Jubilee Fellow – 2015

geoff harcourt

Emeritus Professor Geoff Harcourt AO

BCom (Hons), MCom (Melbourne), PhD (Cambridge), LittD (Cambridge), Hon DLitt (De Montfort University), Hon DCom (Melbourne), Hon Dhcrerpol (Fribourg), FAcSS

2015 Reflections

I was elected a Fellow in 1971, the year the Academy started, and I very soon served for three years on the Executive Committee. When I returned to Australia from Cambridge in 2010 (I was there the last time from 1982 to 2010), I was on the Membership Committee for two years.

I think the Academy’s major task is recognising and supporting fundamental scholarship and using whatever funds available to support both fundamental and applicable research in the social sciences, especially by promising young scholars. Through these activities, the Academy indirectly and directly influences community and government attitudes and activities for the better.

I was privileged to meet and become friends with some fine Australian scholars and citizens in the Academy. I hope it is not invidious for me to name Eric Russell, Fred Gruen, Hugh Stretton, Pat Troy, Charles Rowley, and Bob Wallace, as people especially dear to me.

I played cricket until I was 68, usually as an opening bat, so I have been chuffed to have had a number of firsts in my career. I was the first Australian to have a university lectureship and a fellowship at Cambridge (in the 1960s), the first Australian and Cambridge person to be elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Economics Society (USA, 2004) and the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (2004), and the joint awardee of the Veblen-Commons Award of the Association for Evolutionary Economics, USA (2010). As I am also Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia (1996), of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia (2012), and Distinguished Alumni Awardee of the University of Adelaide (2015), I am in effect Distinguished Fellow on three continents, Australia three times! I was also chuffed to be awarded an AO ‘for services to economic theory and the history of economic thought’ in 1994.

I hope that through my teaching of undergraduates and MPhil students, supervision of graduate students, and writings, I have brought clarity, good humour, justified passion and challenging maverick views to the economics profession and the making of economic policies.