Muller, Jerry Z(ucker) 1954-
MULLER, Jerry Z(ucker) 1954-
PERSONAL: Born June 7, 1954, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; son of Henry (an entrepreneur) and Bella (a homemaker and bookkeeper; maiden name, Zucker) Muller; married Sharon Sachs (an archivist), August 8, 1976; children: Elisha, Sara, Joseph. Education: Brandeis University, B.A., 1977; Columbia University, M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1984. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Listening to jazz piano music.
ADDRESSES: Home—11610 Yeatman Terr., Silver Spring, MD 20902. Offıce—Department of History, Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20064-0001; fax: 202-319-5569. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, assistant professor, 1984-90, associate professor of history, 1990-96, professor, 1996—. Harvard University, teaching fellow, 1983. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel, visiting scholar in residence, 1993-94.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, German Studies Association, Jewish Studies Association, Ramsey Colloquium of Institute on Religion and Public Life, International Society for Intellectual History, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Presidential fellow, Columbia University, 1978-80; Whiting fellow, Columbia University, 1981-82; International Doctoral Research fellow, Social Science Research Council, 1981-82; Doctoral fellow, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 1978-81, 1982-83; Shepard B. Clough Dissertation Prize in European History, Columbia University, 1984; fellow, American Council of Learned Societies, 1985-86; Olin Foundation fellow, 1987-88, 1999; research grant, Catholic University, 1987-88, 1995; research grant, Bradley Foundation, 1990-91; fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Study Center, Bellagio, Italy, 2001; also a fellow of the ACLS.
(Editor, with Marion F. Deshmukh) Fritz Stern at 70, German Historical Institute (Washington, DC), 1997.
The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in ModernEuropean Thought, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.
Advisory editor of Social Science and Modern Society, 1997—. Serves on board of advisors of Critical Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Politics and Society, 2001—. Contributor to periodicals, including Commentary, First Things, Public Interest, and Times Literary Supplement.
SIDELIGHTS: Jerry Z. Muller, a professor of history at the Catholic University of America, once told CA: "I write books and articles that I would like to read but that are not already available. . . . I also publish essays on intellectuals and politics in modern Europe and on the politics of contemporary intellectual life. I hope to publish some of these essays as a book in the not too distant future."
Muller's first book, The Other God That Failed: Hans Freyer and the Deradicalization of German Conservatism, explores the political transformation of prototalitarian intellectuals during the National Socialist (Nazi) era. Muller focuses much of the book on Hans Freyer, a prominent German sociologist who advocated a right-wing revolution during the early 1930s. As the National Socialists rose to power, however, Freyer came to regret his political convictions. Muller commented on the book, saying, "The Other God That Failed explores three questions that interested me: Why were some of the best and brightest German intellectuals attracted to the idea of a total state before 1933? What happened to such intellectuals during the Nazi era? How did their experience of a totalitarian regime affect their thought after 1945? The phenomenon of intellectual disillusionment with totalitarianism had been explored on the political left, yet, as I tried to show, it played an important part on the political right as well, contributing to the development of a liberal democratic political culture after 1945." Richard John Neuhaus, writing in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, affirmed that The Other God That Failed is written with "engaging brilliance."
Muller is also the author of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society, in which he argues that eighteenth-century Scottish economist Smith's book The Wealth of Nations, best known for its examination of how markets work, was part of a political project of designing institutions that would make society more decent and self-controlled. Muller told CA that the idea for Adam Smith in His Time and Ours actually came to him while working on another project, The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Modern European Thought. Muller said, "In the course of working on the chapter on Adam Smith, I came to believe that no existing volumes recaptured Smith's larger purposes and his characteristic mode of thought and social analysis. [The book] presents a rather new and, I think, more accurate portrait of Smith but places his writings on the market in the larger context of his work and in the relevant historical contexts." National Review critic John Gray called Adam Smith in His Time and Ours a "profoundly erudite and timely study," and Commentary reviewer George Russell found the book "thoughtful and accessible" and noted that it holds "plenty . . . for modern policy wonks to consider."
Muller's next work, Conservatism: An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present, is, according to the author, "a collection of writings on social and political policy by conservative analysts from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, which I hope conveys some of the recurrent characteristics of conservative thought." According to an Ethics contributor, "The editor makes it clear that the central aim of conservatism is to promote human well-being within particular societies; that doing so depends on conserving institutions and customs that have endured in a society; and that conservatism may take different forms in different contexts because the prevailing conditions, institutions, and customs are different." Library Journal's Stephen Kent Shaw commented, "Muller argues persuasively that conservative social and political thought emerges essentially as a response to challenges to existing institutions and attempts, therefore, to refute such challenges." Daniel J. Mahoney of First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life explained, "Muller locates conservatism in an approach that he calls 'historical utilitarianism.' It emphasizes the wisdom of long-established historical practices, the latent function served by seemingly obsolete institutions and traditions, the indispensable role of custom and habit as 'second nature,' and the unintended consequences that stem from efforts to radically transform the social order." Mahoney dubbed Conservatism "a first-rate anthology of conservative thought," and Shaw felt the book was "impressive" and "long overdue." Wilson Quarterly's Charles R. Kesler declared, "Muller's book is a bracing commentary on the present-day condition of American conservatism, and a welcome invitation to rethink what conservatives ought to be conserving."
