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THE LIFE OF AN ECONOMIST by Charles P. Kindleberger

THE LIFE OF AN ECONOMIST

: An Autobiography

By Charles P. Kindleberger

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 1-55786-109-9

 A pleasant account of the pleasant life of an elder statesman of international economics. Kindleberger (Economics/MIT) aptly describes his career in government and academia as ``intellectual hit-and-run.'' Born in New York in 1910 to a middle-class professional family, he was attracted to economics as an undergraduate at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. After receiving a doctorate from Columbia in 1937, he worked for the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Board, and Bank for International Settlements before joining allied intelligence in WWII to plan bombing targets in the European theater. Kindleberger knew many of the best and the brightest of Great Britain and the US then involved in the war effort, and here concisely recounts strategic debates over the best use of air power to cripple Germany's wartime infrastructure. He stayed in Europe to assist the rebuilding of postwar Europe and resolve various trade problems on the war-torn continent. His fame, however, rests on his academic work. Tenured at MIT, he wrote an international economics textbook that was a standard for two decades, as well as scores of books and papers on subjects ranging from the financial history of Europe and speculative bubbles to the multinational corporation. Kindleberger says he is from the last generation of economists trained before the rigorous math of econometrics took over research in the field. He willingly accepts the label ``literary economist,'' reflected not only in his academic approach but also his deft prose, perfectly pitched to the amiable tone of his reminiscences. Kindleberger has made a lot of friends in his long career (and he seems to mention them all here). This bland but warm account won't lose him any.