Thursday, November 10, 2005

To Paul Samuelson, one of the greatest economists of all times

Perhaps more than anyone else, Paul A. Samuelson has personified mainstream economics in the second half of the twentieth century. The writer of the most successful principles textbook ever (1948), Paul Samuelson has been not unjustly considered the incarnation of the economics "establishment" - and as a result, has been both lauded and vilified for virtually everything right and wrong about it.

Samuelson's most famous piece of work, Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947), one of the grand tomes that helped revive Neoclassical economics and launched the era of the mathematization of economics. Samuelson was one of the progenitors of the Paretian revival in microeconomics and the Neo-Keynesian Synthesis in macroeconomics during the post-war period.

The wunderkind of the Harvard generation of 1930s, where he studied under Schumpeter and Leontief had a prodigious grasp of economic theory which has since become legendary (an unconfirmed anecdote has it that at the end of Samuelson's dissertation defense, Schumpeter turned to Leontief and asked, "Well, Wassily, have we passed?").



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