Monday, December 14, 2009

A giant of economics

The "last generalist" is no more. No idea in modern economics in any field is divorced from his contribution. His textbook was the bestselling economics textbook of all time. My father used it to teach incoming freshmen in the 1970s, and my friends at IIT used it in their freshmen year in the 2000s.
In receiving the Nobel Prize in 1970, Mr. Samuelson was credited with transforming his discipline from one that ruminates about economic issues to one that solves problems, answering questions about cause and effect with mathematical rigor and clarity.

When economists “sit down with a piece of paper to calculate or analyze something, you would have to say that no one was more important in providing the tools they use and the ideas that they employ than Paul Samuelson,” said Robert M. Solow, a fellow Nobel laureate and colleague of Mr. Samuelson’s at M.I.T.

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