The 10 Most Influential Economists (Still ALIVE)

What is Obama Doing in the Economy?

So if you were sitting then in the turmoil of the economic upheaval and had to get on the phone to the one person that was likely to get you through the mortgage rates hikes and the jobless rates or the spiraling debt and inflationary pressure, then who would you immediately think of?

Picture it: President Obama sitting there (probably somewhat prostrate right now seeing as he’s only got a couple of years left in the cushy job) in the Oval Office as Michele isUptown Funking it to shed the pounds behind his back. Obama has little else to do except try to get some heat from the spotlight as he gets his comedy act together at the White House correspondents’ dinner. Serious work being a stand-up comic. Comic work being a President these days. So Obama acts as if he’s running a TV show. This is what they wanted the day they let the little Teflon President (remember that? The slime and dirt just ran down his back off of him and nobody remembered the negative stuff) go from the big screen to the blame-free Oval Office and become Mr. President as if it were a role to be played out, a walking shadow, a poor player. That’s struts and frets his hour upon the stage. This is why Obama thinks that the USA has turned into a giant TV show. It’s the strutting and the fretting. The only saving grace is that he will be heard no more at some very impending moment.

Obama believes the US economy is like Who wants to be a millionaire?, US style, where he gets a lifeline and has to phone a friend or something. He’s used everything else up and there’s certainly no chance of asking the audience. Obama has been jumping the question so far, but if he really had to phone that one friend that would provide him with the answer to solving the economic woes of the country (and the world), then who would it be? Who is that friend that he’d get on the phone to?

One thing for certain when it comes to the phone-a-friend lifeline, it wouldn’t be Janet Yellen that President Obama gets to call. She wasn’t even deemed as being influentially anything only back in December 2014 by The Economist. Remember, apparently she is too powerful to be on the list. You can hear The Economist quaking in its article boots as Yellen clods down the corridors of the Federal Reserve, can’t you?

There are plenty of people that he might like to phone, but they are mostly six-feet under these days. But, there are still influential economists in the world alive today. Coming up with a list of those that have shaped our economies in the past is easy. Those that are still alive is another kettle of fish.

Top 10?

But, here are the top ten most influential economists around today in the world. Most of them are in the USA, which should surely mean that we are going to get it right someday. Maybe however the list is not what you are going to be expecting. Maybe these are the people that will shape the economies we live in to a better future. They are not in order (except alphabetical) of importance as it’s impossible to compare them with each other.

What worries us today? Most people are worried about money, and being able to pay the bills. Most fret about whether the education they have is going to be worth it (yet again money) and get them a good job so that they can earn the money that they need. Some are worried about food on the tale every day and some are worried that the financial markets are let lose to do what they want. Each of us has their own worries, but these guys have been researching the answers to the worrying questions.

Abhijit Banerjee

An Indian economist (born in 1961). He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Banerjee argues that ant-poverty legislation is doomed to failure because it doesn’t address the real question of the lives of the poor. He asks such questions as “Why would a man in Morrocco who doesn’t have enough food to eat buy a television?”. Apparently, everyone is part of the solution and however good the policies to eradicate poverty are, they will fail, because governments lack in really implementing them and they have often created them without thinking about the poor, the end-user ultimately.

James Heckman

American economist (born in 1944). His research shows that there is a direct correlation between labor economics and the efficacy of early childhood programs in education. He has focused upon inequality and human development too. He has also shown that samples that are not randomly chosen lead to erroneous conclusions and therefore the implementing of bad policies by governments.

Amartya Sen

Indian economist and philosopher (born in 1933). Holder of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for 1998. He is most known for his research on welfare economics. According to Sen, famine and lack of food occurs from inequalities that are part and parcel of the food-distribution networks in our societies. This needs to be fundamentally changed for people to gain access to food that they need in all societies around the world.

