Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Vale Geoffrey Colin Harcourt AC FRSN FASSA (1931–2021)

Geoffrey Harcourt

The Royal Society of NSW records with great sadness the passing of one of its valued and eminent Fellows, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Harcourt AC FRSN FASSA, on 7 December 2021 at the age of 90.

Geoff Harcourt was a graduate of Melbourne and Cambridge universities. He taught at Adelaide and Cambridge, which has remembered him as an economist of world renown.

He authored or edited 29 books and published over 380 articles, chapters in books, and reviews. A Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in both Australia and the UK, he was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1994 “for services to economic theory and to the history of economic thought” and, subsequently in 2018, a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC) “for eminent service to higher education as an academic economist and author, particularly in the fields of Post-Keynesian economics, capital theory and economic thought”.

He leaves behind an outstanding professional legacy. His most influential book, “Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital,” (1972), outlined a dispute between economists at Cambridge, England, and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (England won.) He spent his final years at UNSW.

But he contributed beyond his prolific activities as an economist. Having a burning dislike of injustice and intolerance, he sought to build a more just and equitable society. From being active in the anti-Vietnam War movement in Adelaide in the 1960s through to mentoring Indigenous students doing undergraduate and graduate courses at UNSW in his later years, Geoff Harcourt followed his convictions with his actions. For all his achievements and passions, Geoff was always down to earth, always interested in people, especially young people, and always quick with witty and insightful comments.

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