I'll bet a hat that not many Underbelly readers can identify the entire list (I couldn't). Prescott and Kydland, for example? Oh, "dynamic macro," right. Portes? Oh, "clean bill of health to Icelandic banks," check. Lindbeck? Ah, the evil genius behind the Econ Nobel, checkeroo.
Butbutbutbut--Friedman? A highly creative thinker (also a pugnacious public intellectual) who did more than almost anyone to shake us out of the socialist doldrums. Black and Scholes? Architects of a really insightful analysis of options behavior that remains as true today as it did last year. Fama? Author of one deeply flawed but still irreducible first principle of market behavior--namely that you can't run with the big dogs if you pee like a puppy. Lucas? Too weird for words? Samuelson? Now, that's just silly....
But that does leave two candidates. One, Larry Summers who seems to have ridden a long way on (a) a rep for off-the-wall yet provocative flashes of clarity; and (b) the fact that he has two uncles with Nobel Prizes. Oh yes, and (c) his role as a great excuser for just about everything that went bollywackers in the market over the last decade.
Now, that is indeed good grounds for candidacy. And it brings is to (the envelope, please)--the one person on the list whose life work is almost entirely devoid of coherent theory, but rather dominated by fealty to dogma. And here is the great irony: Alan Greenspan probably does deserve most of the abuse being heaped on him--but he earns it not so much by advocating as by betraying the principles of market autonomy that he has so loudly espoused.
So for refusing to take markets seriously--for telling us to ignore everything we'd learned from Friedman, Black, Scholes, Fama, Samuelson and their ilk--for telling us to trust him and he'd make it come right in the end, I'd say the man who carries the can is Alan Greenspan.