A top ten list of economists always depends on criteria. So here I use a combination of my beliefs, their credentials and the impact they had on economic thought:
The founder of anarcho-capitalism and inspiration to presidential candidate Ron Paul formulated much of the Austrian theory especially with regards to the Great Depression and the American experience.
There is probably no one more responsible for the rise of econometrics and turning economics into a mathematical science. Whether or not that is a good thing, I’ll leave to the reader, but his contribution needs to be noted nonetheless.
Regardless of Hazlitt’s critique, Keynes has had an undeniable impact on economic thought and thereby deserves a place on this list.
This guy seems to publish a book every year and yet maintain an extremely high level of quality. There are few better at debunking economic myths and explaining economics then professor Sowell.
The leader of the Austrian school wrote seminal critiques of fascism, socialism and the mixed economy, and laid down the framework for the Austrian theory of the business cycle.
While Adam Smith is known as the founder of economics, Richard Cantillon was explaining how a market economy worked 5o years earlier.
Milton Friedman’s reputation took off when he predicted the stagflation of the 1970′s, then he won the 1976 Nobel Prize. His work inspired the “Reagan Revolution” (although very little of what he actually wanted was enacted). One of the most influential economists of the 20th century.
While his political thought has probably been more influential (think The Road to Serfdom) his economic work should not be overlooked, after all, he won the 1974 Nobel Prize for his work on the Austrian theory of the Business Cycle.
Perhaps his reputation of the “founder of modern economics” is hyperbole, but his work laid the groundwork for the fall of mercantilism and the rise of capitalism in the West which helped bring on the Industrial Revolution and the unparalleled prosperity we have today.
A great economist, who’s work on capitalism, socialism, democracy and corporatism is truly thought provoking.
The man who stood up to the statists on third world development. Today he’s finally starting to be recognized for his prescience.
A Keynesian economist who’s work on corporate welfare and intellectual property is well worth a look.
Another one of the great 18th century economists who helped laid the intellectual frameworks for market economics.
Higgs has devastated the myth that World War II got the United States out of the Depression and has done much to expose the corruption behind the military-industrial complex.
While I think his work has been thoroughly debunked by both theory and history, he had an enormous and continuing effect on economic thought.
Henry George is an interesting figure who basically took some socialism and capitalism and mixed them together, but without having them overlap. In George’s thought, all land should be owned in common, but products of labor should be owned privately. He provides a unique and thought-provoking way to look at economics.
The influential founder of the Chicago school of economics.
One of the most famous Keynesian economists of the 20th century.
Milton Friedman’s partner on the Monetary History of the United States. A great economist in her own right as well.
Another great economist from the good, old days who formulated “Say’s law.”
One of the most influential Keynesians of today who gained a reputation for his merited criticisms of the IMF, WTO and World Bank.
A fantastic economic historian who, by the way, makes fantastic documentaries.
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