Von Mises, Smith and Friedman are already more present in young people than Marx and Keynes

The Catholic University conducted a survey on the thinkers most cited by specialists in the economic field. Liberals top the list. 

Ludwig von Mises, one of the most mentioned economist by specialists in his comments on social media. (Archive PanAm Post)

Sometimes in the political arena, ideas gaining ground in academic discussions, in the media and in society, in general, are slow to arrive. However, when the time comes for an idea, there is very little that can be done in the political arena to counteract this influence. In Argentina, there has been a strong vindication of liberal ideas for some time now, which has already manifested itself with the arrival of Javier Milei, José Luis Espert and Ricardo López Murphy to the National Congress. However, what is happening "from below" is still stronger than a parliamentary representation. According to the latest surveys, most young people with a political-ideological identity recognize themselves as liberals or libertarians. As expected, authors such as Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises or Milton Friedman are much more present in economists' discussions than before.

The Catholic University, which presented the 2022 edition of its list of Economists of the Center for Economic and Business Analytics, showed that not only the traditional liberal or "pro-market" thinkers are moving up in the list: there is also a strong increase in the presence and influence of the Austrian School.

The sample for the study is ambitious. It processed seven million economic tweets over several months, issued in the context of "public discussion on economic issues". The number one was for Chicago's Milton Friedman. In addition to his great conceptual contributions in the academic field, the author of Freedom of Choice also produced a good amount of audiovisual material during his lifetime, which is nowadays viral on social networks. Next in second place is the author of The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith.

The third, fourth and fifth places went to living economists, who are mentioned in current affairs. Joseph Stiglitz, Christine Lagarde and Paul Krugman. The Catholic University calls them "heterodox" dedicated to pointing out alleged "imperfections of the market economy".

The interesting thing about the UCA ranking, which puts into numbers something that has been perceived for a long time, is the entry of the Austrian School in the top ten. Ludwig von Mises, author of Socialism and Human Action, comes out of ostracism occupying the eighth place. However, the total surprise was the appearance of another "Austrian", who even appears two places before Mises, who is gradually achieving well-deserved postmortem popularity: the number six position went to Carl Menger (1840-1921).

Although not yet well known to the general public, Menger's importance is fundamental in the economic sciences. The author explained in detail that the value of things is not linked to their production prices nor the aggregate of the non-existent Marxist surplus value. Goods have a price that is subjectively determined by individuals. With this contribution, he not only refuted Marx (who no longer appears on the list) but also corrected the theory of value of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, which influenced all Marxist thought.

Absent from the ranking was Keynes. Will his absence from the ranking be the prelude to losing his influence in the political arena? It remains to be seen.

This piece was originally published in Spanish in the Panam Post

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