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Sir Arthur Lewis was the first development economist, the first Afro-Caribbean to hold a professorial chair at a British university and the first black man to win the Nobel prize for economics. However, he believed his contributions to the well-being of the poor through social and political activism were as important as his economics.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. The Caribbean in Turmoil: Prologue to a Biography

Abstract
Sir Arthur Lewis is known to many as the first black (Afro-Caribbean) person to hold a professorial chair in a UK university, and as a winner of the first Nobel Prize to be awarded in Development Economics. His achievement, in fact, was very broad, and he made important contributions not only to economics, but also to political science, history and education. He aimed not only to understand the world but also to change it (as he was later to put it, ‘half my interest was in policy questions’1) and his attempts, from the 1940s to the early 1960s, to achieve a better and fairer world through social and economic reform rank equally with, even if they were much less influential than, the writings that made him famous.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

2. ‘Marvellous intellectual feasts’: The LSE Years, 1933–48

Abstract
Arthur Lewis spent a decade and a half at the London School of Economics (LSE), as a student, lecturer and researcher; and yet the record of the time he spent there is sparse. There are no personal diaries, no contemporary interviews on which to build up a picture of life at the LSE in the 1930s and 1940s from Lewis’s own perspective. As his Princeton colleague and biographer Robert Tignor observed, Lewis throughout his life was an intensely private person who allowed few people access to his innermost feelings.1 But even more than was usually the case with Lewis, he appears to have been reluctant to write about or speak of personal events and encounters in this period of his life. This is not to say that Lewis underestimated the intellectual debt that he owed to the LSE. On the contrary, over half of his short autobiographical contribution to Breit and Spencer’s Lives of the Laureates (1986) was devoted to the intellectual legacy of the LSE, where what he described as ‘marvellous intellectual feasts’ were served up by teachers such as Arnold Plant, Lionel Robbins, Friedrich Hayek and John Hicks.2 He also generously acknowledged the stimulus he had received from the company of bright and high-achieving LSE students. While Lewis mentioned no names, his distinguished contemporaries at the LSE included two trade and development economists, F. V. Meyer and Alfred Maizels. Another contemporary, born in Germany in 1915, the same year as Lewis, was the development economist H. W. Arndt, later to be a Leverhulme scholar at the LSE.3
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

3. The Colonial Office and the Genesis of Development Economics

Abstract
When he first went to London, Lewis was lonely, shunned by many because he was black, and intellectually isolated. Since the beginning, as we have seen, he had been shy and reticent in nature. This made it still harder for him to form friendships and social networks. But, as he relates, ‘some doors that were supposed to be closed opened as I approached them. I have got used to being the first black to do this or that’. On the other hand, he was ‘subjected to all the usual disabilities – refusal of accommodation, denial of jobs for which [he] had been recommended, generalized discourtesy and the rest’ (Breit and Spencer, 1986). Throughout his life, Lewis was reluctant to speak or write about his very personal experiences of racial discrimination. However, especially after the completion of his PhD in his mid-twenties, the growing support of Plant and others at the LSE gave him confidence, contacts began to be developed, and provided Lewis with a hinterland that could support him in case of need. In the field of development and left-wing politics, these contacts were of two kinds: London’s floating population of ‘anti-imperialists’, and the Fabian Society.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

4. ‘It takes hard work to be accepted in the academic world’: Manchester University, 1948–57

Abstract
‘Dr. Lewis who was recently appointed to the Readership in Colonial Economics is resigning to take up a Chair in Economics at the University of Manchester.’ This brief statement in the Minutes of the London School of Economics Professorial Council in December 1947 signalled the end of Lewis’s critical decade and a half at the LSE, the phase of his life he described so graphically in his Laureate autobiographical account, as offering him such ‘marvellous intellectual feasts’.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

