Seems like more people I know are dying. In this case it is a good friend of mine and occasional co-author, the Swedish economist, Tonu Puu, who was born in Estonia of an Estonian father and a mother of German ancestry. As it was, he ended up speaking a very large number of languages, as well as being very cosmopolitan in many other ways. He was 83 years old and had cancer for some time, which is what I presume he did of, although the announcement did not specify a cause, but it happened this past Saturday in Umea in northern Sweden, where he was at the university there for most of his career.
Before talking about his work in economics, I want to note that probably more important for him was music. He made baroque instruments such as viols and harpsichords and was so good at it that professional musicians had him make such instruments for them. For many years he ran an annual Baroque music festival that attracted fine musicians from all over the world to Umea. I shall note here that an important characteristic of Tonu, which some of you may not like, was that he was deeply conservative in many ways. A sign of this in music is that he considered Beethoven to be the “worst thing that ever happened to music,” at least I heard him say that. He saw Beethoven as being ultimately responsible for there being rock concerts in Venice that knocked off parts of the roof of the opera house. I happen to disagree with that, seeing that as a pretty shaky link, but this was the sort of long-run perspective that he took to many things, full of his own integrity that ignored popular and transient trends, even if those were centuries long.