Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Belated Tribute to Max Hartwell

The Mont Pelerin Society. Early 1980s.

Third Row: Ed Feulner, Allen Wallis, Carl-Johan Westholm, Rose Friedman, Peter Beanholz, Charles King Arthur Seldon, Leon Liggio
Second Row: Max Hartwell, Henry Maivne, Gary Becker, Richard Ware, Arvid Fredburg, Ralph Harris
Front Row: Antonio Martino, Herbet Giersch, Manuel Ayau, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Chiaki Nishiyama

I know JD Sallinger died, but I was not a fan... sorry. However, when someone like Max Hartwell passes, I will write a bit about his from obituary sources. First, I must say that the only thing that unites Professor Hartwell and I is our passion for common sense economics devoid of a "statist" mindset... that's it, that's about as much as I know about economics and where Hartwell sores above the rest.

...Hartwell was a great teacher with an irreverent sense of humour. He loved provoking people and students who could stand up to him became his friends; many are now eminent themselves. Most of the articles he published originated as lectures. His collection The Industrial Revolution and Economic Growth (1971) stands well-used on the shelves of economic historians throughout the world, and still informs many lectures on the subject.

After he semi-retired from Oxford in 1977, Hartwell taught every autumn at the University of Virginia and often at the University of Chicago. A keen controversialist, he was long a member (and for two years President) of the Mont Pelerin Society founded in 1947 by Friedrich Hayek to defend liberal thinking; Hartwell was given to musing about Hayek's reference to the unintended consequences of well-intentioned actions. ...
(Online Library of Liberty)
We are sad to note the passing in March of Ronald Max Hartwell who was one of the greatest economic historians of the industrial revolution. Beginning his career in a small town in country New South Wales, Australia he later moved to Oxford University where he spent his academic life at Nuffield College. Hartwell challenged the Marxist orthodoxy which argued that the Industrial Revolution was largely a disaster for the working class. On the contrary, Hartwell urged, it lead to the greatest expansion of wealth for ordinary people that the world has ever seen. He was interviewed by Patrick O'Brien in one of Liberty Fund's Intellectual Portrait Series in 2000. A DVD of this interview can be purchased, the audio track is available online in various formats, or one can listen online here:


An article for those that like to chew on history: