David Ricardo (1772-1823), author of the influential
Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), belongs to that more or less cohesive “school” of political economy for which Karl Marx coined the label “classical economics.” As a “comprehensive liberal philosophy” classical economics transcended narrow positivist economic science and attracted public attention, especially during the nineteenth century, by urging public policy reforms along a broad front of political, social, and economic issues. Armed with the analytical tools of political economy, the classical economists attacked the thorny contemporary problems of inflation, commercial and agricultural policy, as well as economic growth and the possible limits of the burgeoning population of the Industrial Revolution. Chief among the Scottish and English “classical” economists during the 150 years from the birth of its mentor Adam Smith to the death of John Stuart Mill, the eloquent voice of liberalism in transition, were: Adam Smith (1723-1790), Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), David Ricardo (1772-1823), James Mill (1773-1836), Robert Torrens (1780-1864), John Ramsay McCulloch (1789-1864), Nassau William Senior (1790-1864), and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)…. [From the text]