I admire a few public figures intensely. Among those who are still around, the physicist Murray Gell-Mann makes that short list. Among the dear departed physicists are Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. Politicians mostly make it to my list of “Most Intensely Disliked” list but there is one exception: Lee Kuan Yew makes it to “Most Intensely Admired” list. My list “Economists I Admire the Most” has the usual suspects like Adam Smith, Friedrich August von Hayek, Ronald Coase, Milton Friedman — and James M Buchanan,Jr.
Buchanan passed away only recently in Jan 2013. To get a quick sense of who he was, read the NY Times obituary of Buchanan by Robert McFadden (an economist)
Buchanan is my guide to my current study of constitutional public choice. Once I have a decent handle on the topic, I am sure to write about it on this blog.
Moving on, among people whose concern are matters spiritual, I hold Matthieu Ricard in the highest esteem. He is the only one whom I have met in person and chatted with. Here’s a recent video of his that I recommend.
In this TED talk, Matthieu touches on the topic of climate change. That’s a topic that I have not expressed an opinion about but I do have a very definite — and unpopular — opinion. I think what is generally (but not by all) recommended is a bunch of hogwash.
Moving on to philosophers: by nature my thinking is most consonant with Advaita Vedanta. Since it was developed centuries ago by the ancients in India, not as much as known about those who developed them. You don’t see them on YouTube or TED talks unlike the modern philosophers. (Just btw, I consider those economists I mentioned as “worldly philosophers”.) My list of philosophers includes Adi Sankara (Hindu) and Nagarjuna (Buddhist.)
I will have to write a more comprehensive list one of these days.