Friday, June 13, 2008

Free market stalwart sadly passed away! By Chandra

I once wrote a biography about her father B R Shenoy that was little hesitantly rejected by Sudha Shenoy for publication, I am now thinking to write a biography about sudha shenoy?

Sudha Shenoy, 1943-2008

A commenter on the
Catallaxy blog recently stated that the free-market economist, Dr. Sudha R. Shenoy, had passed away after a long battle with cancer (I have confirmed this via the School of Economics, University of Newcastle).
A native of India, and daughter of prominent Indian economist, Professor B. R. Shenoy, Dr Sudha Shenoy was an Honorary Associate in Economic History at the School of Policy, University of Newcastle, Australia. From 1986 to 2004, she was a lecturer at that institution. Since that time, she was a fellow at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, United States. In 2003, she delivered the
Hayek Memorial Lecture at the Austrian Scholars' Conference, entitled 'An Auxilliary for Historians: The Contribution of the Older Austrians'.
Her publications included Under-Development and Economic Growth, Central Planning in India: A Critical Review, and 'Austrian Capital Theory and the Underdeveloped Areas: An Overview' (in Richard Ebeling, ed., Austrian Economics: Past and Future). Shenoy edited the Centre for Independent Studies publication, Wage-Price Control: Myth & Reality, and, most notably, compiled and edited Hayek's classic Institute of Economic Affairs publication, A Tiger By The Tail.
A brief Internet search illustrates that Sudha was reasonably active on the blogosphere, including as a
member of the Liberty & Power group blog, and also presented numerous speeches on elements of Austrian economic thought and market theory all over the world. It is my understanding that she was in the process of writing a book on development, capital structure and the common law in England, c. 1100-1914, and, in 2003, she referred to an ongoing project of hers to write a Hayek biography.
Whilst I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Shenoy, I am well aware of her contributions to economic history, Austrian economics and development economics. She holds a place as one of the forerunners of the modern Austrian school, through her attendance at the 1974 IHS Austrian economics conference at South Royalton, Vermont. Her work with the IEA in promoting F. A. Hayek's macroeconomic theory and ideas in currency competition also stand out as significant contributions. An
early paper on Austrian monopoly theory is another nice sample of her thinking in the Austrian economic tradition.
Shenoy's work in economic history and economic development were also insightful and original in character. Some good examples of her work in these domains included
a note on government monopoly in money from a historical perspective (for a monetary economics paper written by Hayek), capital structure in the global economy, her paper for the Ebeling compilation, and a recent speech entitled 'The New Global Marketplace'. A recent article of hers published in The Freeman, in which she critically assessed Jeffrey Sachs' critique of Hayek, is another item that deserves to be widely read.
Those interested in a more general overview of Shenoy's life work might be interested in an
interview she gave to the Mises Institute, where, amongst other things, she referred to the formative influences of the works of Mises and Hayek in her student days.
It also seems clear to me that Sudha Shenoy was well-respected throughout the classical liberal and libertarian communities, judging from the honourable mention that she, and her family, received in the Milton and Rose Friedman memoirs. I also refer to
an account of a speech she made in New Zealand: 'Dr. Shenoy's speech was extremely well-received ... The meeting room was packed to overflowing with students and other interested persons - to the extent that many had to sit on the floor or stand in the doorway'. For any academic, these mentions represent welcome praise indeed.
recent issues faced by scholars that specialise in economic history, and the history of thought, in Australia, it is sad to hear of the passing of a prominent economic historian. Indeed, the loss of a woman who cherished the ideals of freedom in the economic realm is a telling one. As is the case of all good academics, however, Dr. Shenoy left behind a legacy of quality work and fascinating insights - and none more so than her economic history reading list, posted on the Austrian Economists blog. In fact, one cannot think of a better way for a scholar to encourage the next generation to take up the intellectual challenges that lay ahead of it.

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