Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes

This collection of eminent contributions discusses the ideas and works of Mark Blaug, who has made important and often pioneering contributions to economic history, economic methodology, the economics of education, development economics, cultural economics, economic theory and the history of economic thought. Besides these assessments of Blaug’s influence and impact in these fields, this volume also contains a selection of personal portraits which depict him as a colleague, a friend and an opponent. Blaug was also a voracious reader and prolific writer, which is clearly evidenced by the comprehensive bibliography.

Chapter 2: Memorial address

John Maloney

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, economics of education, history of economic thought, methodology of economics


We’re here tonight as the friends, family and colleagues of a great economist and an extraordinary man. You do not become an extraordinary man by accident and Mark did not become an economist by accident. But as he has said himself, the path he took within the subject was a row of accidents. His career in the economics of education began when he was looking for a job in Britain and in his own words by a fluke bumped into the director of London University’s Institute of Education, who told him he had a job going. The fact that until then Mark, probably like most economists in those days, had barely heard of the economics of education, did nothing to put him off. He was quickly off around the world as an adviser to governments in developing countries. The advice was good – particularly when he urged them to put primary education first and only then think about expanding the universities – but not always listened to, and Mark has told how frustrated he got with governments who had all the rhetoric about growth and enterprise and promptly pursued polices that made sure there was very little of either. Mark’s connection with history of economic thought also began accidentally, in the sense that he and it came together because no one else was available to teach the subject at Yale.

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