Mordecai Ezekiel

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Mordecai Joseph Brill Ezekiel (May 10, 1899 – October 31, 1974) was an American agrarian economist who worked for the United States government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).[1][2] He was a "New Deal economic advisor" who shaped much of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt's agricultural policy.[3]



He is credited with formulating the details of what was to become the Agriculture Adjustment Administration, and helped prepare a draft of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. After the 1932 presidential election, he also met with President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, Rexford Tugwell, M. L. Wilson, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., to discuss the farm policy of the new administration.

  • 1930–1933 – Assistant Chief Economist for the Federal Farm Board
  • 1933–1944 – Economic Advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture
  • 1944–1947 – Economic Advisor in the Bureau of Agriculture Economics
    • 1944 – member of the UN Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture
    • 1945 – served as a member of two of the FAO's first field missions to Greece and Poland
  • 1947–1962 – at FAO: Economist in charge of the Economic Analysis Branch, Deputy Director of the Economics Division, Head of the Economics Department, Assistant Director General in charge of the Economics Department, and Special Assistant to the Director General
  • 1962–1967 – Chief of the UN Division of the United States Agency for International Development

He and G.C. Haas described the pork cycle.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Richmond, Virginia, he was the son of Jacob and Rachel Brill Ezekiel (who had been a secretary to the suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt). He had two brothers, Walter Naphtali Ezekiel, a plant pathologist, and Raphael Ezekiel, a graduate of West Point, and one sister, Bertha Brill Ezekiel (Topkis).

Ezekiel married Lucille Finsterwald and they had three children—David, Jonathan, and Margot. He was also the uncle of the Hebrew poet Yosef Yehezkel. A scholarship in his name was endowed at the University of Maryland in 1974.[3]

Select bibliography[edit]

  • "The Cobweb Theorem" (PDF). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 52 (2): 255–280. February 1938. doi:10.2307/1881734. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-16.
  • Jobs for All Through Industrial Expansion. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1939.[6]
  • Towards World Prosperity: Through Industrial and Agricultural Development and Expansion. Harper & Brothers. 1947.


  1. ^ "Papers of Mordecai J. B. Ezekiel". FDR Presidential Library. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Papers of Mordecai J. B. Ezekiel" (PDF). Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Dr. Mordecai Ezekiel Memorial Fund". University of Maryland. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Mordecai Ezekiel". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  5. ^ Phillips, Ralph W. (1981). "The Founding of FAO". FAO: Its Origins, Formation and Evolution, 1945–1981. Rome: UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
  6. ^ David Jennings (Winter 1940). "Jobs for All, through Industrial Expansion by Mordecai Ezekiel". Science & Society. 4 (1): 93–96. JSTOR 40399306.