Robert A. McKeown

Hello and welcome to The Blue Collar Economist, I’m the owner and proprietor, Robert A. McKeown.

You might have wondered why “The Blue Collar Economist”? Well, that’s because I’m a blue collar worker. I’ve been a truck driver for over 30 years and have driven in both North America and Europe, to include eastern Europe. This may come as a shock to many of my purist Austrian economics readers but I’ve also been a Teamster for over 20 years.

How can that be? Am I some kind of hypocrite? How can an advocate for free market economics also be a union member?

That’s actually easier to answer than you might think. Like other human beings, I too act out of self-interest. Imagine Derek Jeter is getting ready to hit the showers after a big minor league game. A talent scout approaches him and asks, “How would you like to make the show and play for the New York Yankees?”

How do you think Jeter should respond to that offer? “Naw, thanks anyway. The Yankees have a bad reputation in the big leagues and besides, being from Michigan, I’d rather play for the Tigers at lesser pay and a slim chance of winning a pennant.” Of course not!

Regardless of how the other team owners view the Yankees, Jeter will maximize his earning potential by playing for the highest paying team in the league. The same held true for me when I decided to hire on with a union trucking company. I wanted to maximize my earning potential as well and provide the best standard of living for my family that I possibly could, just like everyone else.

Of course, at the time, I knew absolutely nothing about economics. I simply wanted to improve my lot in life with better job security, higher pay, and better benefits. It wasn’t until I was employed for about 12 years at my current place of employment that I discovered Austrian economics.

Being couped up in hotels for the week, sometimes upwards of 14 hours at a time, gave me a great opportunity to read and study all that I could about this wonderfully realistic view of economics. The world began to make sense for the first time. With a voracious appetite to know more, I began to read all that the Mises Institute had to offer. I was educating myself in a discipline of the social sciences without wasting my time and money at a mainstream university. Having three initials after my name didn’t impress me as I wasn’t going to pursue an academic career. After all, Paul Krugman has a Ph.D. and that doesn’t make his columns make any more sense.

So why don’t I quit and find work outside of the union? That’ll happen when the tenured free market economics professors at the state-run universities leave their positions first. I don’t know, maybe we’re both hypocrites. At least I limit my criticism to the public sector unions which I find an insult to the very idea of organized labor. After all, who sits opposite the bargaining table from a government union? The people who pay their wages and provide for their benefits, namely, the taxpayers? Nope, we’re not invited to those meetings.

As time went by and discussions at work began to take on an almost classroom-like atmosphere, I decided to start blogging and relaying what I’ve learned about reality based economics to anyone who would be interested. Maybe or hopefully, all of this writing will take me in a new direction and away from the steering wheel of that big truck. Some cracks of opportunity have been opening and I’ve have had some op-ed pieces and articles published on different websites. I was even  interviewed on a radio talk show.

So, thank you for taking the time out of your day to check out The Blue Collar Economist. I hope you find what I have to say about economics, politics, and life from my blue collar perspective both refreshing and interesting. Maybe we both can learn a little more about how the world around us works.