PBS Frontline: The Warning (the story of the financial crisis and the woman who almost stopped it from happening)

"Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is theory which decides what can be observed."
Albert Einstein

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Satya J. Gabriel

Professor of Economics
Mount Holyoke College
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china essays
Whether the living river
Began in bog or lake,
The world is what was given,
The world is what we make.
And we only can discover
Life in the life we make.
   from London Rain
     by Louis MacNeice

"Scientists cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature because in the last analysis we are part of the mystery we are trying to solve."
Max Planck

"The role of academics is to create, collect, record,
disseminate, modify, expand, destroy, and re-create theory. This is
accomplished through researching, teaching, writing, public speaking, and
consulting. Through each of these means, theories enter, either
consciously or unconsciously, into public discourse. These alternative
theoretical foundations (or competing explanations) are among the factors
responsible for community or individual action."
          Amy Silverstein Cramer

"The classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non-Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight -- as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions which are occuring. Yet, in truth, there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels and to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. Something similar is required today in economics."  John Maynard Keynes

Economics 207bf:  Behavioral Finance Economics 326:  Economics of Cyberspace
Economics 213:  Economic Development Economics 335:  Advanced Corporate Finance
Economics 215:  Corporate Finance Economics 321:  Seminar in Comparative Economic Systems

January term course: Political Economic Analysis of Star Trek
click here to view full list of courses

"In the field of economic development it is becoming increasingly evident that orthodox economic theory exhibits serious shortcomings in its relevancy and applicability . . . "
Richard L. Brinkman, Cultural Economics



"The elimination of ignorance, of illiteracy... and of needless inequalities in opportunities (is) to be seen as objectives that are valued for their own sake. They expand our freedom to lead the lives we have reason to value, and these elementary capabilities are of importance on their own."
Amartya Sen

Community Development Projects

Today many children grow up in environments that stifle their creative potential and do long-term damage to their physical and emotional health. It has been my goal to contribute to improving the conditions children grow up under.  That is why I became an economist.

Urban League of Portland, Oregon
As director of education of the Urban League of Greater Portland, Oregon (then under the leadership of Herb Cawthorne), and director of the Financial Services Academy (a joint venture of the Portland Public School District and the Urban League, chaired at the time by W. Charles "Chuck" Long, then senior vice president at US Bancorp), I initiated, expanded, and/or improved a number of community development programs. Education Division programs included the Jefferson High School Financial Services Academy (targeting "high risk" youth and achieving record low drop-out rates), the Whitney Young Learning Center (directed by Deborah Cochrane), and the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Program.

First Nations Development Institute
As a consultant for First Nations (under the leadership of Rebecca Adamson), I participated in the development of the Lakota Fund, conducted workshops at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, co-wrote (with Gini Egan) a manual on regional economic impact studies (REIS), and carried out a wide range of such REIS analyses at reservations around the United States. The basic conclusion of the REIS analyses was that the economic impact of reservations upon the regions within which they were located was positive (and statistically significant), despite the relatively low level of economic development, weak rates of economic growth, and high rates of unemployment on the reservations. A policy implication of the studies was that fostering higher rates of economic growth and more sustainable economic development would be beneficial not only on the reservations but to the entire region within which the reservation is located.

United Nations Development Program
As a consultant for UNDP, I helped to develop a revolving loan fund for the Belize Rural Women's Association (BRWA) -- promoting the economic independence of women throughout this Central American nation, and conducted workshops for BRWA cooperatives in a wide range of communities, including Dangriga, the Valley of Peace, the village of Double Head Cabbage, San Antonio, and Punta Gorda.  I also advised BRWA (under the leadership of Cynthia Ellis and Lucia Engleton) in the creation of a centralized marketing operation in Belmopan. Click here to read more about the BRWA program.

Rural Development Leadership Network
Since graduate school I've been the academic coordinator of programs designed to train rural professionals to be more effective leaders, first with the National Rural Fellows (NRF) Masters in Regional Planning Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then with the Rural Development Leadership Network, led by NRF founder Starry Krueger. Through RDLN, emerging leaders from poor rural areas spearhead development projects and design related study through which they may earn a certificate or academic credential (B.A., M.A., or Ph.D.). Past graduates include Unita Blackwell, Winona LaDuke, Shirley Sherrod, Birgil Kills Straight, Mily Treviño-Sauceda, Shoua Vang, Julie Moss, Juan Babauta, Wesley "Chuck" Jacobs, and Mississippi State Senator Robert Jackson.

