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Paul Samuelson

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Paul Samuelson

Paul Samuelson was  beyond a doubt one of the most brilliant minds, not only of the twentieth century, but probably of all time. Like many other generations of economists, I was brought up on his introductory textbook and many seminal articles.  His work clarified what previous scholars in economics had written. There were many times where I read the original works of nineteenth and early twentieth century economists, and only after reading  Samuelson’s interpretation of these works did I finally begin to understand what the original works were arguing.

I had the privilege of attending a few of his lectures, and he was even more exciting in person.

He had two profound impacts on economics. He taught many of the leading scholars in the field, and instilled in them an understanding of the role and need for government. This was his great contribution. He also pushed economics down the path of mathematics. He could rise above the math because he had brilliant insights and great common sense. Unfortunately, later generations of economists lacked the same insights and common sense, and economics has become more irrelevant as a result.

Few economists can explain in simple language what they are trying to demonstrate with their increasingly more mathematical models.


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