Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Famous Economists
from Carleton College

Phil Miller sent me this link recently.

Famous Carleton Economists
John Bates Clark* (1847-1938) played an important role in the development of marginal productivity by applying the Ricardian theory of rent to labor and capital. Among his works were The Philosophy of Wealth (1886), The Distribution of Wealth (1899) and Essentials of Economic Theory (1907). ... His favorite pupil at Carleton was Thorstein Veblen.

Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) was the founder of the "institutionalist" school of economics and is Carleton's most famous alumnus....His most famous book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) is still in print and widely read. It is both a brilliant work of theory and a biting satire which can be appreciated as much for its witty use of language as its theoretical originality.
When he sent the link, Phil expressed disappointment that my name wasn't included on the list [I graduated in economics from Carleton College in 1965]. The reason is simple and twofold:
  1. I was a horrible undergraduate student, finishing 21st in class of 18 economics majors [gruesome details deleted]. I concentrated on playing bridge (poorly) and the identity crisis. Another reason I did not do well was
  2. The professors were east-coast liberal interventionists, and I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I was so dumb that I couldn't see what was wrong with the Chicago school of economics.

I presume things have changed there in the past 40 years.

Here's something else: I liked the concept of interdependent utility functions, but I didn't think Veblen's work was all that brilliant.

*[note: the J.B. Clark Medal in Economics is named for John Bates Clark and not after Professor Medal, as I sometimes tell my students]

Who Links Here