30. Joseph Stiglitz
for his full-throated defense of fiscal stimulus.
Economist, Columbia University | New York
If last year was Joseph Stiglitz's "I told you so" moment, this year has been his "so what do we do about it" opportunity. The Nobel laureate and former World Bank chief economist has gone from predicting the cataclysmic fall of the deregulated global economy to outlining a way back from the abyss.
That's not to say the famously iconoclastic professor is pulling punches. Stiglitz has excoriated Barack Obama for appointing the very same people who caused the financial crisis to manage the recovery. In his latest book, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, Stiglitz outlines how existential problems such as weak regulations and moral hazard were disregarded in favor of injecting cash back into the most risk-prone banks, while substantive issues such as the foreclosure crisis and the scarcity of small-business loans have worsened with neglect. As for the wave of austerity sweeping Europe, he recently cautioned, that could send the world into an economic tailspin. Stiglitz's refrain? Forget the deficit and invest boldly in technology and infrastructure. As he wrote in September, "We cannot afford not to stimulate the economy."
Read more: Stiglitz talks to FP about why he's not celebrating an economic recovery.
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images