Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes
Chapter 4: Remembering Mark Blaug
Mark Blaug had a greater impact on my ideas and career than any other person. He was a role model who eventually became a friend. It was a privilege to know him and I will miss him dearly. In what follows I will provide some snapshots of our relationship, which lasted my professional lifetime. I first ‘met’ Mark Blaug, as many other generations of students had, when I took a graduate course in the history of economics (in my case, in spring 1975 under Vincent Tarascio at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill). His Economic Theory in Retrospect (1996; we used the revised edition of 1968) was the required text and, basically, our Bible. Mark wrote with a style all his own: he was humorous, opinionated, insightful, and very, very clear. Long before Deirdre McCloskey was writing about rhetoric and the power of persuasion, Mark was providing an exemplar of it. The book sold me on becoming an historian of thought. It also helped me to become one, in a very specific way. The book contained a number of ‘Reader’s Guides’ in which Mark summarized and commented upon the key elements of canonical texts. These were of course invaluable when I was putting together my own class in the history of economic thought for the first time. I suspect that his book provided the same service for literally scores of teachers of the history of economics.
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