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Hans Brems (1915-2000)

Hans Brems (1915-2000) American automobile industry, which Hans (in a move reminiscent of Alfred Marshall’s tour of American industry) had visited while in the United States. Economics and Mathematics Hans joined the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1954. Shortly thereafter he spoke to the departmental seminar on the growing trend to mathematize economic theory. In listing the reasons for this trend, especially in American economics, he observed that the influx of European scholars before and after World War II brought to our shores some economists who, at first, were more fluent in mathematics than they were in the English language. Consequently, they found mathematical economics easier than exposition in English. At the same time, many American economists had acquired along their educational paths what might be called a reading knowledge of the rather elementary mathematics then being used in economics. They were often more proficient in that mathematics than in the immigrants’ native languages. Thus, communication about economic theory between the two groups was conveniently done in the language of mathematics. This pragmatic view of one of the forces driving a revolution in economics was typical of Hans’s approach to explanation and problem solving. One http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Political Economy Duke University Press

Hans Brems (1915-2000)

History of Political Economy , Volume 33 (3) – Sep 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0018-2702
eISSN
1527-1919
DOI
10.1215/00182702-33-3-641
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American automobile industry, which Hans (in a move reminiscent of Alfred Marshall’s tour of American industry) had visited while in the United States. Economics and Mathematics Hans joined the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1954. Shortly thereafter he spoke to the departmental seminar on the growing trend to mathematize economic theory. In listing the reasons for this trend, especially in American economics, he observed that the influx of European scholars before and after World War II brought to our shores some economists who, at first, were more fluent in mathematics than they were in the English language. Consequently, they found mathematical economics easier than exposition in English. At the same time, many American economists had acquired along their educational paths what might be called a reading knowledge of the rather elementary mathematics then being used in economics. They were often more proficient in that mathematics than in the immigrants’ native languages. Thus, communication about economic theory between the two groups was conveniently done in the language of mathematics. This pragmatic view of one of the forces driving a revolution in economics was typical of Hans’s approach to explanation and problem solving. One

Journal

History of Political EconomyDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2001

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