Peter L. Bernstein (1919-2009)

15 June 2009 at 6:50 am 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

I was saddened to learn (from Kenneth Anderson) that Peter L. Bernstein, author of Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk and other popular works, died June 5. Bernstein was a terrific writer and a clear and provocative thinker with a gift for making difficult concepts accessible. I was greatly influenced by an earlier book, Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street, which I came across in graduate school while searching for a dissertation topic. Bertstein’s characterization of the brokerage industry in the 1960s and early 1970s, before the deregulation of brokerage fees — an Old Boys Club, lacking competition and innovation — inspired me to examine the role of corporate internal capital markets in replicating the resource-allocation function normally performed by external capital markets, and how the growth and development of financial markets following liberalization contributed to the end of the conglomerate period.

Here are obituaries in the WSJ and NYT and here is Bernstein’s wiki.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Business/Economic History, Corporate Governance, Financial Markets, People.

Men of Few Words Factor-Biased Technological Change

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. michaelwebster  |  15 June 2009 at 11:02 am

    Bernstein’s chapter on Tversky and the problem of invariance, in his book Against the Gods, is an excellent introduction to what the real problems in behavioral economics are.

    Bernstein and Ian Hacking should be read together to understand how short our conceptual history with dealing stochastic processes.

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