How will Paul Samuelson be remembered? This is the positive side of the story, the glowing record of the Nobel Laureate and author of the most widely read textbook in modern times.
History may be kind to Samuelson. He had the good fortune to surf three waves that carried all before them, for a time. The waves were the General Theory of Keynes, the Big Government welfare state and Mathematics. To capture the mood of the Keynesian revolution he recycled a famous response to the French Revolution “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven! …”.
It is likely that critical scholarship will be less kind. He may be remembered as the man who thought that the Soviet economy was robust and rapidly overhauling the US. The man who was relaxed and comfortable with Keynesian stimulation of the economy. The man who thought that the Austrians are rubbish. I think he was wrong on all three counts.
An essay topic “Compare and contrast the outcomes of the French and Keynesian revolutions”.