important formats for me.
  • Auto Racing – I dabbled a bit in some road-racing when I was much, much younger (and in much better shape!).  I loved every second of it, but alas race cars run on cubic dollars and I ran out.  I still love driving though.  And they’ll get my stick-shift manual transmission away from me when they pry my cold dead fingers from it.
  • Natural health remedies such as vitamins & supplements
  • Walking  and Bicycling and Rowing – Recently developed interest, largely as a result of needing to get back in shape.

5 Comments

  1. krystel King
    August 30, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

    Jim,

    wow didn’t know econ could be so interesting cudos to making it interesting I wont to come back to class next week most teacher make you want to run away.

    Reply

  2. Steve O'Connor
    June 25, 2013 @ 12:30 am

    Jim, I absolutely love your comments on Keynesian liquidity trap and the current economy ( http://econproph.com/2011/09/21/ ) and quoted from it on my FB page a while back. Here is a letter I wrote to our local paper inspired in part by your blog:

    In the November 13th News-Leader a letter to the editor from a conservative reader wrote an insulting rant that essentially stated that voters should submit to a brain CAT scan before being allowed to vote. I am a social conservative/economic liberal who votes independent and am never thrilled with the two party monopoly of our nation, but I find this attitude of the extreme right wing just as objectionable as the extreme left wing. The object of this barb was liberals who voted for Obama and his economic plan. I might point out to Ms. Hall that in 2003 a survey of 1,000 economists from the American Economists Association found that by a ratio of 2.5 to 1 those economists voted overwhelmingly Democratic rather than Republican. Perhaps Ms. Hall should stop worrying about voter IQ’s and be content that newspapers don’t require brain CAT scans before submitting letters to the editor.

    This kind of demeaning political discourse is par for the course with right wing extremists such as Mr. Ross Pobanz who thinks that endless regurgitation of “collectivism” and “socialism” in his Rochelle News-Leader columns is a proper substitute for informed economic discussion. His censored view of economic history only includes what is convenient for his right wing dogma. He now states that Kennedy tax cuts created jobs is now a universal law of economics that holds true for all time and all circumstance. I will break from Mr. Pobanz’s tradition of comic book economics and explore the more complex world of historical facts.

    Corporate America has discovered overseas tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and have shipped jobs to China, Vietnam, India and other slave-wage nations to avoid high U.S. labor costs made possible by the Republican free trade agenda to remove taxes (tariffs) off of imports and put that tax on the American worker, who must pay for the most expensive globocop military ever seen in human history. U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan in his book, “Take This Job and Ship It” described what happened next: “In 2005, the Republican-controlled Congress decided to sweeten the deal for these corporate job exporters. Congress passed a special law to lower the tax rate to 5 ¼ percent for those corporations that wanted to bring their earnings home….The Tax Holiday provision was slipped into a piece of legislation called the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Strength) Act….It now appears that corporations brought home nearly $350 billion that they stashed away overseas in order to take advantage of the new 5 ¼ percent tax rate. That is a big fat 104-billion dollar tax break for them….

    According to The New York Times, Hewlett-Packard, which had accumulated $14 billion in foreign profits and lobbied hard for the tax break, announced on January 10, 2005, that it would continue to reduce its U.S. workforce. In July, the California company announced plans to modify its pension benefits and eliminate 14,500 jobs, or nearly 10 percent of its (global) workforce.

    The Oracle Corporation, a leading technology company, had nearly $3 billion in foreign profits that could be brought back to the United States under the special tax rate. According to The New York Times, analysts expected Oracle to use that money to help pay off its recent takeover of PeopleSoft. In the meantime, the company plans to reduce its combined workforce by some five thousand or more people. . . .

    In January 2006, the Ford Motor Company announced that it was laying off thirty thousand workers and closing fourteen manufacturing plants. According to The Washington Post, the Ford news release announcing the layoffs also said on page 2 that “repatriation of foreign earnings pursuant to the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 resulted in a permanent tax savings of about $250 million”.

    The problem with Mr. Pobanz and other right-wing dogmatists is ignorance. Corporations won’t create jobs just because they have more money, especially during recessions/depressions. In fact they will do the opposite – they will hoard their profits. Corporations now have record cash reserves of over $2 trillion producing what economists call a liquidity trap. They will create more jobs when more demand exists for their products. More demand for their products won’t happen when they are firing their employees and cutting their pay/benefits. Unemployed/underemployed laborers are unemployed/underemployed consumers. Until little green men from Mars come to earth and start buying up our goods and services, the global producer is the global consumer and we must have jobs and sufficient income to consume our own output. But this is pretty difficult when CEO’s and stock owners are busy concentrating profits into their own pockets and holding on to them. I suggest that Ms. Hall and Mr. Pobanz research “Say’s Law“ which is taught in most introductory macroeconomics textbooks. But judging by Ms. Hall’s and Mr. Pobanz’s rants, they have never heard of “Say’s Law” nor ever seen the inside of a macroeconomics textbook. I just hope that they can discover where their local library is. Judging by their writings, they are in dire need of checking out their first book on the subject.

    Steve O’Connor
    128 south 10th street
    Rochelle

    Reply

    • Steve O'Connor
      June 25, 2013 @ 12:40 am

      “This analysis supplies us with an explanation of the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty…….

      Moreover the richer the community, the wider will tend to be the gap between its actual and its potential production; and therefore the more obvious and outrageous the defects of the economic system. For a poor community will be prone to consume by far the greater part of its output, so that a very modest measure of investment will be sufficient to provide full employment; whereas a wealthy community will have to discover much ampler opportunities for investment if the saving propensities of its wealthier members are to be compatible with the employment of its poorer members. If in a potentially wealthy community the inducement to invest is weak, then, in spite of its potential wealth, the working of the principle of effective demand will compel it to reduce its actual output, until, in spite of its potential wealth, it has become so poor that its consumption is sufficiently diminished to the weakness of the inducement to invest.”

      John Maynard Keynes
      The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, 1936
      p. 30-31

      Reply

      • Steve O'Connor
        June 25, 2013 @ 12:54 am

        “From 1929 to 1933, while consumption fell by 41 percent, investment fell by 91 percent, as we can see in figure 1. At the bottom of the Great Depression in 1933, it was estimated that one-third of total unemployment was directly associated with the shrinkage in the capital goods industry.”

        Robert L. Heilbroner, James K. Galbraith
        The Economic Problem, Ninth Edition, 1990
        p. 263

        Reply

  3. Steve O'Connor
    June 25, 2013 @ 12:56 am

    “From 1933 on, the American economy gradually – very gradually – recovered. Unemployment, which had reached a peak of 25 percent of the civilian labor force in 1933, was down to a towering 17 percent in 1936. It was only an appalling 14.3 percent the following year. In 1936, production – Gross National Product in real terms – reached the 1929 level for the first time in the depression years. The sound men in the Roosevelt Administration, those of accredited financial acumen, said it was now time to assert the ancient principles and truths.

    Conservative finance should again be the order of the day. Accordingly, the Federal Reserve raised bank reserve requirements, tightened up on bank lending and allowed interest rates to rise. Steps were taken to reduce the federal deficit – from $4.4 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1936, to $2.8 billion the following year and to $1.2 billion in fiscal 1938.

    It was a conservative and anti-Keynesian triumph, and would have been so celebrated except that the economy went into another ghastly slump. Within the depression there was now a recession – a new term.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith
    A Life in Our Times, 1981
    p. 93-94

    Unemployment jumped from 14.3% in 1937 to 19.0% in 1938.

    Reply

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