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Former Economist deputy editor Norman Macrae dies

Writer who accurately predicted the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of an industrial Japan die

Norman Macrae, former Economist journalist, died on 11 June, aged 89.

Macrae spent almost his entire career - about 40 years - at the weekly free-market newspaper, and was its deputy editor from 1965 to 1988.

The Economist in an obituary called him "one of the intellectual giants of post-war Britain" who was a "brutal editor and a savage critic of flabby ideas".

A die-hard optimist and an extraordinarily self-contained figure, Macrae's ideas were rooted in the English liberalism of the 19th century. He was considered a prescient journalist. The Economist says his greatest gift was his "uncanny ability to predict the future."

A believer in free-market economics when collectivism was in fashion, he considered the post-War obsession with industrial policy and government planning as "flabby politics and failed economics."

Macrae accurately predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union almost a decade in advance. In 1962, he wrote a survey that foresaw the rise of Japan as an industrial power.

He was not always right, however. He once argued that the growing life expectancy would in the future turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing and recommended a "system of planned death" to deal with its effects. In 1975, he predicted that euthanasia would one day become as acceptable as abortion to deal with an ageing population.