Is this the top ten most influential economists of all time?

Opposing Views put this out. I thought I would see what everyone thought:

10) John Locke – A pioneer in discussing the accumulation of private property (within God’s laws) in the mid 1600’s.

9) David Ricardo – Major writer in the early 1800’s on free trade (specialization and comparative advantage) and the rise of capitalism.

8) Irving Fisher – An American monetarist in the first half of the twentieth century, wrote ‘The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions’ in 1933, also wrote ‘The Theory of Interest’.

7) Joseph Schumpeter – Austrian economist specializing in business cycle theory, wrote ‘Business Cycles’ in 1939.

6) Friedrich A. Hayek – Member of the modern Austrian school, along with Ludwig von Mises, defenders of democracy and free-markets against socialist thought in the mid-twentieth century. Best books: The Road to Serfdom (Hayek, 1944) and Human Action (Mises, 1949).

5) Alan Greenspan – A pioneer in macro-economic modeling and forecasting, also a pretty good FED Chairman for almost two decades.

4) Milton Friedman – Recently deceased, modern day monetarist. A staunch defender of free markets and limited government intervention, he will be missed.

3) Karl Marx – Father of socialist economics. Very influential from mid-1800’s to mid-1900’s, but losing steam today.

2) John M. Keynes – Father of Keynesian economics. He introduced modern macro-economics in both theory and policy to the world. Keynes died in 1946, but is still intensely debated today.

1) Adam Smith – Revolutionized economics by writing ‘The Wealth of Nations’ in 1776. He is still revered today as father of economics, political economist and moral philosopher. Smith taught that pursuit of individual self-interest acts as an invisible hand to contribute to the common good. My hero!”

Now, of course, talking influential this is probably a very good list. I would imagine that if this is ranked by most compared to least. If this is true, I would imagine Smith would be much lower. Keynes would probably be number one next to Marx. If it was true that Adam Smith was more influential and Milton Friedman was number four, you would imagine our world would be more classically liberal than it is now. I wish it was the case that the most influential was Smith, Hayek, Mises, and Friedman.

This is a good thought in mind, when we think about who to read. Everyone should probably read at least 5 of the above, whether they agree or disagree and explore those thoughts. Of course, beware Greenspan is very different then the stuff he wrote with Ayn Rand.



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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It looks pretty accurate, except I’d disagree with putting Greenspan on there. Paul Samuelson should definitely be on there.

  2. Just discovered your blog. I would also not include Greenspan in the top 10, but neither would I add Samuelson. Who I would like to see on the list is Fredrich Bastiat (or the more modern Henry Hazlitt) but both fall into the I wish that more people rad and understood these guys list.

  3. I would have liked to see Ludwig von Mises on this list, though it would be hard to leave out Greenspan and Bernanke because of how (terribly) they have influenced the world. They created the largest bubble in the history of the world, no small feat.

  4. i disgree with some of your 10 most influential economists in the world. I won’t name anyone that should be excluded but i think Alfred Marshall and John Stuart Mills deserve to be name in the top ten.

  5. Alban Phillips needs to be on the list. He has been in every economics textbook since the 1950s and his “phillips curve”, or rather, how his data was interpreted was partly motivating Friedman in his work that eventually got him a nobel. As a concept derived from data, the phillips curve or what it represents is still causing a raging worldwide debate after nearly 50 years!

  6. galbraith and krugman

  7. No offense to Hayek, but choosing him for this list over Mises is ridiculous. Human Action is widely considered to be the greatest piece of work from the Austrian school.

  8. Keynes should be on top of the list…We need him more today than anybody else

  9. Someone once said that there have only really been three revolutionary thinkers in the field of economics in modern history:
    Adam Smith
    Karl Marx
    The latter has been almost completely removed from history because even today, his observations and principles threaten the security of those who use the fundamental errors in our orthodox financial & economic systems to secure their own powerful positions of control over the entire industrialized world.
    Douglas was a contemporary of Keynes, and despite his popularity was blotted out by the media and its financial contributors. That he is not on this list is a testimony of the media’s success in this regard.

    If Douglas’ principles were adopted at that time, then our need for continuous expansion (Export! Export! Export!) and its corollaries of 3rd world starvation, war and environmental destruction would be but memories of a neurotic past.


  10. I don’t know about others but I can definantly say that john maynard keynes is the most influential economist I have ever studied!!! And I also still believe that his theories are the general theory not a special case as others say

  11. I still argue people,J M keynes is the best and most influential economist I have ever read in history

  12. Marx is the butcher of the world and Keyens’ IQ was as good as middle school student John Locke is a political philosopher. If he is an economist then Chinese Lao a better one. The fact is that Marx and Keyens were totally wrong.Only Adam Smith to Hayek and our founding fathers remain, bringing the lights to the world.

  13. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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