[OPE-L] The Death of Robert Heilbroner

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Jan 13 2005 - 11:21:43 EST

Among other things, Bob Heilbroner was an integral part of
the political econonmy program at the New School who encouraged
the study of the history of thought and methodology. He
wasn't a Marxist, but he was an intellectual in the
finest sense of the word and an excellent teacher and mentor
with a fine -- but dry -- sense of humor.  I think that
virtually everyone who passed through the Economics Dept. at
the New School was influenced by him one way or another.

In solidarity, Jerry

New School University mourns the passing of Robert Heilbroner, Norman  Thomas
Professor Emeritus at the Graduate Faculty, who died on January 4,  2005 at
the age of 85. Author of 25 books and countless articles, Heilbroner  was an
outstanding public intellectual of the 20th century. His classic
of the history of economic thought, The Worldly Philosophers: The  Life and
Time of the Great Economists, captivated generations of readers with  its
elegantly written, witty, and probing discussions of how economists  from
Smith to Keynes struggled to understand the history of capitalism.
Heilbroner's regular contributions on economic issues in The New
Yorker and
The New York Review of Books reached readers across the public
spectrum. His
insistence that economic issues are integrally tied to moral and
psychological concerns gave his work a rare depth and spoke to the  political
nature of all social thought. Professor Heilbroner's intellectual  home was
the New School, where he spent his entire career. His 50-year
with the Graduate Faculty helped make the New School a center of
intellectual life in New York City.

First published in 1953, The Worldly Philosophers has been translated  into
22 languages and remains one of the best selling books in economics  of all
time. Heilbroner's subsequent books addressed issues as varied as the  danger
of excessive corporate power (The Limits of American Capitalism), the
adaptability of capitalist and socialist societies to radical social  and
ecological challenges (An Inquiry in the Human Prospect), the future  of
capitalism (Twenty-First Century Capitalism), the limits of
modelling as applied to economics (Behind the Veil of Economics, The  Crisis
of Vision in Modern Economic Thought, with William Milberg), the
merits of
Marxian economics (Marxism: For and Against), and the importance of  deficit
spending for economic growth (The Debt and the Deficit, with Peter
Bernstein). His academic essays focused mainly on the relevance of  the
of Schumpeter and Smith for understanding contemporary issues.

At the New School, Heilbroner taught the history of economic thought  to
generations of graduate students and spoke often at public events at  the
University and to business and labor groups around New York City. He
lectured at roughly 100 campuses around the world. In the 1970s, he  was
of the architects of the political economy program in the Economics
Department, which emphasized classical economics, economic history and
institutionalist approaches to economic theory. He also served as a
of the Editorial Board of Social Research, an interdisciplinary
based at the University.

Robert Heilbroner was born on March 24, 1919, attended Horace Mann  School
for Boys and graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in  1940. He
worked briefly for the Office of Price Administration in Washington,  D.C.
before serving in the Army on the Pacific front in World War II.
After the
War, he came back to New York, and worked as a freelance writer while  he
studied at the New School. After he joined the Economics faculty at  the New
School, he was granted a doctorate in economics from the New School  for his
book, The Making of Economic Society. He served on the executive
of the American Economic Association and as a Vice President of that
association. He was the first recipient of the "Scholar of the Year"
by the New York Council of the Humanities and also received the
Veblen-Commons Award for the Association of Evolutionary Economics.

The New School has lost one of its leading lights and a man whose  integrity
and love of intellectual debate burned brightly at the center of the
Graduate Faculty in the second half of the twentieth century. We
extend our
sincere condolences to the Heilbroner family. A memorial service for  Robert
Heilbroner will be held at New School University on Saturday, January  29,
2005. Details will be announced shortly.

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