Terence Hutchison

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Terence Wilmot Hutchison FBA (August 13, 1912 – October 6, 2007) was a world-famous economist.

Born in Bournemouth, England, the son of Robert Langton Douglas and Grace Hutchison (Grace Hutchison, was not married to Douglas, and Terence chose her surname, he attended Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1931 to study the classics but switched to economics. He took his bachelor of arts degree, with first class honours, in 1934. Subsequently, he spent a year at the London School of Economics (LSE), then became a lecturer in economics in Bonn, Germany in 1935, due to an interest in Ludwig Wittgenstein. He spent approximately three years in Bonn, learning the German language while researching German studies in economics.

He married one of his students, Loretta Hack (1910-1981), the daughter of Wilhelm Hack, the socialist mayor of Traben Trarbach.  The couple moved to Baghdad, where he took a position at a teacher training college. Eventually, they moved to Bombay. During World War II, he joined the British military, serving as an intelligence officer on the Northwest Frontier, in Egypt, and then in Delhi.

In 1946, he began his British university career with a position at the University of Hull. After a year at Hull, he moved to the LSE, where he became interested in the history of economics. The University of Birmingham named him Mitsui Professor of Economics in 1956, holding that position he held until he retired in 1978. He continued to teach the history of economics for another two years.

After retiring, Hutchison published the book Before Adam Smith in 1988, the first book in English to systematically analyze 18th Century economic writing before the publication of Adam Smith's seminal work The Wealth of Nations (1776).

His wife Loretta died in 1981. In 1983, he married Christine Donaldson, who died in 2003. He had three children, two daughters and a son, who survived him.

Hutcheson's much-cited 1938 treatise The Significance and Basic Postulates of Economic Theory established his credentials as an economic methodologist.

Terence had a half-brothers, Marshal of the Royal Air Force William Sholto Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside and full brother Donald Gabriel Hutchison, later Donald Gabriel Hutchison Douglas, a Spanish Civil War volunteer.

He died in Winchester of heart failure on 5th October 2007.



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017