Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this...

...because of what it might reveal about my reading habits, but I just now learned of Paul Samuelson's death, and from a blog, not a newspaper.

I don't generally note deaths here, even of notable people (though in recent months I did make exceptions for Kennedy and McNamara, in both cases because there was something I thought I wanted to say, even if not at much length). Not being an economist, I have nothing really to say about Samuelson except the most trivial, solipsistic thing: sitting on my bookcase -- actually now it's on my desk as I'm typing this -- is the tenth edition of Samuelson's Economics (copyright 1976), and suffice to say that it was brand new when I bought it. I don't do the confessional mode much, but I suddenly feel older than I did ten minutes ago (of course I am ten minutes older, but you know what I mean). It was not my favorite book, but I duly read it (well, parts of it), and I managed to pass the course (no, you may not ask what my grade was). I suppose I might even have managed to learn some basic "mainstream" economics, circa 1976.

Contrary to some advice for students going around these days -- there is so much more advice available now -- I did not "tech up" in college: no economics beyond the intro course, no statistics; but then I was never that way inclined. Nowadays, if I really put my mind to it, I can (more or less) understand quantitative articles in my field, or at least get the gist (unless they're only about methodology, in which case maybe not). But that's about it. Oh well.

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