Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan
Chapter 12: My Life Philosophy
* Eli Ginzberg The title of this essay was assigned to me. Perhaps I would have declined the editor’s invitation if I had remembered that my recently published book, The Skeptical Economist, embodies quite a bit of personal history, so much in fact that my wife wanted me not to publish it. Let me explain why I accepted the editor’s invitation. I have had only tenuous connections with my fellow economists since the mid-1930s when I began to teach at Columbia University and even less after 1939 when I went my own way to pursue empirical research in the borderline between economics and psychology in the new field that later was designated as ‘manpower’ or ‘human resources.’ I have attended only two conventions of the American Economic Association since the mid-1930s and my total contributions to the AER, The Proceedings and the Journal of Economic Literature consist of a very few pieces. The fact that I, such a distant and outlying member of the profession, was asked to write a piece in a series to which a number of the nation’s leading economists had earlier contributed was a form of flattery that I could not resist no matter how skeptical I have been, and remain, about the contributions of even our most distinguished contemporary economists. It may help the reader to understand how much of an outlier I am if I list what I failed to learn during my undergraduate and graduate years, all of which were spent at Columbia University...
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