May 7, 2014 Print

Gary S. Becker, "the greatest social scientist who has lived and worked in the last half century”, as his mentor Milton Friedman called him, passed away recently. Becker revolutionized social sciences by systematically using rationality to better understand human behavior. A devotee of individual liberty under the rule of law, he is probably most famous for his concept of “human capital.” Emmanuel Martin, the director of the Institute for Economic Studies – Europe and an analyst at Atlas Network, pays tribute to Becker’s contributions to our world and the way he changed it. In his article on, Martin says, “His method was to systematize the analysis of what he called the ‘economic approach’ to various aspects of human and social life. His extension of the rationality assumption to behavior not strictly speaking belonging to the market realm was based on the idea that individuals always balance the costs and benefits of action and thus tend to ‘maximize’ their utility – in fact he saw individuals as producers of their own utility.” Below is a 2008 video interview with Becker on globalization and inequalities. Read Martin's full article here.