What else have I done? Back when I was unbelievably young (and talk about naive!) I worked as a documentations analyst and computer programmer for Systematics, Inc.(Anybody out there remember the IBM 360/40 or programming in COBOL and PL1? --- also Napoleon Black, wherever you are, I learned a lot about life from you), worked in internal auditing for Amfac Mortgage (Eddie Keng Lim was a great mentor!), served as editorial director of Food First Publications (JoNina, I'm looking forward to reading your book on the Black Panther Party), was a partner in Global Arts & Fashions in Portland, Oregon, and served as president and CEO of Thunder & Visions, Inc. a public relations and advertising company (incorporated in Oregon), that played a role in the first election of Ron Wyden to Congress from Portland (T&V vice presidents: Kevin D. Smith, Ellen Duke, VonDel Fisk, and Kimberly Ann McGee). See below (Seva) for my experience working in adult corrections (thanks to Lee Brown and Carl Mason). Namasté.

      Marcia Schenk's Fair Trade Web Site

Local Exchange Trading System Online Manual

"Our problem is that we don't really understand what is going on: this seemingly solid world is volatile by nature. ”
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

"As we return to the center, let us not forget all that we learned and experienced in this journey back from the past. Let us rebuild our nations and mend the sacred hoop."
Birgil Kills Straight

"The willingness to reexamine lifelong beliefs because of conflicting data takes enormous courage, and contrasts sharply with recent examples of public discourse in which our political, cultural, and religious leaders have fit data to preconceived theories."
Donal O'Shea, in The Poincaré Conjecture, 2007

A family of related links Seva
The "I live to serve" section
MHC Gateway
MHC Economics Department
Family Photo Gallery
Saadia Kai Gabriel
Jens Christiansen
Fred Moseley
Roberto Marquez
Jonathan Lipman
Stephen A. Resnick
Richard D. Wolff
Derechos -- Human Rights
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
The Farm Community


Go to Advising Page
Chair, Department of Economics, Mt. Holyoke College
Academic Coordinator, Rural Development Leadership Network
     (1985-1996 and 2005)
     and the National Rural Fellows Program (1981-1985)

Member, Advisory Council, Amicus Foundation (2001-present)
Member, Center for Popular Economics (1981 to present)
Member, steering committee, African American and African Studies (1989-1999)
Chair, African American and African Studies   (1991-1993)
Member, steering committee, Asian Studies (1989-present)
Member, Faculty Conference Committee (3 tours of duty, 1992 - 2003)
Chair, Faculty Conference Committee (2002-2003)
Member, steering committee, Film Studies (1999-present)
Member, oversight committee, Library, Information, & Technology (1998-2000)
Visiting Professor of Finance and Economics, East China Normal University
     Summer International Program, Shanghai, China (summer of 2010 and 2011)
Visiting Associate Professor, Nanjing University, China (1996-1998)
Visiting Professor, National Economics University, Ha Noi, Viet Nam (Fall, 1993) 
Member, Portland Police Advisory Committee (during the tenure of Charles Jordan
     as city commissioner responsible for the police)

Former Member, Volunteer Bureau of Greater Portland, Oregon
Former Multnomah County Chair, Stop Oregon Litter & Vandalism
Former Coordinator, Multnomah County Adult Corrections Volunteers in Probation     Program, which achieved an 80% success rate (20% recidivism rate) with adult felons.


Long experience as a profoundly flawed person has taught me this unexpected truth:  that welcoming imperfection is the way to accomplish what perfectionism promises but never delivers.  It gives us our best performance, and genuine acceptance in the family of
human --- and by that I mean imperfect --- beings.
Martha Beck

Every night & every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn & every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Every morn & every night
Some are born to endless night.
   from Auguries of Innocence
       by William Blake

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"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next." -- Ursula K. LeGuin

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"We promised if one of us left or died
We'd meet again in another life" -- Jill Sobule, from Resistance Song



First Draft Poems:

