John Rae (economist)

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John Rae (June 1, 1796, Footdee, Aberdeen – July 12, 1872, New York), was a Scottish/Canadian economist. He was born to an unknown mother and a merchant father whose bankruptcy caused him to move to Montreal in 1822, after he graduated from the University of Aberdeen. Later, he moved to Williamston and Hamiliton in Ontario, Canada where his wife died of cholera. He was well acquainted with the Scottish/Canadian community and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In Canada he worked as a timber trader, schoolteacher and a doctor. In 1834, he moved to Boston and New York where he also worked as a teacher. He went on to Central America where he was a physician, and he moved with the gold-miners to California in 1849, and a couple years later, poor and sick of malaria, he finds enough money to board a ship to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi where he worked as many different professions. He was a medical officer for the Hawaiian Board of Health and vaccinated a number of native children of smallpox. He was geologist and wrote papers on the geology of the islands. He was also a historian in Hāna, Maui, writings articles for the newspaper Polynesian. He also wrote a number of manuscripts, but these were lost in a fire at Lahainaluna Seminary. His most famous work was the Statement of Some New Principles on the Subject of Political Economy. Influenced by both Adam Smith and David Hume, his influence lingered all the way to the 20th century. So much so that economist Irving Fisher and Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk prefaced their work with Rae's, thanking him for contributions to modern economics while very few had heard of his work.

Sources[edit]

  • Goodwin, Craufurd D.W. (1961) - Canadian Economic Thought: The Political Economy of a Developing Nation 1814-1914, Duke University Press
  • James, R. Warren (1965) - John Rae, political economist. An account of his life and a compilation of his main writings (2 vols.), Toronto.
  • Schumpeter, Joseph Aloys (1954) - History of Economic Analysis, New York

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