Political Economy

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Pre-Smithian Economics Classical School The Manchester School The Austrian School of Economics
Adam Smith is justly regarded as the first of the modern economists given his deep insights into the functioning of the economy and his comprehensive approach to the subject. Nevertheless, those economists of the 17th and 18th centuries who preceded Smith also had important insights even though there were many false trails and wrong turnings. This collection of economists documents the 150 years of growth in economic thinking which predated Smith. The Classical School of political economy had its heyday in the period from 1800 to 1850 in England. It can be said to have begun with the writings of Adam Smith and David Hume in the latter part of the 18th century and it continued until well into the late 19th century before the neo-classical school and the marginalists began to replace it. D. P. O’Brien divides the classical school into three groups. Group I was made up of the founders, Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Group II was the most numerous and consisted of Thomas Malthus, Jean-Baptiste Say, James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill, Ramsay McCulloch, Nassau Senior, Robert Torrens, Robert Tooke, John Elliot Cairnes, and Henry Fawcett. Group III was made up of numerous lesser figures who were active later in the 19th century. The classical school developed free market economics into a consistent, scientific body of knowledge which quickly became the economic orthodoxy in the first half of the 19th century. Its members were very influential in reforming British government policy especially in the areas of free trade and economic deregulation. The name “Manchester School” is given to the group of economists, businessmen, and lobbyists who campaigned in England in the mid-19th century for free trade, reduced government regulation of the economy (in othe words for a policy of laissez-faire), and an non-interventionist foreign policy (the so-called “Little Englanders”). They got their name from the fact that some of their leading members, such as Ricahrd Cobden, were manufacturers based in the English industrial city of Manchester. Emerged after the publication in 1871 of a trilogy of works (by Jevons, Walras, and Menger) which introduced the idea of the subjective theory of value and began what has been called “the marginal revolution” in economic thought. Leading theorists in the 20th century were Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner.
  • Nicholas Barbon 1623 1698
  • Richard Cantillon 1680 1734
  • Pieter de la Court 1618 1685
  • Samuel Fortrey 1622 1682
  • John Locke 1632 1704
  • Gerard de Malynes 1586 1641
  • Bernard Mandeville 1670 1733
  • Thomas Mun 1571 1641
  • Sir Dudley North 1641 1691
  • Sir William Petty 1623 1687
  • Lewes Roberts 1596 1641
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 1778
  • Josiah Tucker 1712 1799
  • Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot 1727 1781
  • Frédéric Bastiat 1801 1850
  • Jeremy Bentham 1748 1832
  • John Elliot Cairnes 1823 1875
  • Michel Chevalier 1806 1879
  • David Hume 1711 1776
  • Thomas Robert Malthus 1766 1858
  • Harriet Martineau 1802 1876
  • John Ramsay McCulloch 1789 1864
  • James Mill 1773 1836
  • John Stuart Mill 1806 1873
  • David Ricardo 1772 1823
  • Jean Baptiste Say 1767 1832
  • Nassau William Senior 1790 1864
  • Adam Smith 1723 1790
  • Frank William Taussig 1859 1940
  • Francis Amasa Walker 1840 1897
  • John Bright 1811 1889
  • Richard Cobden 1804 1865
  • Francis W. Hirst 1873 1953
  • Norman P. Barry ? ?
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk 1851 1914
  • Pamela J. Brown ? ?
  • Richard Cantillon 1680 1734
  • Frank A. Fetter 1863 1949
  • Bettina Bien Greaves ? —
  • Friedrich August von Hayek 1899 1992
  • William Stanley Jevons 1835 1882
  • Israel M. Kirzner 1930 —
  • Ludwig M. Lachmann 1906 1990
  • Mountifort Longfield 1802 1884
  • Carl Menger 1840 1921
  • Ludwig von Mises 1881 1973
  • Giovanni Montemartini 1867 1913
  • Lawrence S. Moss 1944 —
  • Gerald P. O’Driscoll ? —
  • Murray N. Rothbard 1926 1995
  • George A. Selgin 1957 —
  • Vera C. Smith 1912 1976
  • Louis M. Spadaro 1913 —
  • Karen I. Vaughn ? ?
  • Philip H. Wicksteed 1844 1927
  • Friedrich von Wieser 1851 1926
  • Leland B. Yeager ? —
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