Prospect asked readers to select their favourites from a list of the world’s leading thinkers. The results are in.by Serena Kutchinsky / April 23, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
Left to right: Pope Francis, Arundhati Roy, Amartya Sen, Raghuram Rajan, Mao Yushi. © Mike Theiler/Reuters/Corbis, © Danish Siddiqui/Reuters/Corbis, © David Pearson/Rex, © AGF s.r.l./Rex
With nearly 7,000 votes cast, the results of Prospect’s world thinkers 2014 poll are in. Voters came to the Prospect website in large numbers through Twitter and Facebook, and from many countries around the world.
Running a poll like this is not a science, of course; one should be wary of drawing conclusions from the data especially given that intense media interest in India clearly had some influence on the outcome. Nevertheless, the presence in the top 10 of five thinkers—Amartya Sen, Raghuram Rajan, Arundhati Roy, Mao Yushi and Kaushik Basu—whose work focuses in different ways on the challenges of economic development is surely significant. The future of China’s distinctive combination of political authoritarianism and breakneck economic expansion, for example, or the struggles of India to share its newly acquired wealth as widely as possible are issues that should concern those of us who live in the developed world—as well as the billions who are experiencing the growing pains of development at first hand.
The after-effects of the financial crisis on what used to be called the “first world” is felt in the thinking of two of the new entrants in the top 10: Pope Francis, who has regularly criticised the capitalist system, and Ha-Joon Chang, the Cambridge economist who chastises his colleagues for their obsession with abstract mathematical models and has tried instead to revive the older tradition of political economy.