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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 1, 2016

Steve Cheung as Teacher

John Umbeck
From the journal Man and the Economy


It was 1968 and I was studying economics with Armen Alchian at UCLA. It was my first year as a graduate student and Armen was teaching the Microeconomics course to all the first year grad students. While I had an undergraduate degree in economics, Armen was the first professor I had that made it fun and fascinating. To him, economics was the science of human behavior and not a bunch of mathematical mechanisms called a market. In the middle of this year, my military draft number was up and I was called to join the U.S. Army. However, my draft board gave me the choice of Army or college teaching. I asked Armen for some help and he wrote letters for me to various colleges, including California State College in San Luis Obispo. With only my masters degree, I was offered the job at Cal Poly and taught there for 3 years, until I was too old to be drafted into the military. I called Armen and told him I wanted to return to graduate school but I did not want to live again in Los Angeles. Where should I go? Without any hesitation, Armen said, “Go to the University of Washington and follow Steve Cheung wherever he goes. Take every course he teaches and listen carefully to everything he says.”

Published Online: 2016-6-1
Published in Print: 2016-6-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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