Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vpsfw Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-20T14:57:36.309Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2022

Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak*
Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak: Associate Professor, The American University of Paris. Email:
Correspondence should be addressed to: 147, rue de Grenelle, 75007, Paris, France.


Accounts of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s career usually focus on his pioneer contributions to mathematical economics during the 1930s and his later conversion to a critical approach to economic theory anchored on the entropy law. These disparate moments, however, were connected by Georgescu-Roegen’s strong attraction to the study of problems afflicting less developed societies. This began with his work on the agrarian economy of his native Romania, in the late 1940s, under the auspices of Harvard’s Russian Research Center. Thenceforth, he embarked on a journey that spawned his early interest in Leontief-type linear models, an extended tour of Southeast Asia commissioned by Vanderbilt University’s Graduate Program in Economic Development, and several visits to Brazil during the 1960s. The paper highlights these lesser-known aspects of Georgescu-Roegen’s trajectory, examining how he built on neo-populist writings from the early twentieth century to construct an alternative to the mainstream emphasis on industrialization policies.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the History of Economics Society

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


The author thanks Andrea Maneschi, Antoine Missemer, Jimena Hurtado, Jeffrey Williamson, and Salim Rashid for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. This research was financially supported, at different stages, by CNPq, Fapemig, the Fulbright Commission, and Duke University’s Center for the History of Political Economy.



