Alfred E. Kahn, a Champion of Plain English in Economics –

by Scott Smith

Mr. Kahn was a man of enormous warmth and personal charm. But he was also mindful of the constraints imposed by market forces. When I began teaching at Cornell in 1972, he was dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. A story circulating at the time described an English professor’s complaint to him about the high salaries of economics professors. “Perhaps you should consider starting an English consulting firm,” he is said to have responded.