Most Influential Economists
The economy influences your quality of life. The economic policies adopted and their consequent functions impact the health of the economy. The policies influence not only the present but the future as well. Its ripples are felt across generations. A few economists have made their mark on history and in our lives as well.
Adam Smith (1723 to 1790)
Smith is often termed "Father of Modern Economics". His impact is vast and so wide-ranging that the modern UK currency note carries his picture. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow when he was only 14 years old. Smith is best known for his seminal work, the book "The Wealth of Nations". The economist gave a cogent argument for market competition and free trade in the book. The morality of the private enterprise is explained in detail. The book continues to be the mainstay of economic policies all over the world.
Karl Marx (1818 to 1883)
Marx is remembered more as a revolutionary pusher of communism but he was also an excellent classical economist. Marxian theories predict that capitalism would result in economic crises and fluctuations- and he was correct. Marx published “The Communist Manifesto” and hugely influenced the 20th-century communist movements. His policies reshaped many countries' political landscapes. Love him or hate him, Marx's shadow is wider and lengthier than many would think.
John Maynard Keynes (1883 to 1946)
Keynes, a UK national, long fought against the popular notion that free markets will automatically lead to full employment, leading to a revolution in economics. It was his proposal that intervention of the state is a must during an economy's boom and bust cycles. This policy was adopted by most western governments during the earlier decades of the 20th century. Keynesian policies petered out during the latter decades of the 20th century before making a noticeable comeback during the 21st-century global economic crisis. This was seen prominently in the United Kingdom when Gordon Brown bumped up the fiscal stimulus in his attempt to fight the recession.
Milton Friedman (1912 to 2006)
Known as a champion of free markets, Friedman was educated first at Rutgers University, the University of Chicago, and also at Columbia University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976. Friedman is best noted for work done on monetary stabilization policy, consumption analysis, and monetary history. He is a polarizing economist, with many blaming him for the rise of economic policy conservatism in the United States, especially during the Reagan era.
Jan Tinbergen (1903 to 1994)
The Dutch economist is another Nobel Prize winner in this list. Educated at the famed Universiteit Leiden, he is regarded as a pioneer in the econometrics field, which is the application of the macroeconomic models to crafting economic policies. His methods continued to be applied to economic data even today.
John Forbes Nash Jr. ( 1928 -Present)
Nash is a genius mathematician and not an economist by training. However, his game theory has substantially influenced market economics. Nash's work is so influential that he was given the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. He is a classic example of genius and insanity, having afflicted with schizophrenia all his life. Hollywood even made a film on him.
Muhammad Yunus (1940 to Present)
Yunus is known for his monumental work done in the poorer areas of the world. He discovered quite early in his career that minuscule loans could disproportionately impact in a positive manner on any poor person. Before Yunus came into the picture, banks were loath to provide loans to poor people. He started the policy of microcredit, now a standard in most poor countries of the world. It has the potential to alleviate the constant specter of poverty. Critics, however, argue that those taking such loans could end up in a debt trap.