Irving Fisher is one economist whose clarity of words and theories set him apart. He always used mathematics to explain his theories and express it in such simple words that a graduate student can learn it by himself. The famous Theory of Interest is an example you can take any time.
He was born in New York on february 27, 1987. During his childhood Fisher exhibited flair for invention and aptitude for mathematics.His father was extremely religious and raised his son following all religious methods. However Fisher grew up to become an atheist. The death of his father at an early age of 53 meant Fisher had to take care of the family. He did so along with his studies. He got his degree from Yale college in 1888 and subsequently his first Ph.D in 1891. He is still one of the youngest Doctorates to have passed from Yale. His thesis Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices was published by Yale as a major contribution to Economics. In 1898 he became Professor of Political Economy at Yale and later Emeritus professor in 1935. In 1918 he was elected the president of American Economic Association.
Not only was Fisher an economist but a prolific writer, journalist and an inventor too. His articles on various social issues are an example of simple but hard-hitting articles, which are an example for journalists today. As for his invention skills, we still today use “index visible filing system” which was patented by him 1913.
John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher known for his influence on Politics of his time. He is known as the most influential philosopher in the 19th Century. He was born in London in a Scottish family and his education was exemplary. His father took great care of his education. He indeed was a prodigy. By the age of three his education of Greek started and by the age of eight he had mastered it and read much of Greek literature. He read Plato’s work in original which would later influence him in his life. He also read mathematics extensively.
At the age of eight he learnt Latin and was able to read works of Euclid and also Algebra. He was most famously associated with liberalism and the advanced concept of freedom as we know today. In his days people were classified as elites and commoners a concept which he did not like. In his famous work Essays on Economics and Society he professed the utilitarian concept. He believed in a free market, with taxes only on harmful products like alcohol. He wanted inherited property to be taxed as equality was the right of every man as per him. His Principles of Political economy article later incorporated concept of co-operative wages. A man much ahead of his times.
Heinz Arndt was born in Germany in 1915. He was born at a time when Germany lost the first world war. He did his schooling in Germany while Adolf Hitler was rising in politics. He was born in a family of educationist, his father Fritz Arndt being a University chair in Germany. However due to Jewish origins they had to leave Germany and go to England as Germany was not a safe place for Jews. Heinz Arndt wrote about this later as being good luck as he got chance to study at the Oxford University. He gained an economics degree and later taught at the London School of Economics and Manchester University. Later he migrated to Australia and taught at Australian National University and settled in Australia. He was a great scholar of economics, politics and contributed a lot to the growth of Indonesia being awarded the Presidential medal of Indonesia – “Bintang Jasa Pratama” in 1995. He researched and contributed to the Indonesian economy after Sukarno lost power in Indonesia. The most famous work of Heinz is “The Economic Lessons of the Nineteen Thirties”. He was instrumental in building robust banking system in Australia which is the envy of the world. He is also known as the Grand old man of Asian Economics and his efforts benefited Australia and Asia as they bound well economically. The effect of Heinz is evident in the way Australian Economy holding up well in wake of Global Economic crisis.
Joseph Schumpeter was the one who connected economics and business by introducing the economic concept of cycles in business. Schumpeter had his own way of economics. In business cycles he does not agree with Keynes or Walras. According to him Business cycles are circular and keep moving. This was quite different from views of economists in those days. But that is what we realized to be correct.
In his famous book Capitalism,Socialism and Democracy Joseph Schumpeter agrees with Marxian theory of collapse of Capitalistic economic structure. However what will be the cause and effect , he has his own views. According to Marx Capitalism would be removed by violent protests. Joseph Schumpeter said it is less likely and predicted slow death of Capitalistic economy. According to him Capitalism will slowly weaken and go away because it has some major flaws. This is what really happened in most of Capitalistic economies. In the same book he also said about democracy and the threat it poses to common people. We are observing the same in today’s world. Joseph Schumpeter theorized “Entrepreneurship” and contributed a great deal to this neo-economic topic. He talks about innovation and technological changes which an entrepreneur brings to the society.
Joseph never let his hardship in child hood affect him and rose to greatness. It was the victory of human mind over the nature. Joseph signifies the coming of practical thoughts and processes which are relevant even today. His predictions and theories will work even after another 200 years I think.
Adam Smith is widely known as “The father of Modern Economics”. His most popular work “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” became a bible for later economists. His works are still affecting the modern economists. He was very passionate about liberty, reason and freedom of speech.
Smith was born in the Fife County in a small town Kirkcaldy in Scotland. He lost his father only two months after his birth and had to face numerous difficulties in his childhood.
He graduated moral philosophy at University of Glasgow. He completed his Post Graduation from Oxford. He did not have a happy life at Oxford. He found gagged due to the rules there. He has cited this in his famous book “The Wealth of Nations” as well.
Smith was an enigma. Very little is known about his life except that he was very close to his mother. He talked to himself and was known to forget things. On religious front he was a moderate Christian. He is known to refer god even in his literary work, in a covert way as architect of universe.
His two famous works “The Theory of Moral Sentiments “and “The Wealth of Nations” are of opposing views. He worked on both the social and economic aspects of life in his two famous books. The free market which is the soul of economic theory of modern times was a term coined by him. He was the propounded the theory of economics with no boundaries known as World Economics today.
Karl Marx was the man who changed world on economic and political front. His thoughts made the basis of a new economic structure “Communism”. It became very popular in the 19th century and still affects the youth of the world.
Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in Prussia and was one of nine siblings. He was to Jewish parents who later converted to Christianity.
He studied in University of Bonn but at the end of the year shifted to Berlin University. Here he studied Law and philosophy. He became much involved in Politics in 1836. He had rebellious views challenging the current system which was to be later anointed as Marxian views. Even a section of economics was called by his name. He completed his doctorate but never ventured to teach. His radical views took refuge in Journalism. In 1848 he wrote and published “The Communist manifesto” along with Freidrich Engels and was exiled to London.
It is in his exile that he wrote the famous Das Kapital which changed the world once and for all. It made him famous and thereafter he became a literary figure. He became extremely focused on economic theory and capitalism. He died in London in 1883.
Karl Marx is one of the greatest influencers of the world. Even today many countries like China, Cuba and North Korea. He was more of a revolutionist than an economist.
Economics is believed to be one of the unfriendliest sectors for women. This belief is strengthened by the lack of female economists at the higher echelons , as well. This is one of the main reasons why Elinor Ostrom deserves more attention.
Elinor Ostrom is the first woman to have won the Nobel Prize for Economics, ever since it was established in 1969. She specialized in the study of political economy, and new institutional economics. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, a prize she shared with Oliver E. Williamson. They got the Nobel for their work on economic governance, especially of the commons (resources that are shared by all).
She tackled the economic problems of limited resources and utilization of the same from a different perspective. She approached the problem of utilization of the commons as an economist, an anthropologist and an ecologist. It was this unique perspective that drew the Nobel Committee’s attention towards her.
Elinor, fondly known as “Lin” is also a cheery, perky figure who maintains her own garden and dresses in bright tops she buys from charity shops. Her achievement is spectacular, for she’s the face of female economists everywhere. However, her achievement also draws light to the fact that the field of economics still suffers from an acute lack of female representation.