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Empire and Communications , the substance of his Beit Lectures delivered at Oxford in , was the first full-dress presentation of his work on communication. There followed two volumes of essays, The Bias of Communication and Changing Concepts of Time , but his magnum opus was incomplete when he died. His interest in communication was stimulated by reading the works of Arnold Toynbee , Oswald Spengler , and A. Kroeber and by discussions with his colleague Charles Cochrane, author of Christianity and Classical Culture, published in Further stimulation came through the contemplation of the similarity of the problems of government, communication, and maintenance of individual initiative in the Northwest Company and the Roman Empire.
Innis was born on a farm near Woodstock, Ontario, and received his schooling in a one-room public school near Norwich, then at Otterville High School, Woodstock Collegiate Institute, McMaster University, and, after a period of active service in France in the course of which he was severely wounded, at the University of Chicago. Knight , Harry A. Millis, Harold G. Moulton, and Jacob Viner; his thesis was written under the direction of Chester Wright; and he was heavily influenced by the writings of Thorstein Veblen.
Professional career. In he joined the staff of the department of political economy in the University of Toronto, where he served until his death; in he had become head of the department and in , dean of the school of graduate studies. His influence in the Canadian world of scholarship was very great. He gave encouragement and support to his colleagues across the country, and he knew them all through his travels.
Recognizing the importance of organization, he played a key role in reactivating the Canadian Political Science Association in and in founding its journal, The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, in Mackintosh, to which he contributed the volume on mining; and he played a major role as Canadian editor of the series on Relations of Canada and the United States , edited by J.
He was one of three who took the lead in establishing the Canadian Social Science Research Council in , and he helped his colleagues in the humanities to establish a similar council in Colleagues who had come under his influence and pupils who had worked under him as undergraduates or as graduate students came to permeate Canadian universities.
Recognition of his leadership is evidenced by his election as president of the Canadian Political Science Association in and president of the Royal Society of Canada in That his influence was felt beyond the bounds of Canada is indicated by his election as president of the Economic History Association in and president of the American Economic Association in Government service.
While his direct participation in the making of public policy was limited, he was deeply concerned and not without influence. But he was suspicious of scholars who play too large a part in public affairs; he was worried lest they lose their independence and their habit of continued questioning.
He was worried by their undue concern with the present, for his own concern was not with months and years but generations; and he was worried by their readiness to grasp at solutions, for he believed that an economist who is certain of the solution of any problem is certain to be wrong. Finally, he found their solutions generally involved planning and regimentation. Perhaps it was his Baptist upbringing that left the agnostic Innis with a residue of tough individualism and a strong distrust of the state.
Or was it perhaps the austere life of the farm? Canadian Frontiers of Settlement, Vol. Toronto: Macmillan. Edited by Mary Q. Bladen, V. American Economic Review Add to cart to save with this special offer. If you Buy It Now, you'll only be purchasing this item. If you'd like to get the additional items you've selected to qualify for this offer, close this window and add these items to your cart. Buy only this item Close this window -.
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Not in Greece? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. Harold A. Innis helped to found the field of Canadian economic history. He is best known for the "staples thesis" which dominated the discourse of Canadian economic history for decades. A Short History of Canada. Desmond Morton. Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders. Greg Malone. Canadian History for Dummies. Will Ferguson.
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Essays in Canadian economic history / Edited by Mary Q. Innis | National Library of Australia
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