“By 1935 economics entered into a mathematical epoch. It became easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a non-mathematical genius to enter into the pantheon of original theorists.” Paul Samuelson (1976: 25)
This sharp and meaningful quote taken from Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences Paul Samuelson’s eulogy for an influential and notable Harvard economist, government adviser and public intellectual Alvin Hansen. Hansen is best known (but not enough nowadays) for successfully introducing and spreading Keynesian economics in the United States from the 1930s onwards, and for spelling out the implications of the Keynes macroeconomic model for fiscal policy. Read more about his life and scientific contribution, in light of the 20th century’s history of economic thought, in this short instructive article (open access), which ends with these words: “To [Hansen economics] was the fascinating study of how to improve the lot of humanity”:
Samuelson, Paul. 1976. “Alvin Hansen as a Creative Economic Theorist.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 90 (1): 24-31.