Karl Marx, the philosopher, economist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary, is best-known for the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His theories, called Marxism, maintained that class conflict leads to the development of human societies and that internal tension were inherent in capitalism, which would ultimately be replaced by the socialist mode of production.
Thomas Robert Malthus was an English economist and demographer, who viewed poverty as man’s unavoidable destiny. Author of An Essay on the Principle of Population; he believed that increase in national food production results in feeling of well-being, leading to population growth, which in turn results in poverty. Commonly referred as Malthusianism, it made immediate impact on British social policy.
One of the co-founders of the English neoclassical school of economics, 19th-century economist Alfred Marshall is best remembered for his path-breaking book Principles of Economics. His studies on topics such as marginal utility, consumer’s surplus, and the elasticity of demand, enriched the field of economics for years to come.
A qualified civil engineer, Vilfredo Pareto had initially worked for the railways and the ironworks. However, he gradually deviated to philosophy, sociology, and politics and gained fame for his application of math to economic issues and his introduction of Pareto efficiency. Mind and Society remains his best-known work.
Canadian statesman and politician Mackenzie King OM CMG PC, was the 10th prime minister of Canada. He held the position for three non-consecutive terms with a total of over 21 years in office and emerged as the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Canada. He remained instrumental in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state.
11 Henry George
Henry George was a political economist and journalist. His work was very popular during the Progressive Era and sparked many reform movements. The economic philosophy known as Georgism is inspired by him. His book Progress and Poverty, considered his magnum opus, sold millions of copies worldwide. He was a vocal advocate for women's political rights.
12 Carl Menger
Carl Menger made significant contributions to the marginal utility theory and the subjective theory of value. Born to a lawyer father, he too studied law and also worked as a journalist for a while. He later taught at the University of Vienna and also established the Austrian School of economics.
German banker Hjalmar Schacht was appreciated for his role in saving the Weimar Republic from inflation and later served as the Reichsminister of Economics under Adolf Hitler. Following as assassination attempt on Hitler, her was imprisoned, but was later freed and then set up his own bank in Düsseldorf.
14 Karl Polanyi
Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.
15 Léon Walras
Léon Walras was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He is known for formulating the marginal theory of value independently of William Stanley Jevons. Considered a pioneer in the development of general equilibrium theory, he authored the book Éléments d'économie politique pure. He is also considered one of the three leaders of the marginalist revolution.
An ardent follower of Adam Smith’s ideas, French economist Frederic Bastiat propagated the concept of free trade. Apart from launching his journal Le Libre-Échange, he also penned the iconic satire Sophismes économiques and his most notable work The Law. He also introduced what later came to be known as opportunity cost.
Often referred to as the Father of Anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was born to a tavern keeper and grew up working on farms. Largely educated on scholarships, he later became known for his slogan “Property is theft!” and his idea of mutualism. His notable works include What is Property?
Born to Prussian parents, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler grew up to be part of the German army during World War I. He later served as the mayor of Leipzig and strongly condemned the Holocaust. He was eventually hanged by the Gestapo for being part of the 20th July coup against Adolf Hitler.
Born to a British civil servant in British India, William Beveridge was educated at Oxford. While he initially excelled in math and classics, he later studied law. A leading economist, he created the Beveridge Report, which formulated the welfare state policies in the U.K. after World War II.
Though a staunch socialist and Marxist, Eduard Bernstein was also one of the biggest critics of Marxist theory and thus gained the nickname The Father of Revisionism. He spotted many loopholes in Karl Marx’s tenets, such as the eventual collapse of the capitalist economy. He also represented Brandenburg in the Reichstag.
A pioneer of the mathematical method in economics, William Stanley Jevons was the son of an iron merchant and economic enthusiast. Remembered for his studies on marginal utility and supply/demand, he penned the iconic work A General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy and also wrote on Britain’s depleting coal supplies.
French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.
A prominent name in the field of economics, Knut Wicksell was a Swedish economist known for his pioneering work in monetary theory. His work has influenced numerous economists like James M. Buchanan and John Maynard Keynes and various economic schools of thought like Keynesian and Austrian school. During his career, he also worked as a professor at the Lund University.
A leading free-market and neoclassical economist, Lionel Charles Robbins, or Baron Robbins, was known for his association with the London School of Economics. The son of a farmer, he trained to fight at World War I but went back home wounded. He also laid down his own definition of economics.
