- Elgar original reference
Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
Ben FINE (born 1948) I was born in Coventry in 1948, the fourth son of six – ﬁve years after me, my parents’ last try for a girl yielded twin sons. On my birth certiﬁcate, my father’s profession is listed as timberyard worker. His enduring desire to be a research mathematician had been permanently frustrated by a breakdown during the war. My mother, despite a degree in history, was conﬁned to housewife until her early death in 1967, although she successfully struggled to be involved in local labour party politics against the constraints imposed by her domestic duties and her husband’s disapproval of her not being otherwise conﬁned to the house. As a household, we were unimaginably poor by today’s material standards but, by the same token, equally wealthy in ‘human’, especially mathematical, capital. Essentially, ﬁve of the six sons followed their father in studying maths at Oxford, the sixth black sheep ultimately descending to the pursuit of archaeology. I had taken my O-levels at fourteen, my A-levels (double maths and physics) at sixteen (both at a grammar school), and ﬁnished my degree in maths at 20 in 1969. At that time, I felt I had reached my limit in maths and did not wish to study it any more. My experience of casual work in industry had convinced me that British management needed skills and logic. I applied to US business schools but with little success, no doubt justiﬁably in view of my naivety. I was,...
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