Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

Physics Meets Economics: Albert Einstein and Irving Fisher on Science, Peace, and the Great Depression

Arthmar Rogerio, The University of Buckingham
Boianovsky Mauro, Universidade de Brasília

Albert Einstein delivered a speech at the California Institute of Technology in early 1933 on the causes of the ongoing economic depression. Soon after that, Irving Fisher sent the German physicist his recent book Booms and Depressions, depicting the crisis as a monetary phenomenon. An unusually long letter by Einstein was elaborated in reply. The following year, they held a private and entertaining meeting in Rhode Island. The current paper reconstitutes the whole episode by looking first at Einstein and Fisher as public intellectuals during the interwar years and their opinions on science-making and global peace. Next, Einstein’s views on socialism, as well as on the economic depression as a consequence of technological unemployment, are scrutinized. After that, Fisher’s positive appraisal of technical progress and his over-indebtedness approach to business cycles are laid out. Lastly, some considerations on their common beliefs as scientists are articulated for the sake of conclusion.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: Einstein, Fisher, science, peace, Great Depression

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