Nobel-winning American economist Paul A. Samuelson died
Sunday, spurring words of praise and fond remembrance from across the
spectrum. Economic commentary is often sharply divided and hotly disputed, but liberals and
conservatives alike were able to come together to salute Samuelson's
contributions to the "dismal science" of economics.
- 'Era of The Titans' The Atlantic's Megan McArdle praises
the "giant of economics," writing, "The era of the titans slips away."
She quotes Samuelson, "I don't care who writes a nation's laws -- or
crafts its advanced treatises -- if I can write its economics
- 'A Truly Great Man' The New York Times's Paul Krugman gushes, "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." He concludes, "Let us honor the memory of a truly great man."
Bernanke Mourns Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tells the Wall Street Journal, "Paul Samuelson was both a path-breaking and prolific economic theorist
and one of the greatest teachers that economics has ever known. I join
with many other former students and colleagues of Paul's in mourning
the passing of a titan of economics."
One of a Kind The Economist's Ryan Avent writes, "Mr Samuelson helped shape and transform economics into the field it
is today. He authored one of the last century's great economics
textbooks. For his work "raising the level of analysis in economic
science" he was awarded the Nobel Prize. He was a towering figure in the field. They just don't make them like that anymore."
Undervalued For Same Reason He Was Great Time's Justin Fox explains
why Samuelson isn't as well known as Milton Friedman or John Maynard
Kaynes. "He was not, however, a crusader in the way that Friedman and
Keynes were. Samuelson had very strong views about the methods
of economics. Yet while he certainly formed opinions about real-world
economic problems--he was basically a centrist with moderately Keynesian
leanings--they often came with lots of caveats," he writes. "[T]o my
mind this reluctance to make greater claims for the theories of
economics than they really deserved was perhaps his most admirable
trait. It is also, however, why you seldom hear people talking about
Samuelson's Last Big Interview The Atlantic's Conor Clarke discusses the stimulus, teaching economics, and the progress of economics here and here.
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