The Pit Bull
Lost Stillness
I Don't Want to Write a Poem Today
Being Here
The Present
Silence Intact
The Road Ahead
They Think They Know
The Maine Coast
Pumpkin Pie
Smoke Fire
Betray Me
Wood Fire
Sociopath at Nightfall
Cloud Thunder
A House by the Bay
No Preconceived Notions
Digital Zeroes and Ones
Someone Familiar
What Happened to the Squirrels in Saint Louis?
A Chaos of Petals on the Ground
On Refusing to Exit the Stage
The Cell Phone on the Floor
Portland, Oregon
It's Your World
Devil's Pond
The Fence
Don't Say Goodbye
The Trees Don't Know
A Taxi in Big Timber
Lake Tahoe is Burning
Drowning in Hubris
The Icebox Ballet
The Swimming Pool
Reading Nietzsche at Midnight
The Last Day of May in Davis, CA
Express Train to Somewhere Else
Your Sister is Still Missing
Solving the Equation
The Gaze of the Liberator
What is so Self-evident about Freedom?
Reading Term Papers
Wailing as Loud as Anger
Fire on the Other Side
Marriage to the Hun Lord
Endless Paths
In the Beginning
Lightning Strikes
The Movie Theater
Lost in the Woods
Coming Home to the Dixie Honky Tonk
First Signs of Corruption
Boundaries Redrawn
Wanda's Baby
Hip Hop
The Crosswalk
Oil Paint and Arsenic
Golf Clubs and Lost Boys
The Stairs
High Noon
Consequences of a Cluttered Desk
Memory is Snowfall
The Black Bear
Laugh Track
Seeing in a New Light
The Zen of Hardheadedness
Refracted through a Prism
Do You Dream of Flying?
Sea & Sky: A Love Story
Small Miracles
Original Sin
Where is God?
Inside Infinite Space
Deeper Than Deja Vu
War on Terror
The Statues are Silent, Staring
What Do You Know for Certain?
Nice Plastic Containers
Dead Philosophers
Water in the Desert
The Church of Now
The End of History
Lemon Cake
Not a Word
Cookie Crumbs
The Hotel Clerk
Whoops! Armageddon
River Elegy
Raking Leaves
Catching the Bus
The Merger
Another Stupid Love Song
Crossing the Bridge
Natalya Dances
Racism is Cool Again
Ceasar's Fiddling
Shotgun House
Angel in Stained Glass
Recurring Dream
Victoria Harbour
Heaven is in Seaside, Oregon
Buddha Goes to Class
Brush Fires
Passion Play
Dream Death
Another Night
Ontario Science Center
Ancient Philosophy
Lost on the Road to Dangriga
The Girl in the Window
Emergence Exit Rebirth
If Life Takes Wing
Teaching George Washington
Stephen King is from New England
A Tenth of a Second
Survival Imperative
That Taste of Smile
The Void of Sleep
Changing Minds
Kuzema na Kuzuri
Second Reading
Commercial Interruptions
Collision of Matter and Energy
George Steinbrenner
A Stegasaurus in South Hadley
What Would Lao Tsu Have to Say?
In Your Face
One Night it Snowed
Why are Lefties so Nice?
Gallows Humor
J's Front Porch
Liberating Babylon
The Dead Do Not Want Revenge
We are Always Misunderstood (written the day after graduation 2002)

The sky breaks open and weeps. The night is a lonely child thundering cries under a black blanket.
I am the voice that cannot pierce the thunderbreak. I am the silence broken. (from Dreaming in Malaysia)

The dao that can be described in finite words is not the eternal dao.
---Dao De Jing

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To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
       William Blake

Copyright © 1996-2011, Satyananda J. Gabriel, Mount Holyoke College. Photographs: (1) Classroom Photo taken by Jialu Chen, (2) Monk in Xishuangbanna Prefecture, PRC, and, (3) Nam Dinh (Nam Ha Province, Viet Nam) children scene were taken by S. J. Gabriel. This page created and maintained by the Wizard of MHC. For easy access to this page, add it to your Bookmarks file.  One final thought: We homo sapiens probably are the smartest kids on the block, but does this mean we will survive, much less go on to "conquer" the distant galaxies or our own Milky Way (or at least trek among the stars)? Our species continues to behave in ways that must seem very strange (often self-destructive) to any of the vastly more intelligent species that must cohabit this universe with us. It is no wonder they have not stopped by for a friendly visit.  As Ursula K. LeGuin once said: "What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy."
Click Here to See The Places I've Been (begging Dr. Seuss' pardon)