Meltzer, Allen
Interview Date
August 8, 1994
Respondent university professor of economics, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); born 1928.
[T1S1] Respondent talks about parents, their courtship, marriage; mother's death; sister; life after mother's death; father's remarriage; Respondent's decision to attend Duke University. Respondent describes early childhood in Boston suburbs; religious orthodox life; adolescence marred by anti-Semitism, gives examples; grandmother's influence; high school education; attending Duke (1945-48), majoring in economics. Respondent mentions first job after college in California. Respondent lists honors, activities at Duke; details involvement with Progressive Party; personal stories about desegregation in North Carolina; details experience working on Henry Wallace's campaign. Respondent talks about graduating with economics degree in 1948; courtship, marriage in California (1950); Blacks in small towns in North Carolina. Respondent continues talking about California; decision to pursue Ph.D. in economics at University of California (UCLA) in 1953. Respondent lists mentors at UCLA; mentions Karl Brunner's work, classes; influence of Tom Samulson's books on economic theory. Respondent details work on Ph.D.; received Fulbright Scholarship in 1955 to study inflation in France; son Bruce born right before trip. Respondent describes experience, studies in France.
[T2S3] Respondent elaborates on civil rights law, effect in North Carolina; sister, her family; details anti-Semitic experiences during childhood in Boston; father's modernized home in Boston suburbs; religious beliefs; presidential race of 1948; marriage. Respondent talks about influential people in economics including Alfred Cowels; explains econometrics. Respondent mentions Cowels Commission at University of Chicago, its influence on economics; lists famous economists who worked there. Respondent discusses family's religious beliefs; two children, sister didn't marry Jews; other son chose to pursue his Jewishness; parent's death.
[T2S4] Respondent elaborates on thesis, French economists not interested in his research; French economy today; life, political climate, medical care, ballet in Paris during studies; mentions recent trip back to Paris as visiting professor, compares experiences. Respondent talks about experience working on president Ronald Reagan's council of economic advisors, 1988-1989; details activities, members, duties at commission. Respondent describes meeting with Reagan; process behind publishing major reports; behind the scene conflicts; positive opinions on Reagan's presidency.
[T3S5] Respondent lists Reagan's strengths, weaknesses; greatest accomplishments, including ending cold war, transition from industry to information age. Respondent discusses differences between conservatism and libertarianism, its relation to Reagan's Supreme Court appointees; David Stockman's role in Reagan's White House; Reagan's strategy behind ending cold war. Respondent mentions teaching at University of London as visiting professor in 1979; meeting with Margaret Thatcher about inflation; offers impressions on Thatcher, give examples. Respondent defines micro/macro economics, how it works. Respondent gives impression on life in Washington, D. C.
[T3S6] Respondent elaborates on Paris; mentions his Citroen; first teaching job at Wharton; working on thesis with hand calculator, using ENIAC computer at Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT). Respondent talks about leaving Wharton to teach at CIT; National Science Foundation funded some of his research. Respondent talks about defending, revising thesis at UCLA in 1957; granted Ph.D. in 1958. Respondent describes life in Pittsburgh; lists universities where he has lectured. Respondent mentions Eric's, Beth's births; wife's budding interest in weaving. Respondent lists prominent Jewish economists; mentions why Jews accepted in academia. Respondent talks about Nobel Prize winner: Dr. Herbert Simon; children's life in Pittsburgh; their schooling, cultural experiences. Respondent details Bruce's college experience, career as associate professor in pediatric psychology; Eric's college experiences, trips and studies in Russia.
[T4S7] Respondent continues talking about Eric's trips to Russia, career as v.p.. investment banker; grandchildren; Beth's college studies, career as chef, now owns "Just Desserts;" wife, award winning weaver, now counselor. Respondent describes in detail his research in money and credit; political economies; on work of Keynes; analytical history of Federal Reserve; future project on foreign policy in Europe. Respondent discusses idea "public good"; gives examples; describes effects of competition on economies; offers opinions on how U.S. government is dealing with Russia.
[T4S8] Respondent describes in detail principle of property rights; economic plight in Russia, China. Respondent mentions satisfaction with his career. Respondent describes effects of U.S. imposing its institutions on Germany, Japan after WWII. Respondent talks about capitalism, redistribution of wealth, decentralization of big government on local and global scales; mentions how these principles apply to Asian, Latin American countries. Respondent mentions meeting Helmut Schmidt. [T5S9] Respondent talks about need for better World Trade Organization (WTO); effects of this WTO on U.S. sovereignty. Respondent elaborates on property rights, decentralization. Respondent explains workings, purpose of Federal Reserve; offers opinions on how Reserve is doing; explains why dollar value is low in international market.
Brunner, Karl, 1916-; Civil rights; Cowels, Alfred; Segregation; Economics; United States. Federal Reserve Board; France; North Carolina; Council of Economic Advisers (U.S.); Presidents--Election; Progressive Party (U.S. : 1948); Reagan, Ronald; Russia; Schmidt, Helmut; Simon, Herbert A. (Herbert Alexander), 1916-2001; Stockman, David Alan, 1946-; Thatcher, Margaret; Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965
Birth Date
Boston, MA
Carnegie Mellon University
Squirrel Hill
Length (hours)
Dinman, Gabrielle
Harrison, Mary
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 26
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