Alacevich, Michele. 2018a. “Planning Peace: The European Roots of the Post-War Global Development Challenge.” Past and Present 239 (1): 219264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alacevich, Michele. 2018b. “The Birth of Development Economics: Theories and Institutions.” History of Political Economy 50 (ann. suppl.): 114132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alacevich, Michele, and Boianovsky, Mauro. 2018. “Writing the History of Development Economics.” History of Political Economy 50 (ann. suppl.): 114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arestis, Phillip, and Sawyer, Malcolm. 2001. A Biographical Dictionary of Dissenting Economists. Second edition. Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobulescu, Roxana. 2012. “The Making of a Schumpeterian Economist: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.” European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 19 (4): 625651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobulescu, Roxana. 2013. “L’expérience roumaine et son influence sur la pensée de Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.” Économies et Sociétés 47 (10): 17311752.Google Scholar
Carvalho, André R., and Suprinyak, Carlos E.. Forthcoming. “An Emigrant Economist in the Tropics: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen on Brazilian Inflation and Development.” Cambridge Journal of Economics.Google Scholar
Chenery, Hollis B. 1953. “The Application of Investment Criteria.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 67 (1): 7696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Düppe, Till, and Weintraub, E. Roy. 2014. “Siting the New Economic Science: The Cowles Commission’s Activity Analysis Conference of June 1949.” Science in Context 27 (3): 453483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1950. “Leontief’s System in the Light of Recent Results.” Review of Economics and Statistics 32 (3): 214222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1951a. “Relaxation Phenomena in Linear Dynamic Models.” In Koopmans, Tjalling, ed., Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 116131.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1951b. “Some Properties of a Generalized Leontief Model.” In Koopmans, Tjalling, ed., Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 165173.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. [1955] 1966. “Limitationality, Limitativeness and Economic Equilibrium.” In Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Analytical Economics: Issues and Problems. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 338355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1960. “Economic Theory and Agrarian Economics.” Oxford Economic Papers 12 (1): 140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. [1965] 1976. “Process in Farming versus Process in Manufacturing: A Problem of Balanced Development.” In Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas, Energy and Economic Myths. New York: Pergamon Press, pp. 71102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1966. Analytical Economics: Issues and Problems. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. [1969] 1976. “The Institutional Aspects of Peasant Communities: An Analytical View.” In Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Energy and Economic Myths. New York: Pergamon Press, pp. 199231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1970. “The Economics of Production.” American Economic Review 60 (2): 19.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. [1970] 1976. “Structural Inflation-Lock and Balanced Growth.” In Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas, Energy and Economic Myths. New York: Pergamon Press, pp. 149197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1971. The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1976. Energy and Economic Myths: Institutional and Analytical Economic Essays. New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1978. “De la science économique à la bioéconomie.” Revue d’Économie Politique 88 (3): 337382.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1981. “On Neo-Populism and Marxism: A Comment on Utsa Patnaik.” Journal of Peasant Studies 8 (2): 242243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1987. “Manoïlescu, Mihail (1891–?1950).” In Durlauf, Steven and Blume, Lawrence, eds., The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Volume 3. Second edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 299301.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1988. “An Emigrant from a Developing Country: Autobiographical Notes.” Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review 41 (164): 331.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1992. “Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen about Himself.” In Szenberg, Michael, ed., Eminent Economists: Their Life Philosophies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 128159.Google Scholar
Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. 1993. “An Emigrant from a Developing Country: Autobiographical Notes II.” Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review 46 (184): 330.Google Scholar
Gerber, Julien-François. 2020. “Degrowth and Critical Agrarian Studies.” Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (2): 235264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gowdy, John, and Mesner, Susan. 1998. “The Evolution of Georgescu-Roegen’s Bioeconomics.” Review of Social Economy 56 (2): 136156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahn, Alfred E. 1951. “Investment Criteria in Development Programs.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 65 (1): 3861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koopmans, Tjalling, ed. 1951. Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
Lewis, W. Arthur. 1954. “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour.” Manchester School 22 (2): 139191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Love, Joseph L. 1996. Crafting the Third World: Theorizing Underdevelopment in Rumania and Brazil. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Madgearu, Virgil. 1936. Agrarianism, Capitalism, Imperialism: Contribuţiuni la studiul evoluţiei sociale româneşti. Bucharest: Editura Economistul.Google Scholar
Madgearu, Virgil. 1940. Evoluția economiei românești : după războiul mondial. Bucharest: Independența Economică.Google Scholar
Mandelbaum, Kurt. 1945. The Industrialisation of Backward Areas. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Maneschi, Andrea, and Zamagni, Stefano. 1997. “Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, 1906–1994.” Economic Journal 107 (442): 695707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martinez-Alier, Joan. 1997. “Some Issues in Agrarian and Ecological Economics, in Memory of Georgescu-Roegen.” Ecological Economics 22 (3): 225238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miernyk, William H. 1990. “A Mind Ahead of Its Time.” Libertas Mathematica 10: 526.Google Scholar
Mirowski, Philip. 1992. “Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.” In Samuels, Warren, ed., New Horizons in Economic Thought. Aldershot: Edward Elgar, pp. 86105.Google Scholar
Missemer, Antoine. 2013. Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, pour une révolution bioéconomique. Lyon: ENS Éditions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Missemer, Antoine. 2017. “Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and Degrowth.” European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 24 (3): 493506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nurkse, Ragnar. 1953. Problems of Capital Formation in Underdeveloped Countries. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Rosenstein-Rodan, Paul. 1943. “Problems of Industrialisation of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.” Economic Journal 53 (210–211): 202211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenstein-Rodan, Paul. 1944. “The International Development of Economically Backward Areas.” International Affairs 20 (2): 157165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schultz, Theodore W. 1956. “The Role of Government in Promoting Economic Growth.” In White, L. D., ed., The State of the Social Sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 372383.Google Scholar
Seers, Dudley. 1963. “The Limitations of the Special Case.” Bulletin of the Oxford Institute of Economics and Statistics 25 (2): 7798.Google Scholar
Sivakumar, S. S. 2010. “The Unfinished Narodnik Agenda: Chayanov, Marxism, and Marginalism Revisited.” Journal of Peasant Studies 29 (1): 3160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suprinyak, Carlos E., and Fernandez, Ramón G.. 2021. “The ‘Vanderbilt Boys’ and the Modernization of Brazilian Economics.” History of Political Economy 53 (5): 893924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thorner, Daniel. 1969. “Old and New Approaches to Peasant Economies.” In Wharton, Clifton, ed., Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development. New Brunswick and London: AldineTransaction, pp. 9499.Google Scholar
United Nations. 1951. Measures for the Economic Development of Under-Developed Countries: Report by a Group of Experts Appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
Vivien, Franck-Dominique. 1999. “From Agrarianism to Entropy: Georgescu-Roegen’s Bioeconomics from a Malthusian Viewpoint.” In Mayumi, Kozo and Gawdy, John, eds., Bioeconomics and Sustainability: Essays in Honor of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen. Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, pp. 155172.Google Scholar
Warriner, Doreen. 1939. Economics of Peasant Farming. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar