ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From North-South to South-South

From North-South to South-South

September 20-27, 1986 they showed and how it could best be presented''. This was the time when Arndt met for the first time three influential Australians, L F Giblin, doyen of Australian economists' H C Coombs (Governor of Australia's central bank) and R I Downing (Ritchie Professor at Melbourne). Among his earliest semi-political writings, was a letter to the newspaper Sydney Morning Herald defending the newly founded IMF against aspersions cast on it by Eddie Ward, Labour Minister and "leader of the faction opposed to Australia joining so deplorably capitalistic and US-inspired an institution". Arndt also became the research director of the Fabian Society of New South Wales and wrote a pamphlet on "The Case for Bank Nationalisation" His inaugural lecture as Professor for the newly created Chair of Economics at the Canberra University College was on ' The Unimportance of Money", which he confesses, "now reads like a caricature of then current vulgar-Keynesian views on the subject". Although denied formal contact with officialdom in Canberra, Arndt was amply compensated by invitations to attend the regular series of Sydney Meetings of University Economists at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (now the Reserve Bank of Australia) initiated in 1952 by Governor Coombs. As in Sydney, Arndt, always the committed economist, devoted a good deal of his time in Canberra to adult education, journalism, and politics, and also graduated on to the international circuit, which took him, among other spots, to the United States, Calcutta, Delhi, Geneva and Paris. During his Indian sojourn Arndt produced a bold critique of the Mahalanobis planning model pointing. to its excessive generality ("so general that it would be as applicable to Singapore as to India, to Western Samoa as to the Soviety Union") and "its total neglect of comparative advantage''. But Arndt overlooked that the Mahalanobis model far from being general was in fact geared specifically to large subcontinental economies like India, Soviet Russia, and China with a broad and diversified resource base and large internal markets. Subsequently, Arndt also worked with the Indian Planning Commission (Pitamber Pant, Tarlok Singh, et al). He was "powerfully affected by the emotional experience of learning about the abysmal poverty" of Indian and declined to return for a longer period when asked by MIT, for fear that "he would never get away" if allowed "to be further emotionally involved". Arndt also spent a sabbatical year (1960-61) with the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva in its Research Division (with Kaldor and Hal Lary). Soon thereafter he moved to the Chair and Headship of the Department of Economics in the new Research School of Pacific Studies, which among others, led to a prolonged and most productive involvement with Indonesia's economic problems including the foundation of the justly reputed Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies. Arndt's success in conferring scientific status on regional economic studies is a fitting riposte to the likes of Martin Bronfenbrenner who are inclined to "Pity the Poor Country Specialist".

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