In her breathtakingly simple, moving and beautiful speech at the United Nations last year, Malala Yousafzai wrote herself into history. A more fortright plaidoyer for what really can change the world – empowering knowledge and education for all – has seldom been heard. Malala is a living proof that not even the most heinous totalitarianism can defeat young people’s call for for education and justice.
One of the most touching videos I have ever seen.
Last night (Oct. 23) at 11:20 PM, CDT, prominent heterodox economist, Fred Lee of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, died of cancer. He had stopped teaching during the last spring semester and was honored at the 12th International Post Keynesian Conference held at UMKC a month ago …
Whatever one thinks of heterodox economics in general, or of the views of Fred Lee in particular, he should be respected as the person more than any other who was behind the founding of the International Conference of Associations for Pluralism in Economics (ICAPE), and also the Heterodox Economics Newsletter. While many talked about the need for there to be an organized group pushing heterodox economics in all its varieties, Fred did more than talk and went and organized the group and its main communications outlet. He also regularly and strongly spoke in favor of heterodox economics, the unity of which he may have exaggerated. But his voice in advocating the superiority of heterodox economics over mainstream neoclassical economics was as strong as that of anybody that I have known. I also note that he was the incoming President for the Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE), and they will now have to find a replacement. He had earlier stepped down from his positions with ICAPE and the Heterodox Economics Newsletter.
It was both sad and moving to see Fred at the PK conference last month in Kansas City … Although he was having trouble even breathing and could barely even speak, he rose and made his comments, at the end becoming impassioned and speaking up forcefully to proclaim his most firmly held positions. He declared that his entire career had been devoted to battling for the downtrodden, poor, and suffering around the world, “against the 1% percent!” and I know that there was not a single person in that standing room only audience who doubted him. He openly wept after he finished with those stirring words, as those who were not already standing rose to applaud him with a standing ovation.
Fred was together with Nai Pew Ong and Bob Pollin one of those who made a visit to University of California such a great experience back in the beginning of the 1980s for a young Swedish economics student. I especially remember our long and intense discussions on Sraffa and neoricardianism. I truly miss this open-minded and good-hearted heterodox economist. Rest in peace my dear old friend.