Has there ever been an era in modern history in which the popular thirst for economic explanation has been greater than it is now? The Great Recession has thrust economics into the heart of our politics. Deficits, taxes, spending, debt, the yuan, outsourcing, unemployment, health-care reform, social security, financial regulation—these are all economic questions that will be fought over in the mid-term elections in November—not to mention in 2012, when President Obama comes up for re-election.
Acknowledging the centrality of economics in our public discourse, The Daily Beast has set out to identify the most important commentators on the subject in the American media, canvassing a total of 100 academics, Wall Streeters and managers in industry. A few ground rules: We have limited our list to journalist-commentators, excluding academic economists who write frequently for the popular media (such as Nouriel Roubini of NYU, John Taylor of the Hoover Institution and Stanford, Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia, Robert Frank of Cornell and others.). This is not a list of the most consequential economists, for therein lies mayhem! Instead, it is a list of those who interpret our economic life for us.
We have included the Financial Times as part of the “American” media, and also—in spite of our “no academics” rule—included Paul Krugman of Princeton (and The New York Times). It was the view of far too many of those we canvassed that excluding him would be, as one professor put it, “very silly indeed.”
Tunku Varadarajan is a national affairs correspondent and writer at large for The Daily Beast. He is also the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a professor at NYU's Stern Business School. He is a former assistant managing editor at The Wall Street Journal. (Follow him on Twitter here.)