I'm shocked-shocked!-that no economists made the greatest Irish people evar list. But they decided to leave out Hamilton and Walton, and put Louis Walsh and Daniel O'Donnell in, so I think it's fair to say they weren't really thinking hard when drawing up the list. Mary Mulvihill has more details. All apart from Dr Whittaker are currently deceased, excepting any zombie-related incidents.

But if--if!--there was an economist in the room, this is part of the list he/she/it would surely have  come with. Or something.

  1. Roy Geary, for his contributions to statistics and setting up the ESRI. Update. Read more on Dr Geary here.
  2. Francis Edgeworth, for his development of Mathematical Psychics, later bastardised into Walrasian general equilibrium theory. Every student of economics should read Edgeworth's rant about pleasure chariots before asking just how the pleasure chariots got turned into indifference curves. The story is here, if you're interested, but it's a long book.
  3. WM Gorman, the developer of the Gorman conditions for utility functions and preference fields.
  4. John Elliot Cairnes, often talked about as the last of the classical economists, which isn't quite right, Cairnes' best book by far was The Slave Power. You can read it yourself to find out why.
  5. Richard Cantillon. Developed the first fully worked out theory of long run equilibrium (ie when capital, land, and labour are fully mutable)
  6. TK Whittaker. Saved the Irish State. Full stop. Update. Dr Whittaker is still kicking, all apologies, cheers Dr Lurve.
  7. Sir William Petty who, though a subject of the Crown, lived and worked most of his life in Ireland. Cheers to Ronan Lyons for the suggestion. Petty was the first real macroeconomist and public finance theorist.

Louis Walsh put Boyzone and Westlife  and Samantha Mumba together. I mean, they had good(ish) tunes, but they're not really in the same league, no?

Anyone I missed?

8 Responses to “Greatest Irish People: No Economists?”

  1. Ronan L

    Do they have to be born in Ireland? (If so, U2 for example would have to be dropped - if they're there.)

    Assuming they don't have to be born in Ireland, just spend a good part of their lives here, then I say William Petty - father of modern economics.

  2. Stephen

    Well I don't think they are being too scientific about it, but I'd say yes, but still add Petty. And maybe Whately>

  3. kevin denny

    I think you are being a bit hard on T K Whittaker who is very much alive I think. That Samantha Mumba, a no-hit wonder, made it ahead of any of these people says it all. Hamilton's exclusion is risible.

  4. Stephen

    @Kevin D---woops, just did a Joe Biden there! Will change the post 🙂

  5. kevin denny

    Geary made significant contributions to econometrics and economic theory too, see for example Peter Neary's paper on the subject.
    I was lucky enough to know W.M. (Terence) Gorman well as a post-graduate student, a delightful as well as brilliant man who took a special interest in Irish students. He was very proud of the fact that at one point the economic advisors of the US President, UK Prime Minister & Taoiseach were all former students of his (Reagan, Thatcher, Fitzgerald: M Feldstein, Alan Waters, P Honohan respectively).
    As I understand it Cantillon coined the word "entrepreneur". Well he was a Kerryman. So wasn't it Reagan who said that the French had no word for entrepreneur? In a sense he was right!

    • Stephen

      Great link Kevin, I'll put it up now.

  6. P. Carroll

    This is an absolute joke of a list. There has to be something done to stop this or at least highlight the stupidity. Tom Creane surely he has to be there one of the worlds greatest explorers of his time.

    • Stephen

      Couldn't agree more, but short of storming RTE, there's not much we can do except shake our heads and ignore it unfortunately.


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