Intellectuals

Prospect Magazine

Intellectuals

To mark its 100th issue in July 2004, Prospect produced a list of Britain’s top 100 public intellectuals. As David Herman wrote in an accompanying article, the list told us a good deal about the state of ideas in our culture. We asked our readers to vote for their top five intellectuals. The results, compiled in our August 2004 issue, handed victory to Richard Dawkins. You can view the results here, as well as Herman’s analysis of the results and Tom Nuttall’s report on the voting.

On Prospect‘s tenth anniversary in October 2005, we cast our net wider and conducted a global poll to find the world’s top 100 intellectuals, this time in association with US magazine Foreign Policy. In that issue, David Herman wondered whether the list marked the end of the age of the great public intellectual. As it turned out, Noam Chomsky was the runaway winner—the results are below, and analysed by Herman here, while Robin Blackburn and Oliver Kamm set out the arguments for and against the controversial winner.

Inspired by the success of the poll, Prospect and Foreign Policy repeated the exercise in May 2008, with a new shortlist. Christopher Hitchens, who came fifth in the 2005 poll, contributed a helpful guide on “how to be a public intellectual.” The shock winner was Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen—click here for the results. In our July 2008 issue, Ehsan Masood profiled Gülen, the modern face of the Sufi Ottoman tradition, and Tom Nuttall exposed the campaign that gave Gülen victory.

At the end of 2008, we looked back on the year with the top public intellectuals of 2008, as selected by Prospect‘s panel of experts—David Petraeus was their choice. For 2009, we decided to pick the top 25 public intellectuals of the financial crisis—MIT’s Simon Johnson was overall winner, and the full list is here.

The poll results continue to provoke debate. And you can contribute here to our ongoing discussion about who the most important voices in the shifting intellectual arena are today.


The 2005 List

1. Noam Chomsky
2. Umberto Eco
3. Richard Dawkins
4. Václav Havel
5. Christopher Hitchens
6. Paul Krugman
7. Jürgen Habermas
8. Amartya Sen
9. Jared Diamond
10. Salman Rushdie
11. Naomi Klein
12. Shirin Ebadi
13. Hernando de Soto
14. Bjørn Lomborg
15. Abdolkarim Soroush
16. Thomas Friedman
17. Pope Benedict XVI
18. Eric Hobsbawm
19. Paul Wolfowitz
20. Camille Paglia
21. Francis Fukuyama
22. Jean Baudrillard
23. Slavoj Zizek
24. Daniel Dennett
25. Freeman Dyson
26. Steven Pinker
27. Jeffrey Sachs
28. Samuel Huntington
29. Mario Vargas Llosa
30. Ali al-Sistani
31. Edward O. Wilson
32. Richard Posner
33. Peter Singer
34. Bernard Lewis
35. Fareed Zakaria
36. Gary Becker
37. Michael Ignatieff
38. Chinua Achebe
39. Anthony Giddens
40. Lawrence Lessig
41. Richard Rorty
42. Jagdish Bhagwati
43. Fernando Henrique Cardoso
44. JM Coetzee
45. Niall Ferguson
46. Ayaan Hirsi Ali
47. Steven Weinberg
48. Julia Kristeva
49. Germaine Greer
50. Antonio Negri
51. Rem Koolhaas
52. Timothy Garton Ash
53. Martha Nussbaum
54. Orhan Pamuk
55. Clifford Geertz
56. Yusuf al-Qaradawi
57. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
58. Tariq Ramadan
59. Amos Oz
60. Larry Summers
61. Hans Küng
62. Robert Kagan
63. Paul Kennedy
64. Daniel Kahneman
65. Sari Nusseibeh
66. Wole Soyinka
67. Kemal Dervi?
68. Michael Walzer
69. Gao Xingjian
70. Howard Gardner
71. James Lovelock
72. Robert Hughes
73. Ali Mazrui
74. Craig Venter
75. Martin Rees
76. James Q. Wilson
77. Robert Putnam
78. Peter Sloterdijk
79. Sergei Karaganov
80. Sunita Narain
81. Alain Finkielkraut
82. Fan Gang
83. Florence Wambugu
84. Gilles Kepel
85. Enrique Krauze
86. Ha Jin
87. Neil Gershenfeld
88. Paul Ekman
89. Jaron Lanier
90. Gordon Conway
91. Pavol Demes
92. Elaine Scarry
93. Robert Cooper
94. Harold Varmus
95. Pramoedya Ananta Toer
96. Zheng Bijian
97. Kenichi Ohmae
98. Wang Jisi
99. Kishore Mahbubani
100. Shintaro Ishihara


The 2008 List

The positions of people who appeared in the 2005 poll are given in brackets. New entries are marked with an asterisk.

