Australian economics has misplaced one in every of its most internationally famend students with the passing of Geoffrey Harcourt AC on the age of 90. He was additionally one in every of its most prolific.
He wrote greater than 30 books and 400 articles.
The award of Companion within the Order of Australia in 2018 cites his
eminent service to larger schooling as an educational economist and writer, notably within the fields of post-Keynesian economics, capital principle and financial thought.
He was a distinguished fellow of the Financial Society of Australia in 1996 amongst quite a few different honours.
An historian of concepts
Geoff gained his first-class honours diploma on the College of Melbourne. It was there he made a life-long dedication to work towards assuaging poverty and in opposition to social and racial discrimination.
As he later wrote, “I turned an economist as a result of I hated injustice, unemployment and poverty”.
He then moved to Cambridge the place he bought his PhD. He was supervised by economics greats Nicky Kaldor and Ronald Henderson. He taught for a few years on the College of Adelaide.
He was not simply an ivory tower educational. He labored with some colleagues on the very sensible 1974 “Adelaide Plan”, which proposed disallowing tax deductions for wage will increase above a sure degree as a way of reining rampant inflation.
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One other a part of the plan was buying and selling off wage will increase for private earnings tax cuts. It was not adopted, however later discovered an echo within the prices-wages accords of the Hawke authorities.
He declined a suggestion by Jim Cairns, briefly treasurer within the Whitlam authorities, to be appointed Governor of the Reserve Financial institution.
When Whitlam was dismissed, Geoff’s son (the economist Tim Harcourt) recalled his father talking at a protest rally simply as he had at anti-Vietnam conflict rallies a couple of years earlier.
In 1979, through the time period of the Fraser Coalition authorities, he drafted an financial coverage programme for a future Labor authorities. He later joked that Hawke adopted it for “not less than an excellent half-hour”.
A Cambridge man
Whereas all the time Australian, he was additionally very a lot a Cambridge man. He visited there to lecture in 1964-1966, 1972-1973 and 1980. He moved there on a extra everlasting foundation from 1982 to 1998.
He was president of Jesus School for a lot of the interval 1988 to 1992. He was on the College Council for eight years.
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A few of his best-known work revolved round Cambridge. He wrote on the “Cambridge controversies”. This refers to an argument in regards to the nature of capital between economists from the College of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise.
He co-wrote the definitive mental biography of well-known Cambridge economist Joan Robinson. (Geoff, like many others, thought she ought to have been the primary lady to win the Economics Nobel Prize.)
Geoff described himself as an “all-rounder” with a variety of analysis pursuits. He’s in all probability finest remembered for his work on what’s now termed “post-Keynesian economics”.
Each authors of this hastily-written obituary bear in mind Geoff with nice affection.
Harry Bloch, the incoming co-editor of Historical past of Economics Evaluate, remembered Geoff as “the beating coronary heart of the historical past of financial thought in Australia”.
The evaluate will characteristic a tribute to Geoff in the end.
The authors don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that may profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.