Department history: T.W. Schultz and the Butter-Margarine War

May 24, 2021

T.W. SchultzThe University of Chicago Booth School of Business published a May 23 story, "Iowa's "Butter-Margarine War": T. W. Schultz’s Fight for Academic Freedom" about a notable chapter in the Department of Economics history. 

"During the Second World War, economists at Iowa State College published a pamphlet titled “Putting Dairying on a War Footing,” which would later come to be known as Pamphlet No. 5. What followed was a months-long battle for academic freedom litigated throughout Iowa. There used to be an “Ames School” of economics. At Iowa State College between about 1930 and 1945, a group of economists, led by then-identified “agricultural” economist T. W. Schultz, pushed two methodological experiments. One experiment, quite popular across Iowa, was the identity-crafting promotion of applied economics through making recommendations reaching all the way to grassroots decision-making. Iowa State’s economists analyzed economic and social forces to recommend rational strategies for various producer and consumer groups across Iowa. The other experiment, to assert academic freedom and to pursue intellectual honesty, proved more painful and unpopular than any other “school”-branding maneuver ever tried."

Read the ProMarket story.