Juan Bautista Alberdi
(* 1810 Tucuman - + 1884 Paris)
A broadly educated man, Juan Bautista Alberdi stood out among the cream of intellectuals of his time not only in his native Argentina but also in the entire Latin America.
During the civil war that ravaged Argentina in the 1840s and early 1850s, Alberdi stood firmly on the side of liberal federalists in their fight against dictator Manuel Rosas. In 1852, he wrote what became the manifesto of his party, which made him perhaps the most important constitutionalist in the Spanish-speaking world.
(*1801 Bayonne - + 1850 Rome)
Frederic Bastiat was a liberal member of the National Assembly during the 1848 Revolution as well as head of the French Free Trade Association. Together with Victor Hugo, he founded an international peace organisation. Political scientist Josef Schumpeter described him as “the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived”.
Bastiat made some remarkable contribution to the field of economic theory. He resolutely and successfully attacked the pessimism of the English “classical economists” such as Ricardo and Malthus who believed it was impossible to improve the living conditions of blue-collar workers beyond the level of mere subsistence.
(* 1839 Philadelphia - + 1897 New York)
When Henry George spoke about poverty, he was speaking from his experience. Before becoming the most successful economist of his age, George spent most of his life in poverty as a badly-paid sailor and sometimes as a publishing assistant.
A self-taught economist, George published his book “Progress and Poverty” in 1879, which became an instant best-seller and was translated into almost every language. The book triggered social reform movements called “Georgists” around the world. The central idea of the book was that all kinds of taxation tend to stifle growth and hurt the interests of the poor. A high-income tax, for instance, would produce unemployment.
F. A. von Hayek
(* 1899, Vienna - + 1992, Freiburg)
Friedrich August von Hayek is role in the late 20th century collapse of socialism can be compared to the role Adam Smith played in the 18th century enlightenment with respect to the creative power of freedom and market economy. His outstanding share in the global triumph of the idea and order of freedom made him the number one enemy of many socialists.
Hayek advocated global capitalism through his famous books “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), “The Constitution of Liberty” (1960) and “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism” (1989). The books made enormous impact on nearly all prominent economists and philosophers of his time such as K. R. Popper, Robert Nozick, Ludwig Erhard, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Vaclav Klaus of Czech Republic, Leszek Balcerovicz of Poland and Mart Laar of Estonia. His rising influence also made him a target of criticisms of socialists, protectioni
sts as well as opponents to globalisation and “Neoliberalism”.
Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Khaldun
(* 1332 Tunis - + 1406 Cairo)
Ibn Khaldun, who received a broad education in Arabic, interpretation of the Koran, jurisprudence and poetry, served a number of Arab rulers in Tunis, Fez, Granada, Damascus and Cairo as a courtier, jurist and statesman.
As a political advisor with an exceptionally broad overview of different Muslim countries, he developed outstanding skills in observing and analysing the economic, political and social developments of his time. Some scholars called Ibn Khaldun the real “Father of Economics” or “Father of Modern Social Science” and claimed that his ideas were more or less reinvented four centuries later by thinkers like Adam Smith or David Ricardo, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes.