Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A moving obiturary


This obituary by Landes' son is moving. I am reading a biography of AO Hirshmann whose life, in some ways, reflects that of Landes.

In part, his son writes:

In a sense, his entire oeuvre was dedicated to answering the question “why the West?” (or more specifically, how is it that the West generated a culture of economic development that most other cultures have difficulty imitating?) His students and family would joke that his course on economic history was unofficially entitled “The West and the Rest.”

He was, accordingly, admired and denounced for being a Eurocentric historian, a perspective increasingly considered not politically correct, even as the evidence for the uniqueness of the West continued (and continues) to pile up.

His Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are so Rich and Some are so Poor (1998) embodies his approach to the importance of culture in contributing to either economic development or poverty.

He served as Chairman of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East in the 1970s. He was devoted to Judaism, the Jewish people and the land of Israel, a legacy continued by his descendants.

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