When I was in the White House, I used to bristle when people would say I was a Keynesian economist. They acted as if I believed that fiscal stimulus mattered because of some theoretical book written in 1936, or because of what I was taught in graduate school. I used to say that I am not a Keynesian economist, I am an empirical economist. I believe what I do because of the empirical evidence.
— Christina Romer (University of California, Berkeley)
Kenneth Rogoff: “Those who believe — often with quasi-religious conviction — that we need even more Keynesian fiscal stimulus, and should ignore government debt, seem to me to be panicking.”
Since we’re giving opinions — let’s call them “seems to me-isms” — rather [than] analysis, let me give mine: “Those who believe — often with quasi-religious neoclassical conviction — that no further Keynesian fiscal stimulus is needed, and that government debt cannot be ignored, seem to me to be insensitive to the needs of the millions of unemployed, and at odds with the available evidence.”
As for the snide remark about “panicking,” for those who are truly panicking due to the struggles they face finding a job, paying the bills, and so on, some urgency from policymakers would be much appreciated.
— Mark Thoma (University of Oregon)
The greatest living economist has passed away.
This statement is not intended as a subjective judgment of the accuracy of his theories or my opinion of his political views, though both rank very high. It is simply a fact that no economist since John Maynard Keynes has been so influential (and indeed, though Keynes’s theories were more groundbreaking, Samuelson’s may have inspired more intellectual output).
I wish I had the time or the insights to wish him a proper farewell, but alas I am deep in the second draft of my book and would probably have little to add to the many eulogies that will come from across the academic world (for example, Real Time Economics has a smattering of economist reactions). The New York Times has a deservedly long article celebrating his major achievements. I encourage you to read it all. Continue reading “19 Days To Go: The Late Great Paul Samuelson”