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Re: Why intellectual history is important



"Frankly, one is not quite bothered whether Schultz or anyone else started >
this theory."

Intellectual history is important because it records who held to what belief
publicly under what circumstances of adversity, and, by extension who else has
been a a later convert or merely intellectually opportunistic or a
fellow-traveller.  To find oneself in a minority of one with the established
power-structure against one is not pleasant, and that has been the experience of
many, many notable people in history, from Jesus to Galileo to, let us say,
Bakunin and Sakharov and Wei Jing Sheng.  It takes guts to withstand the
pressure.

In India, the original hero of Indian liberalism among economists was the late
B.  R.  Shenoy -- an RBI economist who was a student of Hayek's, and who in the
1950s and early 1960s took on the power-structure of Mahalanobis et al
single-handed, was blackballed in the Indian profession, and suffered other
consequences.  (There really ought to be a B.  R.  Shenoy Prize for the best
essay on liberal economics in India every year...  perhaps there is one at the
University of Ahmedabad, cf.  Prof.  M.  P.  Bhatt, Shenoy's successor there.)

To hold classical liberal or free market views even in Western Universities as
late as the late 1970s and early and mid 1980s was often an extremely difficult
and risky thing to do.  To do so behind the Iron Curtain was often even more courageous.
To hold liberal views now is rather too easy.

Subroto Roy.

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