Interviewing Lloyd Gruber is a picnic, a picnic on a par with the mad hatter’s tea party, only more energetic, and a little bit more rational. Lloyd is very happy that he is a political scientist, and he is very happy to be at the LSE, happy to have swopped Chicago for London.
“I fell in love with England and with the intellectual culture here; I fell in love with public policy and became a true believer in public policy training and what it could do and when I came here I looked around and we didn’t have a public policy school and I thought that was curious and along with some other people here, we created one.”
Dr. Lloyd Gruber (International Development, MPA) was one of my first contacts at the LSE to experiment with PRS in his teaching. We made a deal that I would help him with the technology and in turn he’d let me sit in on his seminars, ostensibly to observe his teaching, but really to enjoy a free lesson in international development. What I remember from that is that he ruined fair trade coffee for me, or rather not the coffee itself but its idea, its being the perfect tonic for middle class guilt. I ask him about this again, and he explains:
This is the problem with political scientists, they pull the carpet right from under you – and that is also what Lloyd loves doing in his teaching.
“One of the things I love to do in class – or just in life – is use theory, that is to take assumptions that people have and put holes in them.”
“For me, social science serves a purpose. But it is also fun, it is about playing with ideas, it is almost like art. You know: artists have fun with paint, you can see it in their work and I think that spirit of having fun – in this case with ideas – in the service of development, is perfectly consistent.”
“I had [Pascal Lamy] come before his public talk to a smaller gathering [with] our MPA students and […] I think he was a bit taken aback at first but then he loved it, the students loved it… I think we should do that. We can transform things overnight.”