Fred Hirsch

(died in 1978)


Fred Hirsch, an economic adviser to the International Monetary Fund in Washington from 1966 to 1972, died on 11 January 1978 at his home at Leamington Spa after a long illness. He was 46. Fred had suffered from a paralytic disease.

Born in Vienna on 6 July 1931 Fred Hirsch's family moved to London and he  attended Holloway County School. He graduated from the London School of Economics in 1952 and joined the staff of The Banker, a British periodical, where he became the assistant editor.

He started work for The Economist in 1958 and served as its financial editor from 1963 to 1966. For the next six years, Mr. Hirsch was with the International Monetary Fund.

In 1972, he was named research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and in 1975 professor at the University of Warwick, a post he held at the time of his death.

In 1977 Harvard University Press published his book “:Social Limits to Growth.” A review in The New York Times  said the volume took a look at “the souring fruits” of the corporate economy that emerged at the end of the 19th century and contended that the “capitalist nostrum of unlimited economic growth” had begun to backfire.

“Eventually,” the reviewer wrote, “the competition is for what Hirsch calls ‘positional goods'—a house at the shore, tenure on the Harvard faculty, a Picasso on the wall—and these are, by definition, rather limited in supply.”

In  May 1977, in an article in The New York Times, Mr. Hirsch said material growth “can no longer deliver what has long been promised for it—to make everyone middle‐class.”

“Raising the level of the ladder as whole no longer provides those on the lower rungs with the same lift as those climbing higher on the ladder,” he said.

Fred leaves his wife, Ruth, and three sons, Timothy, Donald and Philip.