5. The Manchester Years: Lewis as Social and Political Activist

Abstract
In Manchester, unlike London, the conditions in which the most distressed people live are not well screened off from the wealthy central area and university precinct. This is still true now, but was even more the case in 1951, when the welfare state was in its infancy, when thousands of vulnerable, sick and old people were killed off each winter by the smogs;1 when the housing stock of the inner-cities (and in particular Manchester)2 was dilapidated; and when anyone looking west or south-west from an upstairs window anywhere on the Manchester University central campus would find themselves looking not at comfortable, middle-class housing but at Moss Side, the poorest suburb of Manchester, where
many newly-wed couples still lived with their parents for lack of any other home; where tenement slums still existed, terraced houses could still shelter several families sharing a gas ring and a single lavatory and where families would still find they would have to wait up to 10 years for a council house.3
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

6. Why Visiting Economists Fail: The Turning Point in Ghana 1957–8

Abstract
‘Many have sought to interpret the world; the point is, to change it.’ In the field of development policy, Lewis was one of the first people to pick up on Marx’s dictum by providing advice to policy-makers wishing to intervene in or speed up the development process. We have already observed some examples of this policy advice and its results in previous chapters, in particular Lewis’s (1942b) report ‘Some Aspects of the Flow of Capital into the British Colonies’, which was his starting-point as a practitioner; his intellectual leadership of the 1951 UN mission that resulted in Measures for the Economic Development of Underdeveloped Countries (United Nations, 1951), which for the first time gave him a global reputation as a development economist; and his institution-building in Moss Side, Manchester in 1953, which sought to overcome racial discrimination against the Afro-Caribbean population of Manchester. These were all short-term assignments lasting six months or less; and yet, as we have seen, they are a key part of Lewis’s creative contribution to development.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

7. Disenchantment in the Caribbean, 1958–63

Abstract
In 1960 at the University College of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Arthur Lewis, as Principal, addressed students on their Matriculation. In his Address, Lewis described himself, like most of his audience, as a ‘new’ student, but in his case one who had been away from the West Indies for 27 years. The theme of his Address was the question of West Indian ‘identity’:
‘What is a West Indian?’ he asked the students in his Address. ‘What are we trying to be? These are the speculations of a West Indian who has been away from these islands since before you were born, and who has only just returned. It is not I who will make the image of the new West Indian, but you.’1
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

8. Princeton and Retirement, 1963–91

Abstract
Traumatized and exhausted by the experiences described in previous chapters, Lewis was profoundly relieved to receive Princeton’s offer of employment. It was to set his life on a different course. No longer would he try to ‘make people do what they did not want to do’. He was done with consultancy – or certainly with the kinds of consultancy that involved these kinds of stress. He was done with trying to ‘make a difference’, in the sense of directly seeking to change the actions of policymakers in the interests of the world’s poor. Rather, he was going to do the job he did best, being an economics professor, in an environment as far removed as possible from the world of telegrams and anger with which he had wrestled since his Colonial Office days.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

9. ‘The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge’: Lewis’s Legacy

Abstract
Lewis’s achievements were extraordinary, but they emerged from a haphazard rather than a planned process, and indeed his career can best be seen as a series of improvisations. Having planned to be an engineer, he became an economist. Having made a success of being an industrial economist, he was then overtaken by the challenge of constructing what at first he called colonial economics and then development economics. Having made a success of development economics, he felt an obligation to give something practical back to the Afro-Caribbean communities in Manchester, Ghana and the West Indies who were not fortunate enough to have the opportunities he had had, and in attempting to do so he got his fingers burnt more than once. Retreating from these bruising experiences, he did not return to development economics, but rather expanded his work on global economic history; in so doing, however, he did not scale the heights he had in the 1950s but was forced to settle for something more modest. The award of the Nobel Prize in 1979 took him by surprise when he thought he had been forgotten, and gave his career an appearance of inevitability that the reality completely lacks.
Barbara Ingham, Paul Mosley

Backmatter

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