Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

The Top 10 Most Influential Economists of All-Time

Keeping up with Letterman, Heartland Institute policy advisor and economist John Skorburg works up his own “top ten list” of famous and influential economists. Who had more influence on economics, over the years, than the following 10?

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!

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