Conference 2009

Anghel Rugina - In memoriam



Anghel N. Rugina

...a man for all seasons


Nowadays, not only social science (economics included), but science in general is under fire. Reading the End of Science by John Horgan (see chapter The End of Social Science) one may think again if there is still acceptable to teach students a lot of scientific methods that finally proof to be simple opinions, and not rules to be strictly applied. To have an inside criticism on different purposes and techniques used to attain them in research is a big chance not to experience again crisis, conflicts or catastrophes.

The young Rugina was not a leftist critical thinker, but living in the States he was able to enter dialog on economic and social systems (see American capitalism at a crossroads, 1976, Exposition Press, Hicksville, N. Y). Ideologically, he was not an entirely sympathetic or uncritical view of the writings of Walras, Marx and Keynes (among others). Eucken was a source of inspiration for him and it was probably during Rugina's association with Eucken at the University of Freibrug i.Br. during 1944-1948 that what Rugina later called a new research programme was conceived.

New research programmes, new methodologies and new visions - here are the kind of thought Rugina generously created and spread all over the world. All these generated ISINI, a society to promote new ideas.

I have met Rugina in August 1990 at Paris at the first ISINI Congress. In December 89 I have received a new issue of a Soviet journal, the few foreign ones a thirsty for knowledge Romanian researcher was afforded to. These Soviet journals offered reformist socialism and not Stalinist communism, so they seemed to me quite fresh and new! But the big novelty for me was to read an invitation to a Congress in Paris. The Call for papers was signed Anghel N. Rugina - a name I've never heard before. The replacement of Ceausescu with the young wolfs was an announced death some years before, but the freedom to get out was really a huge event for me. I've written to Rugina and I was surprised to receive a long and warm letter inviting me to participate.

Paris, summer, 1990. All shared a general enthusiasm for the fall of oppressive state socialism. Amidst this enthusiastic atmosphere a really bright and optimistic figure: professor Rugina. He wrote a lot of optimistic economic reform programs for almost all former socialist countries, Romania, Republic of Moldova and Soviet Union included. Many characterized them as utopian for the proposal of coming back to bimetallism, but the awkward inflation that followed after revolution demonstrated that in some countries bimetallism could be the solution for transition to normal economy. At least, this could be done for some years. Anyway, I criticized Rugina, at an ISINI Conference in Mexico, for lack of realism in his proposals. This consolidated our friendship, and he continued to give some advices in my End Means Methodology (EMMY), presented for the first time outside Romania in 1990, even it was too late to change something in my belief that this could replace all social sciences...

My idealism was so strong that I did believe that Rugina could come to ISINI Conference in Bucharest. But Time was impatient and Rugina died in December, 15th last year. I've talked to him by telephone some months before and he promised me I am free to translate and publish all his work. But these were only the last illusions. Still today I do not know who the testamentary heir for the property rights is. I think that all his writings deserve to be collected and published in a special final edition, firstly in English, then in any other language.

Also, memories of those who knew and met him are really important to have a good model for future research. I wait for them thanking in advance.

Of course, Rugina is a (great) social economist and many of us do not share all his visions, but I think the common denominator for all ISINI members is to openly discuss any new ideas able to improve future research approaches. Question is: is someone who not wants a stable, free and moral economy? Except dictators, I suppose not. Problem is still without solution, since a lost of unstable economies in the world generate nowadays immoralities and lack of real freedom. Thinking economics, politics and ethics as a continuum, teaching all these as a single subject to the future leaders and managers may be part of a solution.

Due to the big efforts of the Governor of the National Bank of Romania, acad. Mugur Isarescu, the remains of our founding father were brought in Bucharest and buried in Bellu Militari cemetery.

Rugina left us not only ideas and a sum of books, but he left us ISINI as an excellent laboratory for new ideas. Let honor his name by using it properly!

God rest him in peace!

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