Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 96: Oskar Ryszard Lange (1904–1965)
Lange was born in Poland in July 1904 into the family of a German-born, assimilated textile manufacturer, and died in London in 1965. After studying law and economics in Poznan and Cracow, he did a PhD on business cycles in the Polish economy based on new statistical tools. In 1934, he moved to Harvard to work with Joseph Schumpeter, returning to Europe two years later to spend seven months at Cambridge. During his academic career, he lectured in statistics in Cracow (1927–37), Chicago (1938–45) and Warsaw (1948–65). Politically involved since his youth, he was active at the Independent Socialist Youth Union in the interwar period. During the Second World War he pushed the cause of Soviet–American rapprochement and socialist–communist cooperation. He served as the first ambassador of the Polish People’s Republic in Washington (1945–46) and as the Polish delegate to the United Nations (UN) Security Council (1946–47). Later, he was a member of parliament and a member of the State Council in Poland (Kowalik 2008). His economic works mainly addressed two topics: the evolution of capitalism and the functioning of the market mechanism in a socialist system. In two major studies, “The rate of interest and the optimum propensity to consume” (Lange 1938) and “Say’s law: a criticism and restatement” (Lange 1942), Lange prepared the ground for an ambitious analysis of capitalist dynamics that he finally achieved in his 1944 Price Flexibility and Full Employment. In the post-war period, still focusing on capitalist...
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