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 25: Life and Philosophy

Hirofumi Uzawa

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


* Hirofumi Uzawa In 1928, I was born in the provincial town of Yonago in Tottori Prefecture. Tottori is located in the western part of Japan, in the scenic region officially referred to as the Region in the Shadow of the Mountains. Although it is now among the poorest in terms of per capita income, it used in ancient times to be one of the most advanced in Japan. Being located at the shortest distance across the Japan Sea from the Korean Peninsula, its culture was the finest and the most sophisticated. But it was allegedly destroyed by the more brutal and barbarian culture of the Yamato Dynasty, supposedly the ancestors of the present-day emperor. In my family, my brother and I were the first male children in many generations. In prewar Japan, only male children (the first sons, for that matter) could inherit family estates. As far as I can trace back my family lineage, either no sons were born or none survived beyond adolescence, and husbands from neighboring areas had to be adopted. To be adopted into a family of small fortune must have been most humiliating. My father was a school-teacher, but this sense of humiliation seemed to have remained all through his life. To have been born in the Region in the Shadow of the Mountains in a family of adopted males seems to have had a lasting influence upon my life, even though my family moved to Tokyo when I was four years old. My childhood...

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