Arndt's Story: The Life of an Australian Economist by Peter Coleman

By Peter Coleman

‘H.W. Arndt has been Australia’s major pupil of Asian monetary improvement for over thirty years’ - Former international financial institution President James D Wolfensohn. The yr of Heinz Wolfgang Arndt’s delivery, 1915, was once no longer a great time for a German boy to be born. His kingdom was once quickly to be defeated in a very good warfare, his college years have been shadowed via the increase of Hitler. but while Heinz’s long-buried Jewish historical past led his educational father to lose his chair in chemistry and flee to Oxford, Heinz undefined. As Heinz positioned it, the calamity of Hitler’s upward push to strength led him to ‘the fabulous luck of an Oxford schooling and a existence spent in England and Australia.’ This used to be a guy of inexhaustible power and optimism, who again from months in the back of barbed cord interned in Canada to jot down a historic classic—The fiscal classes of the Nineteen-Thirties. He seized the potential for an unforeseen task provide to trigger along with his younger relations for Sydney the place he speedy demonstrated himself as a number one authority at the Australian banking procedure, launched into his fifty 12 months profession as a talented college instructor and loved the 1st of many full of life forays as a public highbrow. however it was once on the ANU that Heinz took the daring step which led him to turn into the Grand previous guy of Asian Economics. In 1966, simply after the Sukarno coup and the yr of residing dangerously, he made up our minds the time had come to review the Indonesian economic system. It took all his appeal, patience and ambitious mind to cajole the Indonesians to open their doorways to him. the end result was once a worldleading centre of Indonesian economics which vastly contributed to the improvement of recent Indonesia.

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The dentist dealt with two, if not three, patients at the same time and was working under extreme pressure. He looked at my abscess for two or three seconds and stated that the tooth would have to come out. Then he attended to another patient and when he returned I assented to the extraction whereupon he gave me a local anaesthetic. While the anaesthetic was taking effect an orderly made me sign a form on which I could merely recognise some such words as ‘Work done satisfactory’.

His own austere moral code, which his English friends mocked, was more Prussian than Bloomsbury. Something of his tensions, uncertainties and dual loyalties surfaced suddenly in March 1936—two and half years after he left Germany—in his response to John Ford’s film The Informer (1935). Based on the novel by Liam O’Flaherty (1925), it is the story of an Irishman (played by Victor McLagen) who betrays his country, is tortured by conscience and is condemned to death by a secret IRA court. In a long letter to a girlfriend, Pauline, Heinz wrote I don’t think I have ever seen a film which produces a particular atmosphere—the atmosphere of this tense nationalism, the underground work, the lowness and struggle of those rebels, and all that mixed with that devout Catholicism—so powerfully and vividly.

Could you please send me a parcel containing food, sewing material, a mirror, soap, toothpaste, my thin combinations, my light brown shoes, cigarettes? We are not allowed any newspapers or BBC news. We therefore know nothing about the war situation. But don’t write about it. He also asked Ruth to send to Science and Society: A Marxian Quarterly in NewYork a biographical note about him to be appended to his forthcoming article, ‘The social outlook of British philosophers’, his Marxising lament for English intellectuals.

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