Winter 2022 - George Luxton – Victoria’s Forgotten Mandarin



After the shocking economic collapse of 1929, John Maynard Keynes caustically observed that world leaders had “no cat in the bag, no rabbits in the hat, no brains in the head” in plotting a course out of the Depression. At the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States, the brilliant economist Wassily Leontief reached the same conclusion: “No one knew what was happening. The data available then was neither fish nor fowl nor even red herring.” There was a desperate need for a revolutionary approach to studying national economies, and a young Canadian was about to become an indispensable revolutionary …


Duncan McDowall, a native of Victoria, has served as University Historian at Queen’s University. His Queen’s University, 1961–2004: Testing Tradition was published by McGill Queen’s University Press. A winner of the National Business Book Award, he has written books and articles on the history of Canada, Brazil, and Bermuda, many of which have been translated into French and Portuguese. This article draws on his The Sum of the Satisfactions: Canada in the Age of National Accounting (2008).


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