Friday, August 30, 2013

David S. Landes, 1924-2013

We are saddened to report the passing of well-known economic historian David S. Landes on August 17, 2013, at the age of 89. Harvard's Department of Economics has published an obituary, as did the Boston Globe. Both are based on the obituary written by his son, Richard, here. An additional notice can be found in the Harvard Gazette. [Update: The New York Times published an obituary on September 7.]
   Landes's work focused on entrepreneurship and economic development, particularly on the issue of "the rise of the West." He came to Harvard University in 1964, where he remained throughout his career, retiring in 1997 as Coolidge Professor of History and Professor of Economics. Among his many works are
  • Bankers and Pashas: International Finance and Economic Imperialism in Egypt (Harvard University Press, 1958) (which originated as his 1953 Harvard doctoral dissertation)
  • The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 1969)
  • Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (Harvard University Press, 1983)
  • The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Are Some So Rich and Others So Poor? (W. W. Norton, 1998)
Landes can be seen discussing  The Wealth and Poverty of Nations on C-Span in 1998; The American Interest has made available his 2008 interview with Francis Fukuyama as well as his essay on Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
    Comments on his passing can be found here (Brad DeLong), here (Richard Langlois), here (Michael Collins Dunn)m and here (Davis Dyer).