Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes
Chapter 2: Memorial address
We’re here tonight as the friends, family and colleagues of a great economist and an extraordinary man. You do not become an extraordinary man by accident and Mark did not become an economist by accident. But as he has said himself, the path he took within the subject was a row of accidents. His career in the economics of education began when he was looking for a job in Britain and in his own words by a fluke bumped into the director of London University’s Institute of Education, who told him he had a job going. The fact that until then Mark, probably like most economists in those days, had barely heard of the economics of education, did nothing to put him off. He was quickly off around the world as an adviser to governments in developing countries. The advice was good – particularly when he urged them to put primary education first and only then think about expanding the universities – but not always listened to, and Mark has told how frustrated he got with governments who had all the rhetoric about growth and enterprise and promptly pursued polices that made sure there was very little of either. Mark’s connection with history of economic thought also began accidentally, in the sense that he and it came together because no one else was available to teach the subject at Yale.
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