Liberal columnist Paul Krugman tops Wall Street Journal list of the 15 most influential economists


The story is HERE:

Who are people turning to nowadays for business advice?

Celebrity economists.

Big-name experts on the economy like Paul Krugman [above], Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Porter, Robert Reich and Muhammad Yunus feature prominently in a new ranking of influential business thinkers compiled for The Wall Street Journal.

The findings – based on Google hits, media mentions and academic citations – show just how much the business-guru landscape has changed since 2008, when a previous ranking was conducted using similar methodology. Author and consultant Gary Hamel ranked No. 1 at the time, a spot now occupied by Krugman.

“I call the new list the invasion of the celebrity economists,” says Tom Davenport a management professor at Babson College and author of the 2003 book, “What’s the Big Idea?”

Davenport, who compiled this year’s ranking with Jeffrey Cronin, a research librarian at HBS, says business and management topics have fallen out of favor, thanks to a shortage of megatrends like Six Sigma and business process re-engineering, which swept the nation in the 1980s and 1990s. “There’s no really big topic,” he says.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis has made economic insight valuable to businesses and consumers alike, he says. “People are casting about for what caused the crisis,” he says. That’s one of the reasons economists did so well in the rankings, he says.

Krugman reacts HERE:

[O]ne of the odd but revealing things about modern conservatives is the way they alternate between paranoia about the vast left-wing conspiracy and insistence that people who disagree with them are part of a tiny fringe with no real following. Joe Scarborough thinks (or thought — has he updated?) that I was all alone in questioning deficit panic; the fairly large anti-me industry has been insisting for around a decade that I’ve lost all credibility except among credulous New York liberals.

So, on the general principle that if I am not for myself, who will be for me: that left-wing rag the Wall Street Journal has a new assessment, based on some supposedly objective criteria (but not including Twitter followers) of the most influential business thinkers. They see a big change since the last time they did this, five years ago. Back then, business strategy gurus — authors of books on reengineering the search for excellence in the total quality six-sigma chaos, and all that — dominated the list….

Let me say, the fact that Joe Stiglitz is up there makes me more optimistic about the world; as I’ve written in the past, he’s an insanely great economist, in ways that you really can’t comprehend unless you do economic modeling, but until now I would never have envisioned him having the kind of reach he now does.

Something else, which the WSJ doesn’t emphasize, is that the list isn’t just heavy on economists; it’s heavy on liberal economists. I don’t think that’s an accident, and I don’t think it’s purely political. The fact is that in an era of markets gone massively bad, conservative economists don’t have much to offer except excuses.


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