XIII – Karl Marx – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

Karl Marx was the philosopher and economist who developed Communism.  His major works were The Poverty of PhilosophyCommunist ManifestoA Contribution to the Critique of Political Economyand Das Kapital.  He had a close partnership with Friederich Engels, with whom he wrote the Communist Manifesto.  Marx viewed history as a giant class struggle, which, in his time, was the struggle between two specific classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.  The bourgeoisie were the rich capitalists who exploited the proletariat, the hired workers who sold their labor to live.  Marx viewed Communism as a scientific socialism as opposed to a utopian socialism.  He held that communism would naturally and necessarily come about after the peak of capitalism, as capitalism came from feudalism.


XII – John Stuart Mill – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

John Stuart Mill, son of James Mill, was born in London.  He was a child prodigy who then went on to become an influential economist and political theorist, and he was also the first member of Parliament who was for women’s suffrage.  Some of his major works were Essays on Some Unsettled Questions on Political EconomyPrinciples of Political EconomyOn LibertyUtilitarianismAugust Comte and Positivism, and The Subjection of Women.  His Principles, where he expounded upon David Ricardo’s system, was the bestselling book on economics for forty years.  Mill also brought the word “entrepreneur” into usage in the English-speaking economic world.

XI – The Great French Classicals, Part 2: Frederic Bastiat – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

Frederic Bastiat was a French economist.  His major works were Economic SophismsThe Law, and Economic Harmonies.  He was one who noticed how necessary it is to, seeing the obvious effects of legislature, contrast them with the long-term effects.  Bastiat also wrote the “Candlemakers’ Petition”, satirizing protectionism.

X – The Great French Classicals, Part 1: Jean-Baptiste Say – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist.  He moved to England to finish his education, but he then returned to France.  Say was also the co-founder of the first business school.  His major work was “A Treatise on Political Economy”.  He developed Say’s Law: aggregate production necessarily creates an equal quantity of aggregate demand.  If workers produce corn, when they are paid, they can then use that money to buy wheat.  The wheat workers are then paid with a portion of that money and can then buy corn with it.  Then the corn workers are paid with that money, etc.

IX – David Ricardo – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

David Ricardo was an English economist.  His major works were Essay on the Influence of a Low Price of Corn on the Profits of Stock and Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, the latter becoming one of the definitive works of British classical economics.  Ricardo, with James Mill, became the leader of a “school” of economics.  Parts of his work also were praised and expounded upon by Karl Marx.

VIII – Thomas Malthus and James Mill – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

Thomas Malthus was a cleric, political economist, and demographer in England.  His major works were “An Essay on the Principle of Population” and “Principles of Political Economy”.  He thought that, if the human population were to continue growing unrestrained, the human race would eventually grow so large that the food supply would not be able to grow to accommodate and there would be famine.  However, his statement has been wrong so far.

James Mill was Scottish, but moved to London and became a writer.  His major works were “Commerce Defended”, “Elements of Political History”, and 6-volume “The History of British India”.  He was also behind the scenes for much of Jeremy Bentham and David Ricardo’s work and educated his son, the (now more famous) John Stewart Mill.  He developed the libertarian class analysis: the ruling class versus the producers.  Mill was also a political activist, helping pass a bill that granted suffrage to the middle class.

VII – Jeremy Bentham – History of Economic Thought; Part 1

Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher, legal theorist, and economist in England.  He was the founder of utilitarianism, which holds that the action that holds the most utility is the best action to take.  Bentham thought there was a way to measure utility in units rather than rating items in relation to each other based on their utility.  He also wrote “Defence [sic] of Usury”, “Fragment on Government”, and “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation”.