By Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide

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Yet when all has been said the fact remains that the further a youth can carry his general education the more thoroughly will he be benefitted by the specialised preparation for a particular career when he undertakes it. It seems to me that the methods most generally in vogue in English speaking countries have been rendered somewhat confusing by the want of a more defined line between the commercial training which aims at raising the knowledge and the status of the ordinary clerk, and the real commercial education of the men whose position and prospects justify the assumption that they are likely to be leaders in, and controllers of wide mercantile operations wherein their own individuality and capacity will be the final measure of success or failure.

Only a few of the Lectures since at least the mid-1920s are not part of mainstream economic thinking of the time. One in particular is worthy of mention, namely that by the British social historian Asa Briggs, in 1960, on the mass entertainment industry. It provides a fascinating history of that industry’s development since the 1800s. According to Lord Briggs, it has been quoted more than any other lecture he has given. Joseph Fisher would have been pleased that this series not only started with a Lecture on higher education, but also includes the 2001 Lecture by Peter Karmel who has had a distinguished career in higher education administration since leaving the George Gollin Chair in Economics at Adelaide in the mid1960s.

Only one female has given a Fisher Lecture so far, a reflection of the male dominance until recently of the world of economics and business. More than a dozen of the past Lecturers appear in Who’s Who in Economics (edited by Mark Blaug and published by Edward Elgar), thirteen were knighted, and two have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Brief biographies of each of them follow. They are listed in alphabetical order, with the Fisher Lecture number and date given after their name. , 1915-2002 (FASSA) (No.

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