JOHN LETICHE

Obituary
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LETICHE--John Marion,

died peacefully in his sleep in Berkeley, CA on September 5, 2017, at the age of 98. He was Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and long time a crusader for a stronger historical and social self-awareness in the field of economics. He was born November 11, 1918 in Uman, Russia. He had been a Guggenheim Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow (Council on Foreign Relations), Fulbright Fellow, and Fellow of the American Academy of Learned Societies. He received the Adam Smith Medal from the University of Verona. Letiche came to the University of California in 1946; a university he proudly served as lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor and as professor 'called back' until 1998. He did his BA (1940) and MA (1941) at McGill University and PhD (1951) at the University of Chicago. At Chicago Jacob Viner and Theodore W. Schultz were his principal points of reference. During WWII he served at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York focused on the Soviet-American economic cooperation to win the war. His earliest academic success (1952) came from his study of Isaac Gervaise whose 1720 treatise on economic (dis-)equilibriums in international economics was a first; Letiche pursued the theme of economic (mal- )adjustment and its redress throughout his career, to "Balance of Payments and Economic Growth" (1958), and his work on African and Russian economies. Letiche was a firm believer in the virtues of multinational cooperation above bilateralism or unilateralism; convinced that fairness and justice lead faster to peace and welfare than egoism or the exercise of raw power. He was a passionate scholar who right up to his death was working on a manuscript reflecting (amongst other matters) on Thomas Piketty's assertions. As a teacher, Letiche stressed the necessity for intelligent government regulation and balance between personal and social gain. He was passionate about the benefits to Americans of positive economic and political development in Russia and Africa. He was the longtime chairman of the University's Committee on Regent's and Chancellor's Distinguished Visiting Professors; whereby for decades he proudly encouraged scholars and artists from abroad to be visiting professors in Berkeley. His much loved wife Emily Letiche died August 28, 2010; he is survived by his son Hugo and his wife Maria; three grandchildren Maurice, Mascha and Terrence, and five great-grandchildren. The memorial service will be at Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, CA Friday, September 15 at 16:00.

Published in The New York Times on Sept. 12, 2017
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