The Sociological Implications of Ricardo's Economics

The Sociological Implications of Ricardo's Economics

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Excerpt from The Sociological Implications of Ricardo's Economics: A Dissertation

Few names in the field of social science in the nineteenth Century outshine that of David Ricardo. Himself a man of affairs, he assumed without serious dispute the place of leadership of the academic thinking on economic subjects, and few leaders have been followed with more loyal devotion than he. Moreover, the importance of his position has not always been due to a! Conscious attitude of admiration. In fact his detractors have done almost as much to center attention upon his work as have his most faithful disciples. This is doubtless due to the fact that his forcefulness of thought gave an authoritative air to his work that prevented even those who shuddered at his conclusions from questioning the ac curacy oi his conclusions if his foundations were granted. Bonari has pointed out that, notwithstanding the close friendship of Mal thus and Ricardo, they were really engaged in contending for the leadership of the science of political economy that traced its lineage through the Wealth of Nations. Although each was too modest to have entertained such an idea had it been broached to him, they did represent methods of economic thinking which Bonar has compared respectively to the Arminianism and Calvinism of modern theology. The Calvinism of Ricardo won, and the economic think ing of the nineteenth century was, to a very considerable extent, cast in the mold furnished by the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.

But, as already noted, this in?uence was not exerted upon willing disciples only. While the Principles became the holy writ of capitalism, it also became the storehouse of proof-texts for socialism. SO far as Ricardo had attempted to draw conclusions from assumed conditions, his results were accepted as authoritative.

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