Andrei Schleiffer

Russian-American economist (born in 1961) and Professor at Harvard University. He is the most published economist to date. He believes that the legal system of a country is the key influencer of the financial system that is created there. The Legal Origins Theory depends on whether a country has common law or civil law, for example and how the financial markets will then develop

Mark Skoussen

An American economist (born in 1947). His Economic Logic shows that entrepreneurial insight is the key to economic progress. He also believes that raising the minimum wage actually brings about an increase in the unemployment rate. He believes that Obama has been wrong to follow the Chicago School of Economics’ belief that there will be a positive impact of federal spending. He believes that stimulus will have had zero impact on the economy.

Thomas Sowell

An American economist (born in 1930) and a social theorist. Sowell is critical of affirmative action and writes on race-based topics. He believes that affirmative action is detrimental to all, stating that when preference is given for example to Blacks or Hispanics over whites for schools, then whites lose out. But, the minorities also lose out because society gives them a place at such top schools that they usually are destined to fail. Contrary to what governments believe in that they save minorities, he thinks that they do quite the opposite.

Joseph Stiglitz

American economist and professor at Columbia University (born in 1943). According to academic citations he is ranked 4th in terms of the most-cited economist today. He is part of the 100 most-influential people around, definitely. He postulated the “third way” for Clinton, espousing the idea that a limited role of government was not the solution, that leaving markets free to go rampant would break the economy. He also believes that the solutions brought today to the poorest in society and to the countries that are poverty-stricken are not the answer, throwing in that the International Monetary Fund is arrogant.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A Lebanese-American statistician and essayist (born in 1960). His research is centered around randomness and probability. He introduced the ‘black swan event’ in order to understand the present economic crisis. Banks and financial markets try to predict when negative black swan events will take place and this is impossible. They lose even more money trying to predict when the markets will react negatively. What they should be doing is building a robust environment and taking advantage of positive times rather than trying to predict when things are going to go wrong.

Jean Tirole

French economist (born in 1953) and 2014 holder of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. His research showed that banks and the financial markets take short-term risks and that market stimulation policy that was market based would work better than quantitative easing. He has also carried out research on the centralized role of bank management for governments.

Actually that’s 9! Not 10! The tenth place is up for grabs…WHO WOULD YOU LIST?

So where are the women up there? There are very few of them and the ones that are recognized are now dead. People such as Barbara Bergmann and Elinor Ostrom.

The people on that list are important because they have shaped the economies we are living in. They have shaped the way we live for good and for bad. Some have been published more than others, some are more mediatized than the rest, some work away at theories that will apparently make lives of the few, or the majority (depending where they are sitting) better.

What makes a great economist anyhow? Is it their political influence and their ability to shape decisions of politicians? Is it those that make the politicians change the laws to bend the economy in the direction that they believe it should go in? Or is it originality and in-depth analysis?

Who Will Obama Be Calling?

Well, we’ll see whose number President Obama brings up as he grabs his celly. “Clear for a 21, Mr. President?”.  Yeah, it’s about as old hat as the CB radio system at the moment. If the economists had the solutions, then the problems wouldn’t exist. But, hey, old problems, old solutions and same problems mushroom around the world. Old problems, new solutions and we just get worse problems sprouting all over the place. Better to stick with the devil you know, isn’t it?

At the moment though the Obama bumper stickers are getting a little too old and need scraping off. Trouble is, they are going to leave that sticky old residue of glue there for years to come and that’s going to collect the dirt as you drive along. Still you should have realized that day you walked into the diner and saw the waitress wearing an Obama button way back then when he was going for reelection in 2012. You shouldn’t have left that tip for her like you always do. You should have gone out of that diner and given it to the first bum on the streets that you could see, then walked right back in there and told that Obama-promoting waitress: “Since you’re up for voting for him, I redistributed your tip to that homeless guy who sleeps down the alley. Have a nice day, honey”. Who wants to be a millionaire anyhow? Is that your final answer, Mr. President?  I think he’s just run out of life-lines and phone-a-friend is no longer an option, is it, really?

So, who’s the living economist that you think might save the economy right now?

 Or don’t you think it needs saving anymore? 

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