Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 104: Tibor Scitovsky (1910–2002)
Tibor Scitovsky (3 November 1910–1 June 2002) lived a varied life, both in the private sphere and in his public activity as an economist. Born into a rich Hungarian family of aristocratic origins, he was raised in a pre-capitalist society, in which money flowed freely and was there to be spent, not saved. His father, Tibor de Scitovszky Senior was a senior civil servant and banker, becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs for the ultra-conservative government of Count István Bethlen (1924–25), and then president of one of Hungary’s largest banks. His mother, Hanna, was related to the noble La Rochefoucauld family, and her Thursday-afternoon “at homes” were a meeting place for Budapest’s political and artistic elite, occasionally being attended by such notable guests as Paul Valéry and Thomas Mann, Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) and the provocative Colette. Having enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the University of Budapest, in 1928 Scitovsky was seized by the desire for emancipation from a family he found suffocating, and obtained permission to continue his studies abroad. Arriving at Cambridge in October 1929, and looking for a field of study more interesting than international law, he switched to economics. Thus he met Maurice Dobb and Joan Robinson. He would later thank the latter for encouraging independent thought and a critical spirit: I had just started on economics a month earlier and did not even know there was a theory about money. . . . Joan read [my paper] while I watched her...
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