Jacob Viner

Frank Knight Milton Friedman JSTOR (identifier)
Jacob Viner
Jacob Viner.jpg
Born(1892-05-03)May 3, 1892
DiedSeptember 12, 1970(1970-09-12) (aged 78)
NationalityCanadian
InstitutionUniversity of Chicago
Princeton University
FieldEconomics
School or
tradition
Chicago School of Economics
Alma materHarvard University (Ph.D.), McGill University
InfluencesFrank W. Taussig, Frank Knight

Jacob Viner (/ˈvnər/; May 3, 1892 – September 12, 1970) was a Canadian economist and is considered with Frank Knight and Henry Simons to be one of the "inspiring" mentors of the early Chicago School of Economics in the 1930s: he was one of the leading figures of the Chicago faculty.[1] Paul Samuelson named Viner (along with Harry Gunnison Brown, Allyn Abbott Young, Henry Ludwell Moore, Frank Knight, Wesley Clair Mitchell, and Henry Schultz) as one of the several "American saints in economics" born after 1860.[2]

Early life

Viner was born to a Jewish family[3] in 1892 in Montreal, Quebec, to Romanian immigrant parents. He earned his undergraduate degree at McGill University in 1914. He received a PhD at Harvard University, where he wrote his dissertation, under trade economist Frank W. Taussig.[4]

Academic career

Viner was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1916 to 1917 and from 1919 to 1946. At various times, Viner also taught at Stanford and Yale Universities and twice went to the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1946 he left for Princeton University, where he remained until his retirement, in 1960.[5][6] He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton from 1947 to 1948 and a permanent member there from 1950 to 1970.[7][8]

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman studied under Viner while he was at the University of Chicago.[citation needed]

Public service

Viner played a role in government, most notably as an advisor to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. During World War II, he served as co-rapporteur to the economic and financial group of the Council on Foreign Relations' "War and Peace Studies" project, along with Harvard economist Alvin Hansen.[9]

Work

Economics

Viner was a noted opponent of John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression. While he agreed with the policies of government spending pushed by Keynes, Viner argued that Keynes's analysis was flawed and would not stand in the long run.

Known for his economic modeling of the firm, including the long- and the short-run cost curves, his work is still used today.[10]

Viner is further known for having added the terms "trade creation" and "trade diversion" to the canon of economics in 1950. He also made important contributions to the theory of international trade and to the history of economic thought. While he was at Chicago, Viner co-edited the Journal of Political Economy with Frank Knight.

His work, Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1937), discusses the history of economic thought and is a historical source for the Bullionist controversy in 19th-century Britain.

Atomic bomb

Viner spoke at the Conference on Atomic Energy Control in 1945, stating "that the atomic bomb was the cheapest way yet devised of killing human beings" and that atomic bombs "will be peacemaking in effect," perhaps making him the founder of nuclear deterrence.[11]

Major publications

References

  1. ^ Alan O. Ebenstein, Hayek's journey: the mind of Friedrich Hayek, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 164–165
  2. ^ Ryan, Christopher Keith (1985). "Harry Gunnison Brown: economist". Iowa State University. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  3. ^ edited by Stephen Harlan Norwood, Eunice G. Pollack Encyclopedia of American Jewish History, Volume 1 August 2007
  4. ^ "Viner, Jacob". etcweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  5. ^ "Jacon Viner". britannica. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  6. ^ Leitch, Alexander (1978). "Viner, Jacob". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  7. ^ "Jacob Viner". britannica. 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  8. ^ Leitch, Alexander (1978). "Viner, Jacob". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  9. ^ Michael Wala (1994). The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War. Berghahn Books. p. 38. The rapporteurs of the Economic and Financial Group
  10. ^ Viner, Jacob (1931). "Cost Curves and Supply Curves". Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie. 3 (1): 23–46. doi:10.1007/BF01316299. JSTOR 41792520. Reprinted in R. B. Emmett, ed. 2002, The Chicago Tradition in Economics, 1892–1945, Routledge, v. 6, pp. 192–215.
  11. ^ Richard Rhodes (1986). The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. pp. 753.