Five Indians, four of whom are economists, are in the reckoning to be bestowed the title, “world’s most important thinker 2014,” as part of a global poll that has been on for the past decade. A UK publication, ‘The Prospect’ magazine, has been inviting its readers and the public at large, to vote on its list of influential thinkers since 2004, from it’s list of the top 100 British public intellectuals. In 2005, the magazine expanded its search to the rest of the world, and asked readers to vote online. The 2014 list has four Indian economists — Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Kaushik Basu, Partha Dasgupta and Raghuram Rajan. The one other non-economist entry from India is writer and Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy. Other high-profile people in contention are Pope Francis, the only religious leader to make it to the annual list, american philosopher Thomas Nagel, and international lawyer and political scientist Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at US state and former professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. The list also includes South African businessman Elon Musk, co-founder of the online payments service ‘PayPal’ and head of two companies: Space X, which from 2015 will be running flights to and from the International Space Station under a US$ 1.6bn contract from NASA, and Tesla Motors, which is developing affordable electric cars. Myanmar historian Thant Myint-U, now a member of Myanmar’s National Economic and Social Advisory Council, is also in the running for the award.

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