Keynes on the Master Economist

Keynes once wrote that the ‘master economist’ must fulfill an extraordinary set of attributes:

He must be a mathematician, historian, statesman, [and] philosopher […] He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near the earth as a politician.*

* The quote is from an essay on Alfred Marshall.


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