Dear Prof. Block,
I saw you quoted in a New York Times article yesterday about Bernie Sanders’ life growing up in Brooklyn and that prompted me to write.
I was in your class on Labor Economics in Baruch College the first year you were teaching out of Columbia. Besides the course text you had us read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlett and each of us had to make a presentation in front of the class on a chapter we were assigned. I had the chapter on rent control and had the chutzpah to disagree with Prof. Hazlett, the first of the students through the semester who actually disagreed with one of the author’s viewpoints. I remember you jumped up in amazement that someone had actually thought through what Prof. Hazlett had to say and that the subsequent discussion took up the entire period.
This email isn’t meant to be all about me, though. For me, you were the professor who made economics interesting and related it to real life. Since that course I have followed economics and policy more closely and with more understanding. Thanks to you, economics is not a dismal science and it is easier to understand. I went on to get an MBA in Transportation Management and International Business and the understanding of economics helped me in jobs I had in pricing of cargo rates and passenger fares in the air transportation industry. I’m not a libertarian and I still believe, like in my review of the chapter on rent control, that maybe government has to intervene in the market for an over-riding social good.
I am glad to see you have become such a distinguished person in the field, but knowing you, you’re still probably the same enthusiastic teacher you were back in 1973. I can imagine there were thousands who came after me for whom you made economics come alive. Thank you again.