William Greider

  • Served as National Affairs correspondent for "The Nation"
  • Was national affairs editor for "Rolling Stone" magazine
  • Was a national correspondent, columnist, and editor for "The Washington Post"
  • Authored numerous anti-capitalist screeds
  • Died on December 25, 2019

Born in Cincinnati on August 6, 1936, William Greider was a longtime reporter for newspapers, magazines, and television. He served as the national affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine. He had previously spent 17 years as the national affairs editor for Rolling Stone magazine, and fifteen years as a national correspondent, columnist, and editor for the Washington Post. Greider was raised in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from Princeton University in 1958.

Greider was the author of several popular books, including One World, Ready or Not (an anti-globalization screed); Secrets of the Temple (a book which Greider described as “the definitive popular study of America’s central bank”); Who Will Tell The People (a radical examination of American politics); and The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy (a standard leftist attack on capitalism).

Though Greider did not expressly identify himself as a socialist, his writings leave no other conclusion. He blamed capitalism for virtually every conceivable social, economic, and environmental ill. He argued that capitalism: has no soul; does not care about people’s well-being; does not care for tradition, culture, or family; is nihilistic; “encourages human pathologies”; rewards greed and criminal behavior; creates enormous inequalities; pillages the environment; corrupts political life by guaranteeing that the government is ruled by elite special interests; and produces tyrannical workplaces where people “have little or no capacity to appeal or resist.”

Greider’s prescriptions for reform were socialist in nature. To clean up the environment, he urged the abolition of the SUV and a return to the ethics of 17th century North American Indians – the allegedly unspoiled people who took from the earth only what they needed and had none of the modern desire for private property. Greider also advocated a change in educational curricula so as to give children more training in Marxist thought.

His most fundamental recommendation is to revolutionize the economy by placing workers in control of the means of production. Individually and collectively, Greider writes, workers must “own the place where they work.” At each factory and corporation, “they [would] accept responsibility, collectively, for the well-being of the firm. They [would] authorize the managers who direct things” and all would “participate in the rule making and other important policy decisions.” Over time, Geider wants worker-run corporations to become “learning collectivities” that would be in “harmony with nature,” support “a culture that encourages altruism,” and guarantee the “unbounded horizons for every individual within it.” He seems oblivious to the lessons provided by Twentieth Century experiments in socialist solutions based on similar ideas.

He passed away on December 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.