• Table of Contents
    • Abstract
    • Keywords
    • Article
      • The Sraffa interpretation of Ricardo
      • A general equilibrium interpretation of Ricardo
      • Ricardo versus Smith
      • The corn model again
      • Classical economics as surplus theory
      • Classical economics as general equilibrium theory
      • Summing up
    • See Also
    • Bibliography
    • How to cite this article

British classical economics

Mark Blaug
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
Alternate versions available: 1987 Edition
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Abstract

Classical economics is not just a period in the history of economic thought immediately prior to the marginal revolution but involves a distinct approach to economic problems. But endless controversy surrounds the definition of that approach. Indeed, the scope of the science of political economy as conceived in Smith's The Wealth of Nations was sharply contracted in Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy. Some modern commentators characterize classical economics as surplus theory; others as general equilibrium theory. Economists who are divided in their views will always try to find those views embodied in the writings of the past.
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Keywords

absolute advantage; Austrian economics; Babbage, C.; Bailey, S.; balance of payment; Blaug, M.; British classical economics; Cairnes, J.; capital accumulation; capital–labour ratio; Clark, J. B.; classical economics; comparative advantage; Corn Laws; corn model; Cournot, A.; distribution; Dupuis, A.-J.-E.; Eagly, R.; exchange value; factor endowments; free banking; free trade; general equilibrium theory; Gossen, H.; history of economic thought; Hollander, S.; increasing returns; international trade, theory of; invariable measure of value; Jevons, W.; joint production; Jones, R.; Keynes, J.M.; Knight, F.; labour theory of value; laissez faire; Lloyd, W.; Longfield, M.; Malthus, T.; marginal productivity theory; marginal revolution; Marshall, A.; Marx, K.; McCulloch, J.; Menger, C.; Mill, J.; Mill, J. S.; money; natural price; neoclassical economics; neo-Ricardian economics; normal price; O'Brien, D.; opportunity cost; organic composition of capital (Marx); Petty, W.; physiocracy; Pigou, A.; political economy; population growth; poverty alleviation; preferences; pressure groups; production techniques; productive vs unproductive labour; profit and profit theory; quantity theory of money; Quesnay, F.; Rae, J.; rate of profit; reciprocal demand; rent; reserve army of the unemployed; Ricardian revolution; Ricardo, D.; Say, J.-B.; Say's Law; Schumpeter, J.; Senior, N.; Smith, A.; Sowell, T.; Sraffa, P.; standard composite commodity (Sraffa); static equilibrium analysis; steady-state equilibria; subsistence and subsistence wages; supply and demand; surplus; Thornton, H.; Thünen, G.; Tooke, T.; Torrens, R.; transformation problem; use value; utility theories of value; vent-for-surplus doctrine; wages fund doctrine; Wakefield, E.; Walrasian theory of general equilibrium; Wicksteed, P.
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Article

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How to cite this article

Blaug, Mark. "British classical economics." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 19 September 2014 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_C000157> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0165

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