Thomas Wilson 1916–2001

M. FG. Scott

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 120, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, II

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780197263020
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734199 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Thomas Wilson 1916–2001

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Tom Wilson's long career as an economist took him from Belfast to the London School of Economics, Whitehall (during the Second World War), Oxford, Glasgow, and finally Bristol; and the subjects which interested him ranged as widely. His method, however, in addressing them followed a pattern. It was eclectic: the different sides of the argument were fairly set out and criticised. Tom could usually find some virtue in each, and took the trouble to inform himself about them. His economic analysis was not mathematical or econometric, and seldom even diagrammatic. As it was often the policy implications of economic problems which interested him, he could not stop at simplified models of reality which left out some of the relevant variety and complexity of experience. His books on macroeconomics, regional policy, planning, the welfare state, and competition policy, drew on these strengths, and they shine forth most clearly in two written towards the end of his life: on Lord Cherwell's advice to Churchill during the war and on the Ulster tragedy.

Keywords: economists; economic analysis; Lord Cherwell; Churchill; Ulster tragedy; London School of Economics; Whitehall

Chapter.  7853 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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