W. Arthur Lewis was one of the foremost intellectuals, economists, and political activists of the twentieth century. In this book, the first intellectual biography of Lewis, Robert Tignor traces Lewis's life from its beginnings on the small island of St. Lucia to Lewis's arrival at Princeton University in the early 1960s. A chronicle of Lewis's unfailing efforts to promote racial justice and decolonization, it provides a history of development economics as seen through the life of one of its most important founders.
If there were a record for the number of "firsts" achieved by one man during his lifetime, Lewis would be a contender. He was the first black professor in a British university and also at Princeton University and the first person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in a field other than literature or peace. His writings, which included his book The Theory of Economic Growth, were among the first to describe the field of development economics.
Quickly gaining the attention of the leadership of colonized territories, he helped develop blueprints for the changing relationship between the former colonies and their former rulers. He made significant contributions to Ghana's quest for economic growth and the West Indies' desire to create a first-class institution of higher learning serving all of the Anglophone territories in the Caribbean.
This book, based on Lewis's personal papers, provides a new view of this renowned economist and his impact on economic growth in the twentieth century. It will intrigue not only students of development economics but also anyone interested in colonialism and decolonization, and justice for the poor in third-world countries.
"Tignor's book is one for enthusiasts of development, of social science research and of African history. It is long, closely written, tightly researched and scrupulously comprehensive."--Lawrence Haddad, Times Higher Education Supplement
"This book can be read on two levels. On the human level, it is the story of triumph against adversity. . . . [A]t the level of the contribution made by a professional economist to economic development, this book reads as a story of intellectual failure in the face of political reality. . . . Each of these chapters is thoroughly researched, judiciously blending discussions of Lewis's personal life and of the changes taking place in the world."--Ranald Michie, Business History Review
"In this splendid intellectual biography, Robert L. Tignor examines Lewis's career and thought, giving particular emphasis to his experiences in Africa. . . . This is an important biography, and one that will benefit scholars seeking to understand the enormous gap between economic aspirations and achievements in much of the developing world, as well as the struggle for racial justice. For students of post-independence Africa the book has special relevance."--Alfred E. Eckes, International History Review
"Robert Tignor has produced an impressive intellectual biography of the remarkable economist, policy advisor, and educator, Sir W. Arthur Lewis."--James B. Stewart, Journal of African American History
"This is a splendid book about a great man. It is full of lessons for all of us as we continue to struggle worldwide with issues of race and of the role of intellectuals as policy advisors. Few human beings have ever had the intelligence, the courage, and the grace of Arthur Lewis; for that reason, Arthur's disappointments in trying to improve life in Ghana and the West Indies are sobering indeed."--William G. Bowen, President Emeritus, Princeton University, and President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations vii
CHAPTER 1: Getting Started: Education and Race 6
CHAPTER 2: The Colonial Office 42
CHAPTER 3: Unlimited Supplies of Labor 79
CHAPTER 4: The Gold Coast 109
CHAPTER 5: Ghana's Chief Economic Adviser, 1957-58 144
CHAPTER 6: Ghana: Part 2 179
CHAPTER 7: The West Indies, 1959-63 212
CHAPTER 8: The Princeton Years, 1963--91 240
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Robert L. Tignor: