Policy makers who changed the course of history


Economists are distinguished fellows in the economic school of thought, those  who are aware of the minute details of policy creation and implementation for Socio-economic welfare. Their views are read across the globe, many a times causing revolutionary changes and altering the course of history.This is something that is achieved after years of study and analysis. In this article we mention some of the most famous people in economics. Those that are worth reading even if you are an amateur at economics.

Friedrich Hayek

Friedrich Hayek was  Born  on  8 May 1899, Vienna, Austria in the final year of the 19th century, He was one most ardent supporters of the Austrian School of Economics. Ludwig von Mises, a prominent figure in the Libertarian movement took him under his wings and mentored him .Hayek was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974. An Austrian national, his experiences while serving in WWI inspired him to change the world for better. he publicly opposed theories that stated that government spending was the solution to the Great Depression. Instead he stated that private investment was the path to prosperity and development.

In the 1940’s his book The Road to Serfdom vehemently opposed central planning, combating the idea that fascism was a capitalist ideology. He served as big influence for Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States and German Chancellor Margaret Thatcher as well as the former communist states in Europe. He served as an inspiration for the neoliberal phenomena of the 80s and 90s and had a vast impact on the economic policies of many Western nations.

Amartya Sen

Amartya Kumar Sen is an Indian economist and philosopher.He was born on November 3, 1933 in Shantiniketan,West Bengal,India. He received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory.He is also a  Bharat Ratna recipient which was awarded in 1999 for his work in welfare economics.

Sen did his first B.A. from the prestigious Presidency College in Calcutta (Kolkata).Then he went to Trinity College from where he completed his second B.A., an M.A. in economics and later, a Ph.D. He was just 9 years old when the infamous bengal famine occurred in which lakhs of people died. In his famous book Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, he stated that the famine could have been prevented.It had occurred not because of the lack of food but because of poor economic conditions of people who were suffering from declining wages,unemployment,rising food prices etc.This dramatically changed the world view of famines and made governments take better control measures.

Thomas Malthus 

Thomas Malthus was born on 13 February 1766, Westcott, United Kingdom.In his times there was this inherent view that society was on a linear route to improvement and at least in theory, perfection. Malthus thought otherwise, mentioning that increases in population would make unlimited progress impossible due to the effects of famine and disease.

After receiving his  Education from Cambridge, he became an Anglican curate in 1798, and his confidence in the thought that human nature could not change largely affected his work. He saw that some sections of society were naturally and inevitably poor which served as a hindrance on population growth. Malthus’s views made important contributions in the lesgislation, influencing how the UK government tackled the plight of the poor throughout the 19th century while  inspiring writers and theorists of the 20th century.

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh is an Indian economist born on 26 September 1932 (age 86 years) in Gah (now part of Pakistan). He held various posts such as advisor to the Foreign Trade Ministry, Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Governor of Reserve Bank of India, and Head of the Planning Commission.

He served as the Finance Minister in the P. V. Narasimha Rao government in the 1990s and later as  the Prime Minister of India for two consecutive terms. He is known for structural reforms that led to liberalization of  India’s economy which until then was focused on India and enriched his reputation as a leading reform-minded economist.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith was born  in Scotland in 1723 A philosopher,he is often considered one of the founding fathers of modern economics and was an influential thinker within the classical school of economics. His book The Wealth of Nations is considered as the first true work in the field.

He was a firm believer in an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention such as regulation, privileges, tariffs and subsidies also known as laissez-faire policies. Smith stated that free markets tend to be self-regulating, alluding to this concept as the “invisible hand.” His other famous works include The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. You can judge his importance in the field of economics from the fact that his image was printed on the £20 note in 2007 by the Bank of England.

These were some of the notable ones.Hope you are inspired by their work.

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