Economists — the popular and not-so-popular

Brad DeLong reviews McCraw’s biography of Schumpeter for the Chronicle of Higher Education (via A&L Daily). Here is the first paragraph of the review:

My guess is that average literate Americans know of three 20th-century economists: John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, and Alan Greenspan. Perhaps they also know of Paul Samuelson (but as textbook author, not economic theorist), of Friedrich Hayek (but think that he is the father of an actress), and of John Kenneth Galbraith (as William F. Buckley Jr.’s friend who appeared on TV). The rest of us disappear into a blur of gray suits, spectacles, and, usually, baldness — an assemblage of personalities too bland to be successful accountants.

That reminded me of an article in Financial Times by John Kay which tried to answer the question as to which economists leave lasting legacies and why. By the way, DeLong also discusses something akin to that question in his review with specific reference to Schumpeter:

Back in 1970, the economist Harry G. Johnson pointed out that all successful founders of schools not only are geniuses with profound insights but also provide a road map that tells their followers and successors what to do to make a successful academic career within the school. Schumpeter did not do that second part.

A nice review. Take a look!

Before I end this post, here are a couple of links to what Tyler Cowen and Economic Principals had to say about the book.


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One Response to “Economists — the popular and not-so-popular”

  1. euandus2 Says:

    With time, I believe the mathematical “problem solving” orientation of twentieth-century economics will be viewed as piece-meal and insufficient, especially as we look at the viability of the market-mechanism itself in the wake of the financial crisis. Relatedly, Samuelson’s “mathematization” of economics treats the discipline as though it were a science–ignoring the inherent limits to prediction of a human system, whether social, political or economic. For more, pls see

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