Reflections of Eminent Economists
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Reflections of Eminent Economists

Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

In this collection of autobiographical essays, 26 prominent scholars detail their professional development, while offering insight into their lives and philosophies. With candor and humor they relate how they came to the field of economics, as well as how their views have evolved over the years.
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Chapter 10: Education and its Consequences: My Philosophy of Life

Victor R. Fuchs

Extract

10. Education and its consequences: my philosophy of life* Victor R. Fuchs ‘Philosophy,’ wrote Stanley Cavell (1979), is ‘the education of grownups.’ This essay recounts my ‘education’ in a broad sense, including the impact of family, religion, schooling, the Army, business and fellow economists. The reader will discern the effects of this education in my views about economics, research, teaching and politics. FAMILY Family has always been a major influence on my life. My parents, despite the problems of their marriage, gave me great love and attention. Although their families’ circumstances made it impossible for either of them to finish high school, they respected learning and were pleased that both their children pursued academic careers. My brother was my closest companion in childhood and has been a loyal friend and critic since then. Our parents’ strong social concerns undoubtedly played a role in our choice of fields and our approach to research: the social sciences applied to problems of social policy. As a child, I was frequently visiting or being visited by my grandparents (immigrants from Austria and Poland), and dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins who would crowd into our apartment in the Bronx to celebrate birthdays, graduations and holidays. At times these visits conflicted with more urgent matters such as a baseball game or a chance to meet girls, but on balance the many hours spent with different generations contributed much to my development and sense of identity. For the past 45 years my wife has been...

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