By Cyrus Bina

Professor Cynthia Taft Morris was not an ordinary faculty but a godsend throughout our cheery mutiny in the AU Economics Department in the 1970s.  As I remember, the vessel of economics orthodoxy, unable to carry the specter of time, had to be reflagged in the uncharted waters of the changing epoch. At that time, the arrival of several knowledgeable heterodox economics faculty and the recruitment of some tough-minded, fastidious, and alternative-seeking graduate students did the trick. Cynthia was a dignified figure held high by many of us on the radical side—the political economy track. She was a genuine economist, far from the fake orthodoxy present across the discipline, and some of us, who came to AU to learn economics a la the classical and/or Marx’s political economy, were persuaded that when push comes to shove she is on our side. The last time I saw Cynthia was in my oral qualifying exam for a Ph.D. She was dazzling, temperate, and distinctly upfront; in the course of examination, I was a bit tense and equally quibbling. I distinctly remember, as the question of David Ricardo’s rent theory and incongruity with his value theory came up, I hastily scorned him; Cynthia, who was neither Ricardian nor neo-Ricardian, had defended Ricardo as if he was her baby. To this very date, believe it or not, I have not yet been recovered from the embarrassment, not for the Ricardo’s puzzle, but for not being mature enough to provoke this exquisite woman who elegantly sat in that wheelchair and smiled not unlike a six-feet-tall goddess in charge of Universe. And I miss her so dearly.

 

Cyrus Bina ‘83

Distinguished Research Professor of Economics

University of Minnesota (Morris Campus) &

Elected Fellow, Economists for Peace and Security

 

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