Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Still Sorely Missed

Today would have been the 84th birthday of Professor Gary Becker, possibly the greatest social scientist who ever lived. He passed away in May, but still I cannot quite believe it. When I was at Chicago, I think only Ronald Coase and Robert Fogel were older than he, yet he was in many ways among the youngest of the participants in the many seminars in which I saw him, always curious and excited to learn new things and making pertinent comments and asking important questions.

Anyway, I talk about this because I notice the Becker-Friedman Institute at Chicago have released a number of videos from their recent conference in honour of my favourite teacher. There are also tributes of the written variety; this one really captures his love for his family, something I often heard of but that is frequently forgotten amidst his magnificent professional contributions. I also like the bit where his daughter said “He taught us how important it is to love your work. He showed what it is to work 16-hour days but but say, ‘I never worked a day in my life.’” My own very best "work" days are exactly like that. Professor Becker was an example for the rest of us to follow in so very many ways. Do give the links a gander.

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