John Letiche, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of economics, died on Sept. 5 at the age of 98.
In a New York Times obituary, Letiche was described as a “crusader for a stronger historical and social self-awareness in the field of economics” who was actively engaged in research until the time of his death.
His research covered many fields, including international economics, development and macroeconomics. Colleagues said that Letiche had a very broad knowledge of the Russian economy, Africa and Asia.
He had been Invited by the Royal Academy of Sciences to nominate candidates for the award of the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, for 1973, and periodically thereafter.
In his 2011 autobiography, Crises and Compassion: From Russia to the Golden Gate, Letiche recalled his Kiev childhood, formative years in Depression-era Montreal, and his later life in higher education and a on Rockefeller fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. He also served as a technical adviser to the Economic Commission for Africa, where he conducted trade talks with heads of state in sub-Saharan Africa, and shared a working White House dinner with an American president.
The book also includes observations of his front row seat for the Free Speech Movement while teaching at Berkeley.