Jacob Viner

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Jacob Viner
Born (1892-05-03)May 3, 1892
Montreal, Canada
Died September 12, 1970(1970-09-12) (aged 78)
Princeton, New Jersey
Nationality Canadian
Institution University of Chicago, Princeton University
Field Economics
School/tradition Chicago School of Economics
Alma mater Harvard University (Ph.D.), McGill University
Influences Frank W. Taussig, Frank Knight
Influenced George Stigler, Milton Friedman

Jacob Viner (May 3, 1892 – September 12, 1970) was a Canadian economist and is considered with Frank Knight and Henry Simons to be one of the "inspiring" mentors of the early Chicago School of Economics in the 1930s: he was one of the leading figures of the Chicago faculty.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Viner was born in 1892 in Montreal, Quebec, to Romanian immigrant parents and earned his undergraduate degree at McGill University in 1914. He received a PhD at Harvard University, where he wrote his dissertation under the renowned international trade economist Frank W. Taussig.

In academia[edit]

Viner was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1916 to 1917 and from 1919 to 1946. At various times Viner also taught at Stanford and Yale universities and twice went to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1946 he left for Princeton University, where he remained until his retirement in 1960.[2][3]

As a professor, Viner had a reputation as being extremely tough and many students were terrified by the prospect of studying under him. To his friends and family, however, he was known to be wise, witty, and kind. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman studied under Viner while he was at the University of Chicago.[citation needed]

Public service[edit]

Viner played a role in government, most notably as an advisor to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During World War II he served as co-rapporteur to the economic and financial group of the Council on Foreign Relations' "War and Peace Studies" project, along with Harvard economist Alvin Hansen.[4]

Work[edit]

Economics[edit]

Viner was a noted opponent of John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression. While he agreed with the policies of government spending that Keynes pushed for, Viner argued that Keynes's analysis was flawed and would not stand in the long run.

Known for his enduring economic modeling of the firm, including the long- and short-run cost curves, his work is still used today.[5] Viner is further known for having added the terms "trade creation" and "trade diversion" to the canon of economics in 1950. He also made important contributions to the theory of international trade and to the history of economic thought. While he was at Chicago, Viner co-edited the Journal of Political Economy with Frank Knight.

His most influential work, Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1937), discusses the history of economic thought and is a source for much of the knowledge of the Bullionist controversy in 19th-century Britain.

Atomic bomb[edit]

Viner spoke at the Conference on Atomic Energy Control in 1945, stating "that the atomic bomb was the cheapest way yet devised of killing human beings" and that atomic bombs "will be peacemaking in effect", perhaps making him the founder of nuclear deterrence.[6]

Major publications[edit]

  • "Some Problems of Logical Method in Political Economy", 1917, JPE
  • "Price Policies: the determination of market price", 1921.
  • Dumping: A problem in international trade, 1923.
  • Canada's Balance of International Indebtedness: 1900–1913, 1924.
  • "The Utility Concept in Value Theory and its Critics", 1925, JPE.
  • "Adam Smith and Laissez-Faire", 1927, Journal of Political Economy, 35(2), pp. 198–232.
  • "The Present Status and Future Prospects of Quantitative Economics", 1928, AER
  • "Mills' Behavior of Prices", 1929, QJE
  • "Costs Curves and Supply Curves," Zeitschrift für Nationalölkonomie, 3, pp. 23–46. Reprinted in R. B. Emmett, ed. 2002, The Chicago Tradition in Economics, 1892–1945, Routledge, v. 6, pp. 192–215.
  • "The Doctrine of Comparative Costs", 1932, WWA
  • "Inflation as a Possible Remedy for the Depression", 1933, Proceedings of Institute of Public Affairs, Univ. of Georgia
  • "Mr. Keynes on the Causes of Unemployment", 1936, QJE.
  • Studies in the Theory of International Trade, 1937.
  • "The Short View and the Long in Economic Policy," American Economic Review, 30(1), Part 1 1940, pp. 1–15.
  • "Marshall's Economics, in Relation to the Man and to his Times", 1941, AER
  • Trade Relations Between Free-Market and Controlled Economies, 1943.
  • "International Relations between State-Controlled National Economies", 1944, AER.
  • "Prospects for Foreign Trade in the Post-War World", 1946, Manchester Statistical Society.
  • "Power Versus Plenty as Objectives of Foreign Policy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries", 1948, World Politics
  • "Bentham and J.S. Mill: the Utilitarian Background", 1949, AER
  • The Customs Union Issue, 1950.
  • "A Modest Proposal for Some Stress on Scholarship in Graduate Training", 1950 (reprinted in 1991)
  • International Economics, 1951.
  • International Trade and Economic Development, 1952.
  • "Schumpeter's History of Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, 44(5), 1954, pp. 894–910.
  • "`Fashion' in Economic Thought", 1957, Report of 6th Conference of Princeton Graduate Alumni
  • "International Trade Theory and its Present-Day Relevance", 1955, Economics and Public Policy
  • The Long View and the Short: Studies in Economic Theory, 1958.
  • "Stability and Progress: the poorer countries' problem", 1958, in Hague, editor, Stability and Progress in the World Economy
  • Five Lectures on Economics and Freedom, 1959 (Wabash Lectures, publ. 1991)
  • "The Intellectual History of Laissez-Faire", 1960, J Law Econ
  • "Hayek on Freedom and Coercion", 1960, Southern EJ
  • "Relative Abundance of the Factors and International Trade", 1962, Indian EJ
  • "The Necessary and Desirable Range of Discretion to be Allowed to a Monetary Authority", 1962, in Yeager, editor, In Search of a Monetary Constitution
  • "Progressive Individualism as Original Sin", 1963, Canadian J of Econ & Poli Sci
  • "The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill", 1963, Univ of Toronto Quarterly
  • "The Economist in History", 1963, American Economic Review, 53(2), pp. 1–22
  • "The United States as a Welfare State", 1963, in Higgenbotham, editor, Man, Science, Learning and Education
  • Problems of Monetary Control, 1964.
  • "Comment on my 1936 Review of Keynes", 1964, in Lekachman, editor, Keynes's General Theory
  • "Introduction", in J. Rae, Life of Adam Smith, 1965.
  • "Adam Smith", 1968, in Sills, editor, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences
  • "Mercantilist Thought", 1968, in Sills, editor, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences
  • "Man's Economic Status", 1968, in Clifford, editor, Man Versus Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain.
  • "Satire and Economics in the Augustan Age of Satire", 1970, in Miller et al., editors, The Augustan Milieu
  • The Role of Providence in the Social Order, 1972.
  • Religious Thought and Economic Society, 1978.
  • Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics, 1991.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan O. Ebenstein, Hayek's journey: the mind of Friedrich Hayek, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 164–165
  2. ^ "Jacon Viner". britannica. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  3. ^ Leitch, Alexander (1978). "Viner, Jacob". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  4. ^ Michael Wala (1994). The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War. Berghahn Books. p. 38. "The rapporteurs of the Economic and Financial Group" 
  5. ^ Jacob Viner, 1931. "Costs Curves and Supply Curves", Zeitschrift für Nationalölkonomie, 3, pp. 23–46. Reprinted in R. B. Emmett, ed. 2002, The Chicago Tradition in Economics, 1892–1945, Routledge, v. 6, pp. 192–215.
  6. ^ Richard Rhodes (1986). The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. p. 753. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Markwell, Donald, John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace, Oxford University Press, 2008.

External links[edit]