Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes
Chapter 7: Mark Blaug on the quantity theory: a skirmish on the border between science and ideology in the history of economic thought
I first met Mark Blaug in the early 1960s in the UK, though I am not sure exactly when or where. No matter: at that time, Mark was already a well-established scholar of whose work I had been aware even as an undergraduate. He was thus something of an authority figure in my intellectual landscape, and also, as I look back, he became an example as well, though I cannot claim to have been immediately conscious of this. Mark was passionate about the history of economics, not as a separate field of study, but as an integral part of the discipline. So am I, at least as far as monetary economics is concerned. I have never dared to range as widely as Mark did, but I must have acquired this way of looking at things from somewhere, and in addition to our personal interactions I was certainly a regular user in my teaching of various editions of Economic Theory in Retrospect (Blaug 1962) which it permeates. In the 1960s and ’70s, when I was in the UK I saw Mark often, and after moving to Canada still regularly though less frequently, because for some years we went to many of the same conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. I always looked forward to our encounters, though sometimes with just a little trepidation. Mark was habitually direct and you always knew where he stood. One of my later memories of him is from the 2002 HES meeting at Davis.
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