Time's 100 Most Influential People

For the last few years, Time magazine has compiled a list of the 100 people who “shape our world.” In the past, they’ve made some pretty questionable choices.

Economists have not figured very prominently on the previous lists; there has been roughly one economist in the top 100 per year, including people like Jeff Sachs and Larry Summers.

This year, things might change.

Although the official list has not been announced, anyone who wants can cast votes for the 203 finalists at Time.com. Remarkably, there are loads of economists among those in the running. As I write this, my friend Roland Fryer is ranked 38th. Ben Bernanke is at 133, Tim Geithner is at 152 (does he count as an economist?), Nouriel Roubini is at 161, Paul Krugman is at 168, Nate Silver is at 181 (not an economist, but close enough), and Richard Thaler is at 184.

One lesson from the Time.com voting is that you will get absurd results if you let internet votes decide anything. The top two vote getters right now are Moot and Rain — whoever or whatever they are.

And completely predictably, Ron Paul is the third-ranked vote getter.

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  1. laurence says:

    i have no idea who Moot is, but Rain is a Korean pop-star. it would be extremely weird if a Korean Pop star made it to the person of the year because the web-voting decided this to be the case.

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  2. ChrisD says:

    Online voters would vote for anything … given the opportunity. I’m surprised Darth Vader or Yoda hasn’t made the list.

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  3. adora says:

    Rain is Stephen Colbert’s Korean nemesis.

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  4. Silas says:

    Absurd results is right, and it seems that the ranking system is only going to prop up the oddball first three choices. Simply, Rain, currently at number 2 is much more likely to be ranked than someone much lower on the list who is more deserving (say Paul Krugman). And if you look at the average rankings, it is obvious that many people ranking the first few names are doing so because they feel those choices shouldn’t be listed first (their average is much much higher).

    The catch seems to be that many, many rankings and, say 99, trumps just a few rankings at, say, 2.

    They should have asked the guys at Freakonomics to design the method.

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  5. Hall Monitor says:

    Based on the current list, I would say whoever the individual is that invented internet voting deserves a nod on this one.

    Hall Monitor
    http://detentionslip.org

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  6. Ben says:

    I hope you are not calling Ron Paul’s high ranking absurd. Remember he has predicted all of this economic chaos even saying in 2003 on the house floor that Fannie and Freddie would be insolvent disasters. I think in a year or so from now you will wish he was running things.

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  7. Colin says:

    Sigh. The fact that i know this is sad, but moot is the founder of 4Chan, that weird online message board that is the source of both the Anonymous thing and every annoying Internet meme ever.

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  8. Kasmania says:

    moot – founder of 4chan.com.

    I expect the masses of anonymous have shown to show their support.

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