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There have been hedgehogs; there have been foxes; and then there was Paul Samuelson.

I'm referring, of course, to Isaiah Berlin's famous distinction among thinkers - foxes who know many things, and hedgehogs who know one big thing. What distinguished Paul Samuelson as an economic thinker, making him like nobody else, past or present, was the fact that he knew - and taught us - many big things. No economist has ever had so many seminal ideas.

With a little help from Google Scholar, I've compiled a list of some of Samuelson's big ideas. I say "some" because I'm sure it's not complete. But anyway, here are eight - eight! - seminal insights, each of which gave rise to a vast and continuing research literature:

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 02:13:59 PM EST

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