It's An Ill Wind Introduction Early Days Education Circa 1941–59 Graduate School, 1959–6 Toronto, 1963–95 Travel Some Conclusions An Addendum Notes References

Ricardo Afterword: A Memoir Continued


To return to happier days. It has been my good fortune to have been able to take leaves of absence approximately every five years on average; and to have travelled frequently as guest lecturer. Each location has attached to it in my mind some long-term research project. I connect Florence and London with Ricardo; Jerusalem with Mill; Jerusalem again, Melbourne (La Trobe University) and Auckland with Malthus. These expeditions have proven rewarding, both personally and professionally. For one thing, my daughter and son benefited hugely from their experiences in Italy, Britain and Israel. (Both have settled in Israel.) As for myself, the leave taken in Britain in 1974 provided the opportunity to work with Sir John Hicks and seduce him from the fix-wage interpretation of Ricardo – a high point of my career. But of all my expeditions those to New Zealand in 1985 and 1988 have pleased me most, thanks to Tony Endres and his colleagues at Auckland. The University’s Department of Economics has been a true pleasure to work in.

Without my wife at my side these ventures would have been all but impossible, considering the above-mentioned restrictions, which become particularly onerous when foreign travel is involved. On the whole we have experienced great good will on the part of our hosts, who have attempted to find practical ways to overcome the difficulties – nicely thwarting one of their purposes!

Occasionally there have been less understanding encounters. My neighbour at one conference dinner in 1982, a woman of considerable academic stature, asked me if I thought the Deity cared whether I ate a steak such as she had on her plate. I could only reply that ‘God alone knows’. It scarcely seemed worthwhile to explain that adherence to ancient practice does not necessarily imply backwardness; or that, from my perspective, God did not come (immediately) into the picture. (The cost of that particular dinner was shared equally among all participants, for I could not possibly protest on my own behalf; my hard-boiled egg cost me more than the equivalent of $30.) I recall also the embarrassed chairman who had to kick his colleague under the table when the latter began to mock some orthodox Jewish academic for surviving on bananas when he travelled, unaware that one such survivor was seated opposite him. And there was a perverse interpretation, offered by an otherwise very sensible observer, of my refusal to drink the wine that was being served at some dinner as an indication that I was ‘on the wagon’, a charge repeated to graduate students at an American institution and thence relayed to me, for the academic world is small and gossipy. The Rabbinical ordinance dictating my refusal at that time does not, however, extend to all spirits – my illustrious ancestor R. Moses Isserles has some quite ‘liberal’ things to say on the matter of wine itself – and the individual in question must have believed that I had failed in my effort to ‘dry out’ when he observed me imbibing on some other occasion. All of this is small beer; but it does add variety.