1 Fethullah Gülen (*) – read Ehsan Masood’s essay on this unexpected winner here
2 Muhammad Yunus (*)
3 Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (56)
4 Orhan Pamuk (54)
5 Aitzaz Ahsan (*)
6 Amr Khaled (*)
7 Abdolkarim Soroush (15)
8 Tariq Ramadan (58)
9 Mahmood Mamdani (*)
10 Shirin Ebadi (12)
11 Noam Chomsky (1)
12 Al Gore (*)
13 Bernard Lewis (34)
14 Umberto Eco (2)
15 Ayaan Hirsi Ali (*)
16 Amartya Sen (8)
17 Fareed Zakaria (35)
18 Garry Kasparov (*)
19 Richard Dawkins (3)
20 Mario Vargas Llosa (29)
21 Lee Smolin (*)
22 Jürgen Habermas (7)
23 Salman Rushdie (10)
24 Sari Nusseibeh (65)
25 Slavoj Zizek (23)
26 Vaclav Havel (4)
27 Christopher Hitchens (5)
28 Samuel Huntington (28)
29 Peter Singer (33)
30 Paul Krugman (6)
31 Jared Diamond (9)
32 Pope Benedict XVI (17)
33 Fan Gang (82)
34 Michael Ignatieff (37)
35 Fernando Henrique Cardoso (43)
36 Lilia Shevtsova (*)
37 Charles Taylor (*)
38 Martin Wolf (*)
39 EO Wilson (31)
40 Thomas Friedman (16)
41 Bjørn Lomborg (14)
42 Daniel Dennett (24)
43 Francis Fukuyama (21)
44 Ramachandra Guha (*)
45 Tony Judt (*)
46 Steven Levitt (*)
47 Nouriel Roubini (*)
48 Jeffrey Sachs (27)
49 Wang Hui (*)
50 VS Ramachandran (*)
51 Drew Gilpin Faust (*)
52 Lawrence Lessig (40)
53 JM Coetzee (44)
54 Fernando Savater (*)
55 Wole Soyinka (66)
56 Yan Xuetong (*)
57 Steven Pinker (26)
58 Alma Guillermoprieto (*)
59 Sunita Narain (80)
60 Anies Baswedan (*)
61 Michael Walzer (68)
62 Niall Ferguson (45)
63 George Ayittey (*)
64 Ashis Nandy (*)
65 David Petraeus (*)
66 Olivier Roy (*)
67 Lawrence Summers (60)
68 Martha Nussbaum (53)
69 Robert Kagan (62)
70 James Lovelock (71)
71 J Craig Venter (74)
72 Amos Oz (59)
73 Samantha Power (*)
74 Lee Kuan Yew (*)
75 Hu Shuli (*)
76 Kwame Anthony Appiah (*)
77 Malcolm Gladwell (*)
78 Alexander De Waal (*)
79 Gianni Riotta (*)
80 Daniel Barenboim (*)
81 Thérèse Delpech (*)
82 William Easterly (*)
83 Minxin Pei (*)
84 Richard Posner (32)
85 Ivan Krastev (*)
86 Enrique Krauze (85)
87 Anne Applebaum (*)
88 Rem Koolhaas (51)
89 Jacques Attali (*)
90 Paul Collier (*)
91 Esther Duflo (*)
92 Michael Spence (*)
93 Robert Putnam (77)
94 Harold Varmus (94)
95 Howard Gardner (70)
96 Daniel Kahneman (64)
97 Yegor Gaidar (*)
98 Neil Gershenfeld (87)
99 Alain Finkielkraut (81)
100 Ian Buruma (*)


Prospect’s top 25 brains of the financial crisis 2009

1. Simon Johnson Professor at MIT, Peterson Institute fellow, former IMF chief economist, blogger, troublemaker and scourge of once-mighty banks—a worthy winner in 2009.

2. Avinash Persaud Financial liquidity analyst, adviser to governments around the world, the man who has studied “herd” behaviour in finance, and now the man trying to stop it.

3. Adair Turner An unusually bold regulator, Turner made headlines worldwide slamming “socially useless” finance (in Prospect) and suggesting a Tobin tax to put sand in the wheels of global finance.

Ben Bernanke Cerebral Federal Reserve chairman, seen by many as saviour of the US economy while congress dithered.

Andrew Haldane Bank of England director who warned of a “doom loop” of perpetual banking bailouts.

Philip Hildebrand Swiss banker who boldly pushed cutting his country’s banks to size.

John Kay Well-regarded British economist who wants a return to simple banking.

Mervyn King Bank of England boss, initially wrong-footed by the crisis, but had a better, more aggressive 2009.

Richard Koo Insider adviser to politicians and banks, an expert on the lessons from Japan, and deficit dove-in-chief.

Paul Krugman Celebrated economist and author of a must-read New York Times essay on the failures of economics.

Christine Lagarde French minister of economic affairs who got just the right mix of stick and carrot for French banks.

Donald Mackenzie Edinburgh professor, author of many sharp LRB essays unpicking the anthropology of finance.

Lucy Prebble 28-year-old British author of Enron, the best play yet on irrational exuberance.

Nouriel Roubini Legendarily gloomy, normally correct finance analyst whose blogs alone can move markets.

Brad Setser Young policy wonk, co-blogger with Simon Johnson and author of Bailouts or Bail-ins? with Roubini.

Robert Shiller Credit-crunch US sage and behavioural economics pioneer.

Jon Stewart Brainy American satirist whose Daily Show has made finance a laughing stock.

Joseph Stiglitz Nobel laureate, chair of UN commission on financial reform and harsh critic of finance-as-usual.

Matt Taibbi US journalist, wrote a celebrated scathing attack on Goldman Sachs.

Paul Volcker Ex-Fed chair, pushing for splitting up investment and savings banks.

Elizabeth Warren Harvard professor, consumer rights watchdog, leads the panel watching over Obama’s bailout money.

Martin Wolf FT writer and the Anglosphere’s most influential finance journalist.

Paul Woolley Innovative LSE thinker on “capital market dysfunctionality.”

Yu Yongding Influential economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhou Xiaochuan Bank of China head, architect of China’s response to the crisis.