Angus Maddison, RIP

By Felix Salmon
April 30, 2010
Angus Maddison's magisterial The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. The product of a lifetime's erudition and research, it might get updated over the coming few decades but I doubt it will be replaced for a very long time, if ever.

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photo.jpgMy reference library is the internet. But I do have a few indispensible books on my shelves, and right next to the OED is Angus Maddison’s magisterial The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. The product of a lifetime’s erudition and research, it might get updated over the coming few decades but I doubt it will be replaced for a very long time, if ever.

I just came across Maddison’s name yesterday, as I was reading Matt Ridley’s new book, and he dropped in the fact that China was the only country in the world to have lower GDP in 1950 than it had in 1000. That’s the kind of thing which no one knew, certainly not with any confidence, before Maddison came along.

Maddison died on April 24, I just found out. The Economist has an excellent obituary. But as far as the economic literature is concerned, he’s one of the immortals.

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