I enclose my brief but heartfelt tribute, from Austin where I am stuck at
the grindstone. I hope Karel or Eithne might read it. What can I say?
Happy Birthday -- and we'll meet again in Amsterdam. With my love to
Yours as ever, Jamie
A Tribute to Stanislav Menshikov on his 80th birthday
James K. Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith and Stanislav Menshikov were more than friends:
their souls intersected. Both were sharp observers of the economic and
social life of their countries, and they were dedicated alike to the causes
of progressive reform and peaceful coexistence.
For my part, I have been proud to know Stanislav for at least 35 years. We
first met in my parents' home around 1971, when I was in college and he was
stationed at the UN. We renewed contact when he was in Prague in the late
1980s, at a moment when less astute voices were rising to disastrous
prominence. He brought me to Moscow for the first time in 1995, and into
contact with the community of scholars who are gathered today to celebrate
his wisdom and achievements. I returned in 1999, again at his invitation,
to advance the work of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, now Economists
for Peace and Security – our common cause. We have met many times in the
U.S., in Paris at a meeting to celebrate my father's work in 2004, and on
every occasion when I manage to pass through Amsterdam.
As all who know his work realize, Stanislav Menshikov is a great economist.
The traits of a great economist do not lie in any particular training or
tool-kit, still less in any fixed set of acquired beliefs. Instead they are
a matter, first of all, of temperament. A great economist must combine
dispassionate realism and clear thought with the common courage to say,
precisely and accurately to any audience, exactly what he thinks. Menshikov
forged those talents in difficult times, they have never failed him, and
for this reason, his judgments stand vindicated today. His reputation--
perceptive, brave and incorruptible--will therefore endure.
Let me add, only, something that I am sure he will not like to hear, for he
is not sentimental. He is gruff, uncompromising, a take-no-prisoners,
brook-no-nonsense personality type. So I hesitate to reveal that my esteem
for him approaches reverence, and that my affection borders on love.
Sorry, Stanislav, you'll have to endure it. That's just how it is.
"To the Chair!"
James K. Galbraith
Chair of the Board
Economists for Peace and Security