He was born to Lauchlin Bernard Currie, an operator of a fleet of merchant ships, and Alice Eisenhauer Currie, a schoolteacher. After his father died in 1906, when Currie was four, his family moved to nearby Bridgewater where most of his schooling was done.
He later attended schools in Massachusetts and California where he had relatives. In 1922, after two years at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Currie moved to the United Kingdom to study at the London School of Economics under Edwin Cannan, Hugh Dalton, A. L. Bowley, and Harold Laski.
From the LSE, Currie moved to Harvard University where his chief inspiration was Allyn Abbott Young, then president of the American Economic Association. At Harvard, he earned his Ph.D. in 1931 for a dissertation on banking theory.
He got US citizenship in 1934, when he became a senior analyst for Treasury Secretary Morgenthau. In July 1939 Currie became Roosevelt's personal economic adviser and one of his six administrative assistants. Called by his many detractors an inflexible enthusiast, a consummate academician who looked at China through the eyes of a Keynesian economist, Currie undertook the first in a series of missions to China in January 1941. At first he thought Stwell had the right approach toward helping China, but on 24 August 1942 he recommended that the general, Amb Clarence E. Gauss, and T. V. Soong be recalled for having irreconcilable differences with Chiang Kai-shek. No action was taken, but the economist’s wrongheaded convictions grew during the next two years until the China Lobby finally won out. Barbara Tuchman.
The short, self-assured Scot.