Reflections of Eminent Economists

Reflections of Eminent Economists

Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

In this collection of autobiographical essays, 26 prominent scholars detail their professional development, while offering insight into their lives and philosophies. With candor and humor they relate how they came to the field of economics, as well as how their views have evolved over the years.

Chapter 1: My Life Philosophy

Irma Adelman

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


* Irma Adelman Writing my intellectual autobiography is an assignment which I have long postponed, primarily out of fear. Such a retrospective self-appraisal would inevitably make me stand naked in front of myself, influence the rest of my career and impart a sense of, it is to be hoped, premature, semi-closure. A gentle reminder by the editors has now made me grit my teeth, lay my trepidations aside, and begin. I was born in Cernowitz, Romania, in March 1930. Amusingly enough, Joseph Schumpeter had played an unwitting role in my parents’ marriage. My mother was a law student at the University of Cernowitz while Schumpeter was teaching there. She was being courted by my father, a businessman ten years her senior. She decided to reject his suit, took her qualifying exam in economics from Schumpeter, and returned to her home town. A few months later, she was informed that Schumpeter had lost her examination paper, and that she would have to take the exam again. She returned to Cernowitz, was met by my father who, in his sorrow at being rejected by her, had shaved his head and lost about fifteen pounds. Her heart went out to him and she reversed her decision. FORMATIVE INFLUENCES The formative influences on my life and values were my parents, my early education, and the trauma of World War II. My mother, a very attractive, intelligent and vivacious woman, never got to practice law. My father claimed that her working would ruin his credit rating...

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