Alexander Cairncross (economist)
Sir Alexander Kirkland "Alec" Cairncross KCMG FBA FRSE (11 February 1911 – 21 October 1998) was a British economist. He was the brother of the spy John Cairncross and father of journalist Frances Cairncross and public health engineer and epidemiologist Sandy Cairncross.
He was born in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, the seventh of eight children of an ironmonger, and went to Hamilton Academy, then won a scholarship to Glasgow University, where he specialised in economics. He then went to Trinity College, Cambridge.
After taking a first in the Economic Tripos, he became a lecturer in economics, under the considerable influence of John Maynard Keynes (author of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and one of the leading lights of the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, which saw the founding of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund).
During World War II, most of his work was in the Ministry of Aircraft Production, where he rose to become Director of Programmes. In 1946 he served briefly on the staff of The Economist, and subsequently became adviser to the Board of Trade. He was seconded to be the economic adviser to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation in Paris in 1949. and he left to become Professor of Applied Economics at his old university, Glasgow, in 1951.
Cairncross was instrumental in founding the Scottish Economic Society and was, in 1954, the first editor of its Scottish Journal of Political Economy. Cairncross served as an economic adviser to the UK government (1961–64), Head of the Government Economic Service (1964–69) and Master of St Peter's College, Oxford (1969–78), Chancellor of the University of Glasgow (1972–96), and was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
In 1970 he was invited to deliver the MacMillan Memorial Lecture to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. He chose the subject 'Economic Growth'.
The Scottish Economic Society instituted the Cairncross Prize in his memory.
|Chancellor of the University of Glasgow
1972 to 1996
Sir William Kerr Fraser