Paul Samuelson, Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of the biggest-selling economics textbook in history, died yesterday at his home in Belmont, Massachusetts. He was 94.
Samuelson’s death was announced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he spent most of his professional life and was a professor emeritus.
Samuelson was a dominating figure in the economics profession in the US from the late 1930s through the 1960s, and his influence on the field is difficult to overstate. His textbook Economics introduced generations of undergraduates to the subject, while his Foundations of Economic Analysis moved economics a long way from the literary exercise it once was to the scientific and mathematical discipline it has become.
Samuelson, or PAS, as he referred to himself, was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in economics, winning it in 1970 for “raising the level of analysis in economic science.”
“The work he did, with no hyperbole, revolutionized numerous fields, including public finance, international trade and macroeconomics,” said Alan Blinder, a former student of Samuelson’s who went on to become vice chairman at the Federal Reserve.
Even before his Nobel Prize, Samuelson had stacked up a list of accomplishments. He published his first paper when he was 21, won the David A. Wells prize in 1941 for writing the best doctoral dissertation at Harvard University in economics, and was awarded the John Bates Clark medal in 1947, given annually by the American Economic Association to an outstanding economist under the age of 40.
Samuelson began teaching at MIT in 1940 and became a full professor six years later. Three of his graduate students, Lawrence Klein, George Akerlof and Joseph Stiglitz, went on to win Nobel Prizes.
“He had a lively and exciting mind,” said Stiglitz, who maintains that many of Samuelson’s ideas, especially those concerning trade theory and international economics, continue to grow in influence because of globalization. “Some of the work he did 50 years ago is more important today than it was then.”
Indiana University professor Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, professor emeritus at University of California at Berkeley, this year won the Nobel Prize for economics.
For non-economists, Samuelson’s most important work was his textbook. First published in 1948, the book was widely adopted because it attempted to teach students, in an elementary way, how to analyze everyday questions about the economy, according to Robert Solow, also a Nobel Prize winning economist who wrote several papers and a book with Samuelson.
“His book had a livelier look, a livelier language and above all, it actually taught economics as an activity, as a way of asking and answering questions,” Solow said.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big