Chapter 5: Albert Hart
Albert Hart was one of the first people interviewed for this book that came of age as an economist in the midst of the Depression. After finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1936, Hart immediately went to work on the influential book Debts and Recovery 1929 to 1937, which painstakingly documented and analyzed changes in the structure of the internal debts of all the sub-sections of the US economy. Although trained at the University of Chicago, Hart’s career took a different path in that he was sympathetic to the Keynesian perspective and advocated active government involvement in economic affairs. Perhaps his best known book was Money, Debt and Economic Activity published in 1948. I spoke with Professor Hart in August 1997 at his home in Sherman, Connecticut. When I arrived, he was at his computer, analyzing the National Bureau of Economic Research business cycle turning points since 1945. His house was neatly kept, but every table had stacks of open books and piles of papers, all of which had clear evidence of being examined recently. Hart had a wit and an intellect that was sharp as a tack, he had many stories to tell, and he was ready to tell them. As revealed in the interview, Hart had both a serious and a playful side. He let both of them shine. It was a delightful afternoon that I spent with him. I’m sure it was the last time he had a substantive discussion with someone about economics...
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