The Public Interest

Cambridge (U.K.) vs. Cambridge (Mass.)

James Tobin

Spring 1973

AT New Orleans in December 1971, British economist Joan Robin- son scolded the American economists in convention assembled.She had the prime-time audience appropriate to her towering stature in the profession, recognized by the American Economic Association in inviting her to give its annual Richard T. Ely lecture. Mrs. Robinson is always eloquent, and she is formidably eloquent when charged with righteous anger. The targets of her indictment loved every word. Since her main complaints were against abstract theory, perhaps each listener was glad to hear a speaker with impeccable theoretical credentials tell off those other fellows who clutter up the journals with fancy models and mathematics.

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