Enamoured by the ideas of French and German philosophers, Ferdinand Lassalle initially aspired to be a lecturer. He later joined the socialist cause and spearheaded Germany’s social democratic movement. He also introduced terms such as the iron law of wages and concepts such as Lassallism, or achieving socialist ideals through the state.
28 Walther Funk
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was a French-American writer and economist. An ambitious man, he served as French inspector general of commerce under Louis XVI. He moved to America during the French Revolution and was later elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. His son Éleuthère Irénée du Pont founded E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
German-American economist Friedrich List is remembered as one of the pioneers of the historical school of economics. He supported tariffs on imported goods to help the domestic market. He is also known for his pamphlet Outlines of American Political Economy and his book The National System of Political Economy.
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish economist and statistician, known for his significant contributions to the methods of statistics. An autodidact in mathematics and economics, he imaginatively applied mathematics to the fields of economics and statistics, writing several books, including Mathematical Psychics, presenting new ideas on various topics like on the generalized utility function, the indifference curve etc. .
32 Harold Laski
Political scientist and Labour Party member Harold Laski later deviated to Communism. Born to a cotton merchant, he studied at Oxford and then taught at Harvard. Remembered for his works such as A Grammar of Politics and Authority in the Modern State, he was also a Zionism supporter.
A major advocate of the Austrian school of economics, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk made major reforms as part of the Austrian ministry of finance, such as imposition of the gold standard. He was also one of the first to oppose Karl Marx’s theory of exploitation of workers.
Johann Heinrich von Thünen was a German economist best remembered for his two-volume treatise The Isolated State. An influential and important 19th-century economist, Thünen is also credited with popularizing Location theory, which has become an important part of regional science, economic geography, and spatial economics.
36 Alfred Weber
Alfred Weber was a German geographer, sociologist, economist, and theoretician of culture. Weber's work and contribution played a key role in the progression of modern economic geography. The younger brother of Max Weber, Alfred Weber contributed theories for analyzing social processes, social change as a confluence of civilization, and culture.
Ferdinand Tönnies was a German economist, sociologist, and philosopher. He is credited with co-founding the German Society for Sociology where he served as the president from 1909 to 1933. Widely regarded as the first prominent German sociologist, Tönnies contributed significantly to field studies and sociological theory. Ferdinand Tönnies is often counted among the founders of classical German sociology.
Henri de Saint-Simon was a French political, economic, and socialist theorist and businessman. His ideology was the inspiration behind the political and economic movement known as Saint-Simonianism. He left a major influence in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy of science. His ideas also inspired and influenced the concept of utopian socialism.
One of Alfred Marshall’s favorite students, Arthur Cecil Pigou was initially a history scholar at King's College but later deviated to economics. One of the most significant figures of neoclassical economics, he specialized in welfare economics and penned pathbreaking works such as The Economics of Welfare.
An influential English ethical philosopher and economist of the Victorian era, Henry Sidgwick is perhaps best known for his utilitarian treatise The Methods of Ethics. He promoted higher education of women and co-founded Newnham College. He remained a member of the Metaphysical Society and co-founded and served as first president of the Society for Psychical Research.
Werner Sombart was a German sociologist and economist. He was one of the 20th century's most important Continental European social scientists who served as the leader of the Youngest Historical School. Werner Sombart is credited with coining the phrase late capitalism. He is also remembered for his magnum opus, Der moderne Kapitalismus.
Georgios Papandreou was a Greek politician who served as the Prime Minister of Greece on three occasions between 1944 and 1965. Papandreou, whose illustrious political career spanned over 50 years, is also credited with founding the Papandreou political dynasty. Georgios Papandreou was also counted among the best orators in Greece.
Initially a herbalist’s apprentice, Simon Newcomb later deviated to mathematics and astronomy. Born to a schoolteacher, he had loved math since age 5 but wasn’t formally educated. He later joined Harvard University, taught math at the US Navy, detected locations of celestial bodies, and wrote a science-fiction novel, too.
Gyula Andrássy not only served as Hungary’s prime minister but also created the 1879 the Austro-German alliance with German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. He remained associated with Hungarian public affairs even after his retirement. He was the first Magyar statesman to hold a long-term European position.
49 Piero Sraffa
50 Harold Innis
Born into a farming community, Harold Innis was encouraged to be a Baptist minister but became a political economist and academic instead. The former University of Toronto professor is remembered for his work on the staple thesis. He had also fought on the front lines in World War I.