Stanford University.

by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, October 14, 2014


My wife Carole and I were in Europe celebrating our 50th anniversary when we received the tragic news of Professor McKinnon's tragic accident at SFO and his untimely death on October 1st.


Our first thoughts were for Margaret, their children Neil, Mary and David, and for all their grandchildren. We share with them our deepest sorrow at their husband's and father's unexpected death.


Only a few months before, Ron and Margaret visited us in our home in Vaudreuil, Quebec, near Montreal. We had no inkling that this would be the last time we would see Ron. Carole has known the McKinnons since 1962-63, when she was a student at Stanford-in-France and Ron was her economics professor. Little did she expect that those two semesters of economics classes were preparing her for a life, like Margaret, with a professor of economics! Each visit with the McKinnons and the sight of Ron's boyish smile brought back fond memories of France V.


During their visit last June, Ron and I exchanged books and articles, discovering that we were still on the same wave lengths on so many issues. Indeed, back nearly 50 years ago, when I did my doctoral studies at Stanford, Ron was one of the pillars of advisers I had the privilege of working with. The others were Lorie Tarshis, Ed Shaw, John Gurley, and Emile Despres, the latter was known then as an "economists' economist".


Professor Ronald McKinnon was an innovative applied economist and a realist economist. Some would say he was a 24/7 economist. He had economics for breakfast, lunch and dinner! When he visited us last summer, he had Thomas Piketty's huge tome about capitalism and inequalities under his arm. To the chagrin of our wives, I discussed with him the intricacies of why the rate of return of capital tends to be higher than the rate of economic growth over time, and how that leads to economic inequalities, and in what circumstances and for what reasons.


Professor McKinnon did path-breaking work in government-induced distortions in financial markets, economic development, monetary and financial systems, optimum currency areas, optimum currency areas, financial repression, and the importance and functioning of the dollar system. He was often travelling to conferences all over the world. Over the last twenty years, he made frequent trips to China, a country he developed a special affection for, and where he could work with many of his former students. No other economist in the US and in the world knew more about the Chinese economy and its financial system than Professor McKinnon.


Professor McKinnon was not only a superb international economist and a prolific author who made huge contributions in economics, he was also an extremely well-liked and most appreciated personality. His regretful demise will be mourned all over the world by all professional economists and by his grateful former students. He will be sadly missed.


Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

Emeritus professor of economics,

University of Montreal,

and former Minister of Industry in the

Quebec government,

Former president of the

North American Economics and Finance Association




Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an international economist and author, whose last two books are:

The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003.

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit:

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Posted October 14, 2014, at 5:30 am

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