Met the Extraordinary Minds

I believe the power of Economics is to help provide a unique lens for looking at the world.

Russ Roberts

Studying History of Economic Thought, clearly shows to me the origin of economics and it somehow connect me to the times where classical economists like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, and John Stuart Mill are exploring their life and their journey on how they formulate ideas to create theories and principles that became the foundation of our society today.

 I want to start with Adam Smith as he is the Father of Modern Economics. His two classic works are: The Theory of Moral Sentiments published in 1759 which he gained fame as a moral philosopher and his masterpiece The Wealth of Nation published in 1776. He laid the foundations of free market economic theory in which he argued that through giving everyone the freedom to produce and exchange goods without government intervention there will be greater prosperity to people. Aside from that the Adam Smith economic laws, two laws of the market system which is the self-interest or the profit motive and the competition as the regulator preventing individuals from overcharging products. Later on, there are two more additional laws: the Law of Accumulation and the Law of Population.

Next is David Ricardo, he is a successful Jewish stockbroker and earned the title called “the man who educated commons”. He is best known for his theory about rents, wages and profits, comparative advantage, and the labor theory of value. For David Ricardo, he is not in favor of taxes as imposing taxes will only result in decrease of income, low capital accumulation, and small profit. As a learner, what I liked more about him was that even though he himself was a landowner it did not stop him from attacking what he saw as evil.

Another famous classical economist was Thomas Malthus son of Daniel Malthus. He is famous for his philosophy about population growth. He and David Ricardo disagreed with each other about their views, while David Ricardo accused the landowners as a villain, he praised the landowners and defended them. For him, the method of saving might lead to a reduced request for products. I learned here that population can be checked through positive checks and preventive checks. An example of positive checks are war, famine, poverty, and diseases. While the preventive checks are sexual abstinence and late marriages.

Then in this semester, I encountered the Utopian Socialists where their primary goal was to create small and perfect communities. I also met John Stuart Mill, the founder of Utilitarianism, he envisioned that through education the workers will realize and will voluntarily regulate reproduction. He married Harriet Taylor and one of the primary spokespersons that favors the rights and education for women. 

Timeline of the Evolution Of Key Classical Economic Thought

Adam Smith (yellow)
Thomas Malthus (blue)
David Ricardo (red)
John Stuart Mill (green)

How the classical economists viewed wealth

Feels like I have met people with extraordinary minds from the ancient times even though I am in the modern day (21st Century). Because of the extraordinary power of their ideas they shaped and influenced the world.


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