Professor Edward Nell was born and brought up in a suburb of Chicago, and attended, first Princeton, then Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. After studying math and engineering, he shifted to Economics, but with an emphasis, on the one hand on methodology and social philosophy, and on the other, on policy, social as well as economic. He has written articles, ranging from philosophy and anthropology, to pure economic theory, to applied work and policy. His interests range across macroeconomics, from monetary theory and financial markets to employment policies, all in the context of growth. But he considers steady growth a fiction, and not a particularly useful idea. Growth is always transformational, and the forces pressing for transformation – innovation, changes in distribution and in the character of social classes and institutions, in the role of government – are also the forces driving growth.
This has led him to his recent work in dynamics, conceived broadly as the study of the changing character of the economy over time, to be explored technically, but with a close eye to history and institutions. He has served as an advisor to governments and NGOs, and he has taught and lectured at many universities in many countries. He is the Malcolm B. Smith Professor of Economics at the New School For Social Research in New York.