Foreign Policy has compiled its first annual list of “The Top 100 Global Thinkers,” and three Yale professors made an appearance.
From the list:
22. Robert Shiller
for warning us — over and over — about dangerous bubbles.
ECONOMIST | YALE UNIVERSITY | NEW HAVEN, CONN.
For much of his career, Shiller has explained bubbles and watched them pop. He was studying them in the early 1990s when he joined with economist Karl Case to create a standard measure of home prices: the S&P/Case-Shiller index, a signal macroeconomic metric. His 2000 book, Irrational Exuberance, asserted that the U.S. stock market was in the midst of a bubble right before it burst (and proved him right). This go-round, he was in the exclusive club of experts who warned of the housing bubble that led to the financial bubble that led to the recession. He recognized not just that home prices were inflated, but also that zero-money-down mortgages and complex financial derivatives meant the banking system was grossly underestimating, mismanaging, and multiplying risk.
66. The Kagan Family (Donald, Robert, Frederick, and Kimberly)
for shaping the debate over Iraq and Afghanistan.
FOREIGN-POLICY COMMENTATORS | YALE UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON POST, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR | NEW HAVEN, CONN.; BELGIUM; WASHINGTON
For the Kagans, war is a family affair. Patriarch Donald is a Yale University historian specializing in ancient Greece and one of the leading lights of the neoconservative movement. His sons, Robert and Frederick, played a central role in rallying support for the “surge” in Iraq when the war appeared at its most hopeless and served as forceful advocates for the strategy among their allies in George W. Bush’s administration (Frederick as a scholar at the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, Robert as a columnist for the Washington Post). They were joined by Frederick’s wife, Kimberly, who heads the Institute for the Study of War and later published an account of the war titled The Surge: A Military History. This year, the Kagans have thrown themselves into the Afghanistan debate; Kimberly served on Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategic assessment team, and along with Frederick, she has called repeatedly for a fully resourced counterinsurgency effort. Robert, meanwhile, who lives in Brussels and is perhaps best known for arguing that “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus,” holds a big-picture view of international affairs that justifies assertive U.S. intervention abroad. His latest book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, calls for the creation of a “league of democracies” to promote political liberalization and human rights globally.
100. Paul Kennedy
for looking ahead to the decline of the American empire.
HISTORIAN | YALE UNIVERSITY | NEW HAVEN, CONN.
Kennedy literally wrote the book on imperial decline. His classic, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, charts the course of the great European empires, describing the pattern of economic expansion, territorial conquest, and imperial overstretch to which countries from Spain to Britain fell victim. Now, Kennedy has trained his sights on the United States, which, he says, is nearing the end of its own imperial dominance. “Our dependency upon foreign investors will approximate more and more the state of international indebtedness we historians associate with the reigns of Philip II of Spain and Louis XIV of France — attractive propositions at first, then steadily losing glamour,” he wrote this year, adding, “Uncle Sam may have to come down a peg or two.”