Paul A. Samuelson quotes

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Paul A. Samuelson

Birthdate: 15. May 1915
Date of death: 13. December 2009
Other names: Пол Самуэльсон

Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist. The first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize in 1970, that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". Economic historian Randall E. Parker has called him the "Father of Modern Economics", and The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century".Samuelson was likely the most influential economist of the later 20th century. In 1996, when he was awarded the National Medal of Science, considered to be America's top science-honor, President Bill Clinton commended Samuelson for his "fundamental contributions to economic science" for over 60 years. Samuelson considered mathematics to be the "natural language" for economists and contributed significantly to the mathematical foundations of economics with his book Foundations of Economic Analysis. He was author of the best-selling economics textbook of all time: Economics: An Introductory Analysis, first published in 1948. It was the second American textbook that attempted to explain the principles of Keynesian economics. It is now in its 19th edition, having sold nearly 4 million copies in 40 languages, including Russian, French, Greek, Slovak, Chinese, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Czech, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Indonesian, Swedish, Croatian, Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic. James Poterba, former head of MIT's Department of Economics, noted that by his book, Samuelson "leaves an immense legacy, as a researcher and a teacher, as one of the giants on whose shoulders every contemporary economist stands".He entered the University of Chicago at age 16, during the depths of the Great Depression, and received his PhD in economics from Harvard. After graduating, he became an assistant professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was 25 years of age and a full professor at age 32. In 1966, he was named Institute Professor, MIT's highest faculty honor. He spent his career at MIT where he was instrumental in turning its Department of Economics into a world-renowned institution by attracting other noted economists to join the faculty, including Robert M. Solow, Franco Modigliani, Robert C. Merton, Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Paul Krugman, all of whom went on to win Nobel Prizes.

He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and was a consultant to the United States Treasury, the Bureau of the Budget and the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Samuelson wrote a weekly column for Newsweek magazine along with Chicago School economist Milton Friedman, where they represented opposing sides: Samuelson, as a self described "Cafeteria Keynesian", claimed taking the Keynesian perspective but only accepting what he felt was good in it. By contrast, Friedman represented the monetarist perspective. Together with Henry Wallich, their 1967 columns earned the magazine a Gerald Loeb Special Award in 1968. Wikipedia

Works

„I used to joke to Bob Solow that the distance between me and Joan Robinson is less than the distance between Joan Robinson and me. His reply was, “You’ll never convince her of that.”“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

Still one lives in hope.
On April 14, 1972, quoted in Marjorie Shepherd Turner, Joan Robinson and the Americans (1989)
1950s–1970s

„Moral: free markets do not stabilize themselves. Zero regulating is vastly suboptimal to rational regulating. Libertarianism is its own worst enemy!“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

New millennium, An Enjoyable Life Puzzling Over Modern Finance Theory, 2009

„I think Marshall was a great economist, but he was a potentially much greater economist than he actually was. It was not that he was lazy, but his health was not good, and he worked in miniature.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

Kotaro Suzumura, An interview with Paul Samuelson: welfare economics,“old” and “new”, and social choice theory (2005)
New millennium

„The recent market run-up that appreciated run-of-the- mill shares also chanced to send up those token gold holdings. Pure luck, undeserved and unlikely to reoccur. Good questions outrank easy answers.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

1980s–1990s
Source: Paul Anthony Samuelson, ‎Kate Crowley (1986), The Collected Scientific Papers, Volume 5, p. 561

„There is really nothing more pathetic than to have an economist or a retired engineer try to force analogies between the concepts of physics and the concepts of economics.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

Source: 1950s–1970s, Maximum Principles in Analytical Economics, 1970, p. 69
Context: There is really nothing more pathetic than to have an economist or a retired engineer try to force analogies between the concepts of physics and the concepts of economics. How many dreary papers have I had to referee in which the author is looking for something that corresponds to entropy or to one or another form of energy. Nonsensical laws, such as the law of conservation of purchasing power, represent spurious social science imitations of the important physical law of the conservation of energy; and when an economist makes reference to a Heisenberg Principle of indeterminacy in the social world, at best this must be regarded as a figure of speech or a play on words, rather than a valid application of the relations of quantum mechanics.

„I can claim that in talking about modern economics I am talking about me. My finger has been in every pie.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

February 1985, in William Breit and Roger W. Spencer (ed.) Lives of the laureates
1980s–1990s
Context: I can claim that in talking about modern economics I am talking about me. My finger has been in every pie. I once claimed to be the last generalist in economics, writing about and teaching such diverse subjects as international trade and econometrics, economic theory and business cycles, demography and labor economics, finance and monopolistic competition, history of doctrines and locational economics.

„The stock market has forecast nine of the last five recessions.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

Paul Samuelson (1966), quoted in: John C Bluedorn et al. Do Asset Price Drops Foreshadow Recessions? (2013), p. 4
1950s–1970s

„Modigliani's theory was a powerful searchlight on what was happening… It is the best explanation of what has actually been happening in the great swing of American life since the 1950's.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson

Paul Samuelson in: Louis Uchitelle. " Franco Modigliani, 85, Nobel-Winning Economist, Dies http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/26/obituaries/26MODI.html" in New York Times, September 26, 2003.
New millennium

„In the preface to the reissue of Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, Frank Knight makes the penetrating observation that under the conditions envisaged above the velocity of circulation would become infinite and so would the price level. This is perhaps an over-dramatic way of saying that nobody would hold money, and it would become a free good to go into the category of shell and other things which once served as money. We should expect too that it would not only pass out of circulation, but it would cease to be used as a conventional numeraire in terms of which prices are expressed. Interest bearing money would emerge. Of course, the above does not happen in real life, precisely because uncertainty, contingency needs, non-synchronization of revenues and outlay, transaction frictions, etc., etc., all are with us. But the abstract special case analyzed above should warn us against the facile assumption that the average levels of the structure of interest rates are determined solely or primarily by these differential factors. At times they are primary, and at other times, such as the twenties in this country, they may not be. As a generalization I should hazard the hypothesis that they are likely to be of great importance in an economy in which there is a “quasi-zero" rate of interest. I think by this hypothesis one can explain many of the anomalies of the United States money market in the thirties.“

—  Paul A. Samuelson, book Foundations of Economic Analysis

Source: 1940s, Foundations of Economic Analysis, 1947, Ch. 5 : Theory of Consumer’s Behavior

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