Sidney Weintraub was born in Brooklyn on 28 April 1914 and, like many young Americans, grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player. The aura of Ebbetts Field clearly isolated Flatbush from the Wall Street stock market boom and the subsequent crash which took place across the East River in Manhattan. It was only after he had recognised that a sports career was not to be his that Weintraub concentrated his attention on the economic problems of the day. The result was one of the most original and imaginative approaches to economic theory of the post-war period. In an autobiographical essay written just before his death on 19 June 1983, he described himself as a ’Jevonian seditionist’, recalling a passage from Jevon’s Theory of Political Economy: `. .. authority has ever been the great opponent of truth. A despotic calm is usually the triumph of error. In the republic of sciences sedition and even anarchy are beneficial in the long run to the greatest happiness of the greatest number.’ Weintraub was too original an economist to generate the consensus for his positions required for consideration for a Nobel prize nomination. He was more interested in finding solutions to theoretical questions with practical relevance, solutions which would also have practical applicability. Two interconnected episodes best characterise this aspect of his approach to the subject.
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