Following a couple of articles last week on how economists don’t do the “Big Think” anymore, NPR offers us up some stories on “thinkers who have had a lasting influence on economic policymakers.”
Who are these thinkers, you ask? Well, first up is Ayn Rand, the notable “objectivist” author of the classics The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Probably wouldn’t have been my first choice as a big economic thinker, but she is certainly still making headlines. Ouch.
Next up for the NPR listeners is Austrian school economist, Frederich Hayek. Hayek is a would-be macro rapper, market proponent, and author of The Road to Serfdom — this term’s group read. Is it ironic that National Public Radio is profiling him?
Finally, NPR gives us John Maynard Keynes himself, another would-be macro rapper. Keynes would no doubt agree that NPR is on to something with their profiles of influential economists:
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.
Keynes himself is hardly a defunct economist, his lasting influence prompted Richard Nixon’s lamentation, “We are all Keynsians now.” Indeed, the venerable General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money spawned Keynsianism, New Keynsianism, Post Keynsianism, and a lot of other Keynsianisms. The links all seem good to me.
I’m giving this one the upstart “people you should know” tag.
So get to know them.