“Immense economist” and “outstanding pedagogue”: Daniel Cohen is dead

Economist Daniel Cohen, in Paris on April 6, 2017 (AFP/Archives/Jacques DEMARTHON)

Author of numerous essays and fine analyst of capitalism, the economist Daniel Cohen died Sunday at the age of 70, the academic and political world mourning the “brilliant researcher” and the “outstanding pedagogue”.

Known to the general public for his interventions in the media, this specialist in sovereign debt, born in 1953 in Tunis, was notably president of the Paris School of Economics, an internationally renowned university center for economic research.

The disappearance of Daniel Cohen, seriously ill for several months, was announced to AFP by his publishing house Albin Michel, confirming information from the newspaper Le Monde.

He knew how to make “the most complicated things accessible”, embodying “a book author who had met a very large audience”, praised AFP Alexandre Wickham, editorial director at Albin Michel.

His death aroused many reactions in the political and economic world.

“Daniel Cohen was a professor. A man of ideals and transmission. Of debates and commitment. We are losing a great intellectual, an economist who made our French research shine, a sincere humanist” declared Emmanuel Macron on X (formerly Twitter).

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne expressed, still on X, her “sadness” on learning of the disappearance of Mr. Cohen, whose “vision of the French economy and the great revolutions, in particular digital, will be missed in the public debate”.

The Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire hailed on X “a huge economist, but also an outstanding pedagogue, a pioneer of new ideas, a brilliant and convincing author”.

“He will have been valuable advice during the COVID crisis. We are all losing a voice and a friend,” said the minister.

For his part, the environmental MEP Yannick Jadot said he regretted a man “remarkably intelligent, connected to the issues of our time”.

– Filed on the left –

Daniel Cohen was known for his analysis of inequalities, changes in capitalism and its crises, as well as their consequences on society, work, or the individual.

The economist, whose last book “Homo numericus: The + civilization + that comes” was published in 2022, was close to the left.

He had supported François Hollande in the presidential election in 2012, then Benoît Hamon in 2017, seduced then by his idea of ​​universal income.

A former student of the École Normale Supérieure, graduate in mathematics in 1976 and doctor of economics in 1986, Daniel Cohen had also been a columnist and member of the supervisory board of the newspaper Le Monde.

He has won the Economics Book Prize twice – in 2000 for his book “Nos temps moderne” (Flammarion, 2008) and in 2012 for “Homo Economicus, (lost) prophet of new times” (Albin Michel, 2012), recalled Le Monde.

Daniel Cohen was “one of the greatest intellectuals, economists, driven by all the concerns and science of the moment, someone irreplaceable”, testified to AFP Frédéric Worms, director of the Ecole Normale Supérieure , of which Mr. Cohen was professor emeritus.

– Generations of students –

“His genius, he who was normalien in mathematics, was to master the tools of the economy with an overall vision of the world and of justice, to master the entire economic spectrum, from mathematical analysis to philosophy. politics”, further estimated the director.

“He created a school of economics which distributed all over the world, with Nobel Prizes, like Esther Duflo, and he managed to keep the link with his students and to bring them back to Paris, like Esther Duflo or Gabriel Zucman”.

The latter praised to AFP a man “endowed with communicative energy” who “trained generations of students at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and many researchers, transmitting to them the taste for an economic discipline in dialogue with all the social sciences, humanist and open to the world”.

Researchers, still on X, hailed the “prolific and endearing” man of science, the “flamboyant popularizer of the economy”, who had “such an appetite for life and ideas, such a thirst for debate”. Others testify that they would not have become economists if they “had not had the chance to cross his path”.

The media world also paid tribute to Daniel Cohen, as the director of France Inter Adèle Van Reeth who praised the “outstanding pedagogue”.

© 2023 AFP

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