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W. Arthur Lewis Google Doodle Today : Celebrating Sir W. Arthur Lewis Google Doodle


Published on Feb 25, 2021

W. Arthur Lewis Google Doodle Today : Celebrating Sir W. Arthur Lewis Google Doodle

 

W. Arthur Lewis Google Doodle Today : Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Manchester-based guest artist Camilla Ru, celebrates St. Lucian economist, professor, and author Sir W. Arthur Lewis, considered one of the pioneers in the field of modern development economics. 

A trailblazer not only in his research, he was also the first Black faculty member at the London School of Economics, first Black person to hold a chair in a British university (at Manchester University), and the first Black instructor to receive full professorship at Princeton University.




W. Arthur Lewis

Sir William Arthur Lewis (23 January 1915 – 15 June 1991) was an economist and the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University. Lewis was well known for his contributions in the field of economic development. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He had dual Saint Lucian and British citizenships.

Arthur Lewis Google Doodle

Arthur Lewis was born in Castries, Saint Lucia, then still part of the British Windward Islands federal colony, as the fourth of five children of George and Ida Lewis. His parents had migrated from Antigua shortly after the turn of the century. George Lewis died when Arthur turned seven, and Ida raised their five children alone. Arthur was a gifted student and was promoted two classes ahead of his age. After finishing school at the age of 14, Lewis worked as a clerk, while waiting to take his university entrance exam. During this time he became friends with Eric Williams, the future first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and the two remained lifelong friends.

Lewis served as an economic advisor to numerous African and Caribbean governments, i.e. Nigeria, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados.

When Ghana gained independence in 1957, its government appointed Lewis as their first economic advisor. He helped draw up its first Five-Year Development Plan (1959–63).

In 1959 Lewis returned to the Caribbean region when appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he was knighted for his contributions to economics.

That year, he was also appointed a University Professor at Princeton University and moved to the United States. Lewis worked at Princeton for the next two decades, teaching generations of students until his retirement in 1983. In 1970 Lewis also was selected as the first president of the Caribbean Development Bank, serving in that capacity until 1973.

Lewis received the Nobel prize in Economics in 1979, sharing it with Theodore Schultz.

Legacy and honours

• Arthur Lewis Community College, St. Lucia, was named in his honour.

• The Arthur Lewis Building (opened in 2007) at the University of Manchester was named for him, as he had lectured there for several years before entering governmental positions.

• Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at The University of the West Indies.

• Sir Arthur Lewis portrait appears on the 100 dollar East Caribbean Bill.

• Arthur Lewis Auditorium, the main auditorium of Robertson Hall, home of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, was named after him.

The "Lewis model"

Lewis published in 1954 what was to be his most influential development economics article, "Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour" (Manchester School).[9] In this publication, he introduced what came to be called the dual sector model, or the "Lewis model".

Lewis combined an analysis of the historical experience of developed countries with the central ideas of the classical economists to produce a broad picture of the development process. In his theory, a "capitalist" sector develops by taking labour from a non-capitalist backward "subsistence" sector. The subsistence sector is governed by informal institutions and social norms so that producers do not maximise profits and workers can be paid above their marginal product. At an early stage of development, the "unlimited" supply of labour from the subsistence economy means that the capitalist sector can expand for some time without the need to raise wages. This results in higher returns to capital, which are reinvested in capital accumulation. In turn, the increase in the capital stock leads the "capitalists" to expand employment by drawing further labour from the subsistence sector. Given the assumptions of the model (for example, that the profits are reinvested and that capital accumulation does not substitute for skilled labour in production), the process becomes self-sustaining and leads to modernization and economic development.

Lewis shifted his focus to world economic history and economic development and in 1954 published his foundational article “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour.” Among many valuable accomplishments, Lewis contributed influential work to the United Nations and shared his expertise as an adviser to governments in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. He also helped establish and served as the first president of the Caribbean Development Bank.

In honor of his lifelong achievements, the British government knighted Lewis in 1963.


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