Thursday, February 21, 2008

Robert J. Samuelson is not an economist (Paul A. Samuelson is)   posted by Razib @ 2/21/2008 01:42:00 AM

This is a post for Google. A post I wish had been there for me during my periods of confusion on this topic. I notice that Chris Roach recently referred to Robert J. Samuelson as a "Respected economist." He isn't. Robert J. Samuelson is a financial and economic journalist. He has bachelor's degree in government from Harvard, so one assumes he has taken an economics course or two or three. Samuelson has a column in Newsweek which often focuses on economics; this means that he is a major public figure in this area. I had assumed that Robert J. Samuelson was a prominent economist who was moonlighting as a journalist until a few years ago when I was curious if he was related to Larry Summers. I knew Summers was related to an economist with the last name Samuelson. I think this is a reason that people assume that Robert J. Samuelson is an economist. Paul A. Samuelson is obviously an economist, to some extent the economist of the 20th century (along with Kenneth Arrow and a few others). When I didn't know anything about economics I too believed that Robert J. Samuelson was an economist partly because I vaguely knew Paul A. Samuelson was the economist, which says a lot about how eminent Paul A. Samuelson must be if I had any awareness of the man!