Muller told CA: "A number of books and essays of the late 1970s and early 1980s led me to examine more carefully the history of the debate on the cultural ramifications of economic developments. The result of this work is The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Modern European Thought." The book, according to Muller, explores the ways in which a number of European intellectuals "thought of the cultural, moral, and political ramifications of the market economy. Each chapter puts the arguments of a prominent or representative thinker in the larger context of his thought and of the political, economic, and cultural contexts in which he was writing." Among the great thinkers Muller examines in The Mind and the Market are Voltaire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, G. W. F. Hegel, Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Marx, Matthew Arnold, Georg Lukacs, Hans Preyer, and Herbert Marcuse. Booklist's David Siegfried noted, "This work is an in-depth study of the origins of thought about markets and their effects on people, when thinking men easily questioned whether capitalism is good for people. It is a wonderful contrast to today's blind worship of materialism and economic progress." As Fred Stahl explained in Manufacturing and Technology News, "Capitalism is a complex tapestry of economic arrangements, governmental obligations, cultural traditions, personal behavioral norms, concepts for production enterprises, methods of managements, public acceptance of the concept of return on investment, preservation of competition, religious and ethnic tolerance, and ideas of personal property." "There is no other work quite like it," remarked Alan Kahan of History: Review of New Books. "Its chief merit is in the ideas and authors it brings together for critical comparison and in the stimulation those ideas may provide for further reflection on what is perhaps the most important subject of our times."
Reviews of The Mind and the Market were generally positive. While a Publishers Weekly critic felt that some of Muller's conclusions were "too restrained," overall the reviewer noted, "This study illuminates the long lineage of engagement with social consequences of capitalism." David Harsanyi of the World and I said the book was "important and informative," and National Review's Arthur Herman called it "brilliant and engaging." Sheri Berman of Foreign Affairs concluded, "Muller has written a lively and accessible survey of what dozens of major European thinkers have thought about capitalism." Brian J. Fox of the Review of Metaphysics felt that Muller "dedicates himself to the project of laying out the positives and negatives of the market as reflected upon by Europe's best minds over the last few centuries and allowing his audience to come to their own conclusions." Stahl surmised, "The Mind and the Market should be read by every world citizen to understand how we got the flow of wealth we enjoy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 1994, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society, p. 868.
Booklist, September 15, 2002, David Siegfried, review of The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Modern European Thought, p. 186.
Books & Culture, January, 1998, review of Conservatism: An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present, p. 45.
Challenge, September-October, 1996, M. E. Sharpe, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours, p. 62.
Commentary, May, 1993, pp. 60, 62.
Ethics, April, 1994, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours, p. 669; April, 2000, review of Conservatism, p. 657.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion andPublic Life, February, 1998, Daniel J. Mahoney, review of Conservatism, p. 55.
Foreign Affairs, July-August, 2003, Sheri Berman, "We Didn't Start the Fire: Capitalism and Its Critics, Then and Now," review of The Mind and the Market, p. 176.
History: Review of New Books, winter, 2004, Alan Kahan, review of The Mind and the Market, p. 66.
Journal of Economic Literature, June, 1994, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours, p. 683.
Journal of Modern History, December, 1995, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours, p. 921.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of TheMind and the Market, pp. 1286-87.
Library Journal, April 15, 1997, Stephen Kent Shaw, review of Conservatism, p. 100.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 18, 1988, pp. 3, 11.
Manufacturing and Technology News, August 4, 2003, Fred Stahl, "Why Are Some Cultures Wealthy and Others Not?," review of The Mind and the Market, p. 10.
Modern Age, fall, 1998, review of Conservatism, p. 410.
National Review, May 24, 1993, pp. 56-58; May 5, 2003, Arthur Herman, "Free Men, Free Markets," review of The Mind and the Market, p. NA.
New Republic, June 7, 1999, review of Conservatism, p. 34.
Philosophy in Review, December, 1997, review of Conservatism, p. 432.
Publishers Weekly, April 28, 1997, review of Conservatism, p. 67; September 30, 2002, review of The Mind and the Market, p. 58.
Quadrant, July-August, 2003, Andrew Norton, "Capitalism and Its Critics," review of The Mind and the Market, p. 114.
Review of Metaphysics, June, 1998, Mark Wegierski, review of Conservatism, p. 948; December, 2003, Brian J. Fox, review of The Mind and the Market, p. 425.
Review of Politics, winter, 1994, review of Adam Smith in His Time and Ours, p. 183.
Times Literary Supplement, March 27, 1998, review of Conservatism, p. 14.
University Bookman, summer, 1997, review of Conservatism, p. 10.
Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 1998, review of Conservatism, p. 26.
Wilson Quarterly, spring, 1997, Charles R. Kesler, review of Conservatism, p. 103.
World and I, April, 2003, David Harsanyi, "The Idea of Capitalism: A Historian Helps Clarify the Great Historical European Debate on Market Capitalism," review of The Mind and the Market, p. 220.
Catholic University of America, Department of History Web site, http://www.history.cua.edu/faculty/Muller/ (June 28, 2004), "Jerry Z. Muller."
Princeton University Press Web site,http://pup.princeton.edu/ (January 15, 2003), descriptions of Conservatism and Adam Smith in His Time and Ours.
Random House of Canada Web site,http://www.randomhouse.ca/ (June 28, 2004), description of The Mind and the Market.*