Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist
My Intellectual Journey
Publication Year: 2010
Castle’s memoir is grounded in the integration of his personal and professional experiences. He describes his roots as the son of Kansas tenant farmers, his service during World War II, his education, and his academic career, exploring the ways in which these experiences influenced his teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities.
An influential figure in the development of resource and environmental economics, Castle is also the pioneer of a rural economics based in the interdependence of the rural and urban. Castle’s memoir reflects the history of ideas in economics and agricultural economics. Drawing on ten years of leadership at Resources for the Future, a highly influential think tank on resource and environmental policy research, Castle gives special attention to contrasting elite and land-grant institutions.
In a lifetime spent studying people and places, Castle has helped expand the boundaries of applied economics in profound and eloquent ways. Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist recounts this unique journey.
Published by: Oregon State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Sidney James Castle, Josie May Tucker Castle, Ross Thompson, Fred Taylor, Merab Weber, Bill Alvey, Walt Bradley, Ed Bagley, Earl Heady, Kenneth Arrow, Ray Doll, Charles Warren, Marion Clawson, James Jensen, Gilbert White, Edward Mason, Charles Hitch, Edward Hand, Carl Stoltenberg, Roy Arnold, Thayne Dutson, Conrad Weiser, John ...
Preface and Acknowledgments
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This story is about the intellectual development of an applied economist who has spent more than half a century studying agricultural, resource, and rural economics. Both formal study and life experiences have influenced the point of view adopted in these studies and the methodological orientation that emerged. My objective for this book has been to ...
1. My Early Life (1923–1942)
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Dad was born in 1884 in Ness County, Kansas, near Bazine, between Great Bend, Kansas, and Pueblo, Colorado. This is in the arid western third of Kansas. His father, Theodore Castle, died when my father was three years old. Not surprisingly, Dad knew more about his mother’s family than his father’s, as frontier family histories typically were preserved ...
2. WORLD WAR II (1943–1945)
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It was an unseasonably cold and windy day in April 1943 when Mom and Dad accompanied me to Sumner County’s Selective Service office in Wellington, located about 15 miles from our home. There, orders were waiting requiring that I report to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for induction into the armed services. I do not recall anyone else boarding ...
3. AT LOOSE ENDS (1946–1954)
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On May 8, 1945, the enemy in Europe surrendered unconditionally. Much has been written about how rapidly the United States Armed Forces had been organized, equipped, trained, and deployed into combat. Yet the rapidity with which redeployment occurred after V-E Day and V-J Day was equally, if not more, impressive. The processes that ...
4. OREGON STATE (1954–1975)
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I felt at home immediately upon undertaking duties and responsibilities at Oregon State University (then Oregon State College). Colleagues welcomed me, and administrators assigned me significant responsibilities. My family and I were nearly overcome with the beauty of Oregon. Many of the anxieties arising in other work experiences disappeared. ...
5. RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE (1975–1986)
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In late summer 1975, I received a telephone call from Marion Clawson asking if I would interview for the position of vice president of Resources for the Future (RFF). Marion was a well-known agricultural and resource economist and at that time was interim vice president at RFF, after having served as RFF’s interim president. While RFF is ...
6. THE RETURN TO OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY (1986–2010)
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Merab’s declining health made it clear that we now needed to be where we intended to retire (see Appendix A). I wished to continue to be active professionally and have time for support of Merab. She had not yet not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but it was obvious she needed more care than I was able to provide while serving as president ...
7. THE LAND GRANT IDEA, THE IDEAL, AND THE 21ST CENTURY (1942–2010)
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In the fall of 1942, I entered Kansas State, my first exposure to a land grant university. Since then, applied science and land grant universities (LGUs) have been central to my intellectual journey. Even when I was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Resources for the Future (RFF), I was involved periodically with land grant issues and ...
8. REFLECTIONS OF A PRAGMATIC ECONOMIST
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I reflected many times on this quotation as I struggled through the previous seven chapters. Giving deep meaning to Veblen’s words describes my intellectual journey accurately. Writing the previous seven chapters was a discovery process for me. I began writing with the belief that the philosophical position I now hold had been forged over a lifetime of intellectual effort. I have changed that belief as a ...
Appendix A: THE VICTIM AND THE CAREGIVER: COPING WITH DEMENTIA
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Appendix B: A THING OF BEAUTY: A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE
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Appendix C: A BRIEF DIGRESSION ON THOMAS KUHN’S THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS
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NOTES AND REFERENCES
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010