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March 18, 2009

Clark W. Reynolds, Stanford economist who focused on Latin America, dead at 74

Clark Reynolds, an expert in Latin American economic development who sought to bridge the gap between rich and poor, died March 9 from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 74.

Reynolds came to Stanford as an associate professor in 1967, six years after teaching at Occidental College and Yale.

In 1969, he met with Latin American leaders about social and economic development policies as part of a panel created by President Nixon. The panel, led by then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of New York, concluded the United States should increase trade, ease restrictions on providing financial aid and take a less paternalistic approach in dealing with its neighbors to the south.

"That was a very exciting time for my dad," said Rebecca Hemphill, one of Reynolds' daughters. "He was very interested in equalization in terms of trade and alleviating poverty."

He taught in Stanford's now-defunct Food Research Institute until 1996 and served on the U.S.-Mexico Project as director of the university's Americas Program, which sponsored research on the social, economic and political aspects of development. The U.S.-Mexico Project brought together 25 Mexican and American scholars whose research ultimately led to the foundations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Reynolds testified at a Senate hearing on the potential impact of NAFTA and wrote several books about trade relations among the United States, Mexico and Canada.

"Ties are being built in all directions—investment, trade, migration, technology and tastes—indicating the enormous gains from economic interdependence," he wrote in The Dynamics of North American Trade and Investment, a book published in 1991. "What is needed is a more formal approach that permits integration to take place within a legal and institutional framework capable of protecting the interests of all three countries, respecting the difference of their unique cultures and supporting their highest values."

Born in Chicago on March 13, 1934, Clark Winton Reynolds moved with his parents to San Diego when he was a teenager. Raised in a conservative Christian home as a Plymouth Brethren, he graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1956 and enrolled in MIT's graduate program in economics as a Woodrow Wilson and Danforth fellow.

He then spent a year at Harvard Divinity School before going to the University of California-Berkeley, where he earned his doctorate in 1962. Although Reynolds avoided affiliation with any religious denomination, he sought to braid his sense of faith with a belief that economic policy should focus on easing poverty and striking global financial balance.

"He was a person of deep spirituality," Hemphill said. "I don't think he saw studying theology and economics as being divergent. He saw economics as a method of pursuing real-life social justice that was consistent with the themes he was raised with of being a moral and good person."

Reynolds became a professor emeritus in 1996 and went to China to teach at Johns Hopkins Nanjing Center in Nanjing and at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai between 2001 and 2003. He returned to Stanford, where he taught in the Continuing Studies Program. His later work focused on "new regionalism" and the relationship between macroeconomics and microeconomics.

In his final paper, which has not yet been submitted, Reynolds noted that "every region of every country is becoming more and more interdependent with the rest of the nation, its neighbors and the world." And while that notion poses the chance for conflict, he urged that it lead to new opportunities.

"We are on the threshold of a new world of Shared Development or a Dark Age of inequality," he wrote. "The outcome will be mutual understanding or strife. The choice is global in scope. But decisions must begin at home. This is not a time for fear but for patience and understanding."

In addition to Hemphill, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M., Reynolds is survived by his wife, Nydia Reynolds of Stanford; his sister, Lynnette Eldridge of Milton, Fla.; sons C. Winton Reynolds III of Austin, Texas, and Matthew L. Reynolds of Santa Rosa, Calif.; daughter Camila Reynolds of Los Angeles; and four grandsons, one granddaughter and several nieces and nephews.



Adam Gorlick, News Service: (650) 725-0224,


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