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It’s striking that those who have come top of Prospect’s poll to pick the World Thinker of 2014 have devoted their lives to questions of development. We don’t, I should say at the start, make claims for this poll beyond what it straightforwardly is: a canvassing of public opinion, conducted online and internationally, about who has generated the ideas that have had—and should have had—the most influence on debate about how to solve the world’s problems. The poll has always reflected the passions of the day—and of some countries; this year’s results have been shaped, among other factors, by the enthusiasm with…

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