The board of directors and staff of the Economic Policy Institute were deeply saddened at the passing of Professor Lester Thurow of MIT, one of EPI’s original founders and intellectual inspirations.
Professor Thurow, a prominent, globally respected economist, was part of a small group who established EPI thirty years ago. He enthusiastically supported the idea of a think tank that would study and debate economic policy from the perspective of people who must work for a living.
As early as the 1970s Professor Thurow called attention to the stubborn problem of inequality on the American economy, and was among the first to see that it was worsening in the 1980s. At a time when most of the economics profession dismissed inequality as a normal and even positive side effect of technological change, he saw that it was directly linked to the way US was reacting to globalization—and that without new policies inequality would continue to expand.
“Lester Thurow was not only a brilliant economist, but an intellectually courageous one as well.” said Jeff Faux, EPI’s founding president and now distinguished fellow. “He was not afraid to follow the logic of the facts, even when it led beyond the boundaries of the profession’s conventional wisdom. He understood that economics is embedded in human institutions, whose impact was important, even though at times it cannot be quantified. History has proven him right, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”