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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sad News about Paul Samuelson

Paul Krugman comments on some sad news:

Paul Samuelson, RIP, by Paul Krugman: Oh, my. Paul Samuelson has died. He had a long, good life; yet he will be sorely missed.
It’s hard to convey the full extent of Samuelson’s greatness. Most economists would love to have written even one seminal paper — a paper that fundamentally changes the way people think about some issue. Samuelson wrote dozens: from international trade to finance to growth theory to speculation to well, just about everything, underlying much of what we know is a key Samuelson paper that set the agenda for generations of scholars.
And he was a wonderfully down-to-earth human being besides. For a number of years I shared an office suite with him and Bob Solow; he always had time to talk, and was completely without airs.
One of the things Robin Wells and I did when writing our principles of economics textbook was to acquire and study a copy of the original, 1948 edition of Samuelson’s textbook. It’s an extraordinary work: lucid, accessible without being condescending, and deeply insightful. His discussions of speculation and monetary policy are particularly striking: they run quite contrary to much of what was being taught just a few years ago, but they ring completely true in the current crisis. And he was, of course, the man who truly brought Keynesian economics to America — a contribution that now seems more relevant than ever.
Let us honor the memory of a truly great man.

[For two samples of his writing and thinking from among the many posted here, see Financial Crisis Work of "Fiendish Monsters" and Samuelson on Keynesian Economics.]

    Posted by on Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM in Economics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (19)


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