Bio

 

Joseph E. Pluta

After working as a college professor for most of my adult life, I began writing fiction fifteen years ago. One of my friends reacted by asking: “What’s the difference? You’ve been writing about Economics for over 40 years!”

Brief descriptions of my recent books may be found in the “Published Works” section.

My creative writing consists of historical fiction, sci fi, and poetry. The first of these focuses on uncommon situations, human imperfection, and life in small towns, especially in Michigan. The second deals with time travel and its diverse templates plus unusual outcomes. Poems are inspired by a love of history, geography, and astronomy as well as personal experiences.

As a professional economist, I was the author of twenty books and numerous articles in academic journals, was the Editor of Texas Business Review magazine, founded and directed a University wide Honors Program, served as Chair of an Economics Department, worked as a consultant to foreign governments and to American small businesses, and received five awards for teaching excellence. In addition to the U. S., my research has also been published in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, India, and Jamaica.

That research focussed on evolutionary economics, the history of economic ideas, public finance, industry case studies, applications of microeconomic theory, and American economic history.

Specific topics included: government expenditures in the U. S. and in over thirty countries of Europe, Latin America, and Asia: the contributions of Thorstein Veblen and his followers; corporate scandals; the economy of Texas: and the economics of prehistory.

Many years ago, I managed a restaurant, hosted a weekly radio program, analyzed bills for a state legislature, and presented research results to conferences at such places as the University of Chicago; the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland; and the Ministry of Defense in Taipei, Taiwan. I also was a public address announcer for college basketball games.

Margo and I have been married for over 50 years during which she has been a pre-school teacher, business owner, volunteer for numerous charitable causes, loving companion, as well as an exceptional mother and grandmother!. Our son, Andy, is a music store manager and a creative artist while our daughter, Kate, is an accomplished writer and teacher. Her husband, Todd, has designed video games and works in digital media. We have two granddaughters. Mira is six and in first grade while Talia was born just this past August. Both have quickly become the center of our lives.

Things I love? My family, waterfalls, mountains, trains, history, poetry, music, astronomy, movies with thoughtful plots, superb writing, women’s basketball, Canadian football, dill pickles, green olives, shrimp lo mein, beets, salsa, barbecue, breakfast tacos, pierogi, ice cream, sandwich shops, and pizza joints.

Things I loathe? Neckties, mindless TV ads, racism, fundamentalist thinking (excuse the oxymoron), white-collar criminals, university administrators, idiots (excuse the redundancy), science deniers, the myth of ‘trickle down economics’, Fox News, Monsanto, online college degrees, and big cities.

Shortly after my birth in Chicago, my parents raised me on a farm in the southwest corner of Michigan. While attending grade school and high school in Indiana, I lived in two time zones every day. Perhaps that is why I am rarely late for anything (and often early), a fact that is sometimes annoying to those around me.

My B. A. and M. A. degrees were from the University of Notre Dame, my Ph. D. from the University of Texas. Margo and I lived in Florida and California before returning to Austin where we have now resided for over four decades. I have been retired since May of 2015.

Our favorite travel destinations are British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Michigan, Idaho, Colorado, and Montana. The waterfalls in every one of these places are magnificent.