About

My name is Larry Liam Ching Liu and I was born on December 1, 1991 in Vienna, Austria. My ancestors are Hakka Chinese from Meizhou in Guangdong province, China. They left China four generations ago to settle in Calcutta, India, where my paternal grandfather has operated a leather tannery, and my maternal grandfather has operated a shoe repair shop [recommended reading: Ellen Oxfeld, Blood, Sweat and Mahjong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1994); Zhang Xing and Tansen Sen, “The Chinese in South Asia” In Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora, edited by Chee-Beng Tan, 205-226 (Oxon: Routledge, 2013)].  Both of my parents were born and raised in India, and to remember that we still eat Indian dishes at home, besides Chinese and Western.

My father had migrated to Austria, first as a tourist, then as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant in a small village called St. Polten. After marrying my mother back in India, he returned to Vienna, the capital city of Austria, and worked in an ice cream factory and postal worker. My mother raised an older brother and myself, and then went to work herself. First as a hotel maid, of which she had previous job experience in New Delhi, then in a bakery shop, and then she got a patronage position from the postal service through my father. My mother wanted me to live and study in the US, and struggled to get a green card. My maternal aunt has lived in the US for over 30 years, and that allowed her to sponsor us, such that I immigrated to the US in 2008. My mother had attended an Indian school financed by American missionaries, and so she was a devout a Christian and devout America fan. The deflation of pro-Americanness came when she arrived in the US, and worked first three jobs (two retail and one travel agency), until one retail store closed shop, and the travel agency laid her off. Life as a working-class person here is not as convenient as in welfare state-oriented Europe, and so that experience profoundly has affected my political orientation.

I have attended ten years of schooling in Austria, 1 and 1/2 years of high school in the US, (followed by a brief stint in the Austrian military following a draft) 2 years of community college, and now 3 years at the University of Pennsylvania with a specialization in sociology and economic policy, from which I received a BA in May 2015. My most profound educational experience was in the community college, where an excellent team of honors curriculum professors (esp. Ralph Faris and Martin Spear) lectured and held seminars with the students, where I had the broadest exposure to the liberal arts, history, politics, culture and literature. At Penn I was able to take course and collaborate with excellent professors like Randall Collins, Mauro Guillen, Jerry Jacobs, Brendan O’Leary and Peter Cappelli. I have worked as a student ambassador to the community college; a retail clerk at Reebok; a research intern at the Think Tank and Civil Society Program; and research assistant at the Wharton School. I have been accepted to study at Oxford University, studying comparative social policy (MSc), and Princeton University, studying sociology (PhD).

I have a great interest in political causes, which is why I keep on writing, reading and thinking about them. I am a self-described democratic socialist, intending to improve the standard of living of all people and demanding a better future and opportunities for all.

Important influences come from Confucius, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther, Mahatma Ghandi, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Franklin D. Roosevelt, W.E.B Dubois, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, John Maynard Keynes, John Rawls, Joseph Stiglitz, Noam Chomsky, Robert Reich, Richard Wilkinson, Tony Judt, Howard Zinn, Eric Hobsbawm, Paul Krugman, Bruno Kreisky, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Eugene V. Debs, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Ehrenreich, Dean Baker, Cenk Uygur, Huey Long, David Cay Johnston, Chris Hedges, Lawrence Mishel, Jack Goldstone, Saskia Sassen, Thorstein Veblen, Karl Polanyi, C. Wright Mills, Randall Collins, John E. Roemer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Lyndon B. Johnson, Michael Moore, Gar Alperovitz, Richard Wolff, James Galbraith, John Kenneth Galbraith.

I have a great interest in the areas of politics, public policy, political philosophy, political economy, political theory, economics, heterodox economics, Marxian economics, labor economics, sociology, political sociology, economic sociology, anthropology, cultural anthropology, social anthropology, economic anthropology, political anthropology, psychology, social psychology, history, political history, social history, economic history, people’s history, philosophy, law, religion, linguistics, social sciences, humanities and other related fields.

My research interests lie in the study of labor market relations, how work is organized, and various changes of labor market institutions resulting from neoliberal deregulation and technological innovation; the social and economic effects of government austerity policies in Europe; the rise of right-wing populism in Europe; the social effects of privatization; social transformation of China since Deng Xiaoping. My current two projects involve one study on HR technology effects on hiring practices in US companies with Peter Cappelli, and one study on the political economy of the socialist systems of the Soviet Union, China and the German Democratic Republic. I wrote a book about austerity policies and the social and economic effects on Europe [The Austerity Trap: Economic and Social Consequences of Fiscal Consolidation in Europe, (Charleston, SC: Create Space Independent Publisher: 2015) http://www.amazon.com/Austerity-Trap-Economic-Consequences-Consolidation/dp/1502868857/] and on Hakka Chinese leaders in Asia and South America [Hakkas in Power (Charleston, SC: Create Space Independent Publisher: 2015) http://www.amazon.com/Hakkas-Power-Political-Leadership-Southeast/dp/1505429439], and one academic article in Sociology Mind, on rural-urban transformation and the creation of the proletariat in post-reform contemporary China [“Capitalist Reform, the Dismantling of the Iron Rice Bowl and Land Expropriation in China: A Theory of Primitive Accumulation and State Power”, Sociology Mind 5(1)]

For the rest of my life I prefer simple living, frugality, humility, reflection and deep conversations with others.

Here are my other websites:

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4 Responses to About

  1. Luke says:

    Very interesting story. Look forward to commenting on some of the posts. Thanks for writing.

  2. nop21c says:

    Just discovered your blog, and very much look forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. Alison says:

    It’s inspiring to read your stories, and the articles are wonderful and helpful! Thanks.

  4. Mike Jones says:

    So, when are you going to learn Esperanto?

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