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Ambassador College and Harvard graduate,
economist, physicist Orlin Grabbe dies

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Ambassador College and Harvard graduate,
economist, physicist Orlin Grabbe dies

by Dixon Cartwright

J. Orlin Grabbe, 60, a former member of the Worldwide Church of God, died unexpectedly at his home in San Jose, Costa Rica, on or about March 15, 2008, of an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Grabbe, who was born in Hale County, Texas, in 1947, graduated from Ambassador College, Pasadena, Calif., in 1970 and the University of California at Berkeley in 1976. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1981.

In Pasadena Mr. Grabbe was editor of the student newspaper, The Portfolio. In later life he wrote a widely circulated article about his years at AC called "Memories of Pasadena," which is available at

After AC Mr. Grabbe pursued his interests in science, especially mathematics. According to an article about him at, he "specialized in the study of financial derivative instruments and published important pricing models for futures, forward contracts and options, especially in the foreign exchange (FX) markets."

In 1986, while a faculty member at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, he wrote a book, International Financial Markets, still frequently cited as a reference for financial traders.

Mr. Grabbe politically was a libertarian and anarchist and, in later years from his home in Costa Rica (where he had moved in 1998), maintained a colorful and even outrageous Web site that featured his own writings and links to other articles and posts on science, political intrigue, philosophy, quantum physics and metaphysics.

He had edited a weekly online newspaper, The Laissez Faire Electronic Times, for two years beginning in 2002.


As noted at Wikipedia, the underlying theme in Mr. Grabbe's works was "chaos": the study of chaotic disorder in the form of "noise" in market pricing.

In financial markets, and in other areas of endeavor, he considered that a false dichotomy had grown up between order and chaos, "where induced fear of the horrors of total chaos is the favorite tool of those who seek power to enforce their own order on others."

Mr. Grabbe researched, and questioned, the official versions of controversial events, including the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the death in 1993 of Vince Foster, deputy White House counsel during the Clinton administration.

For example, Mr. Grabbe concluded that Mr. Foster was murdered rather than committed suicide. See his article at

Another article by Mr. Grabbe is "When Osama Bin Laden Was Tim Osman," at

Although not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, some Internet sources refer to Mr. Grabbe as having worked as a young man for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

A slogan at the top of the homepage of Mr. Grabbe's now-inactive site declared that "opposition to tyrants is obedience to God."

Mr. Grabbe's survivors include two brothers, Lester Grabbe, a professor of theology at the University of Hull in England, and Crockett Grabbe, a physics professor at the University of Iowa, and sisters Rhonda and Susan, both of Texas.

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