Classical economics or classical political ..

This structure of government was described in different words by the economists who wrote about it. Whatever it was called, its features were the same in the writing of Hume, Smith, James Mill, and Senior. It appears by implication in some of the Parliamentary speeches by Ricardo. The conception was simple and clear. It held that society consisted of the governed and the governors. The mass of the people comprised most, but not all, of the first group. That group was to express itself in the lower house of Parliament, to the extent that it was to express itself at all. Parliament could not be allowed to rule alone. It had to be restrained, and the restraint would be exercised by what frequently was described as the “aristocratical interest,” that interest would express itself in an upper house, the Lords, or through a royal family, or both. The purpose of the House of Lords and of the monarchy was to prevent a representative government from abusing its power. The Lords and monarchy, that is, would contribute order and stability while the Commons would provide freedom. The belief in limited representation was not a justification of aristocracy and monarchy. That rationalization runs in quite a different direction and follows from an assumption that there is a class which by reason of its superior talents and exclusive political wisdom necessarily should be given power. The economists, in their conception of human nature, ascribed the same motives to the upper classes as to the lower and believed neither was to be trusted with a monopoly of power. Their object was a government that would establish an equilibrium among competing interest groups. That would be done by distributing power in such a way that no group would become paramount but each would have power enough to express its permissible interests. The theory of such a government is the familiar one of checks and balances. It was one of the ideas for which the eighteenth century is famous. It is found in many of the political papers of the period, and was set forth most impressively in The Federalist (as Chapter 3, Vol. 1 of this book explains).

Political ideas of the classical economists

The Political Ideas Of Liberal Economists ~ ECONOMIC …

The Political Ideas Of Liberal Economists

When, however, the economists considered the proper extent of political freedom, their views were not as comprehensive. They did not believe the people in their entirety should have as much opportunity to make political decisions as to make economic decisions. That some liberty should be allowed to everyone they did believe—but that all should have the same liberty they did not believe.

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Political economy challenges me to be critical and to cut through simplistic or propagandistic ways of seeing the world. Political economy is fundamentally about how we organise our lives and provide for our basic (and more complex) needs. It makes a practical difference in people’s lives. Political economy cares about questions of class that we don’t often hear about in our daily life. Don’t let anybody tell you that we live in a classless society!Claire, PhD candidate

To give you some more insights, I asked some postgrad students why they study political economy. Here’s what they said.
The Political And Policy Ideas Of The Liberal Economists Versus Those Of The Businessman ..

The classical economists produced ..

The classicists believed in economic freedom for everyone and not just for the middle class. They argued most persuasively for the freedom of the latter, but there is no evidence that it was their exclusive concern. Their sympathy for the lower classes was demonstrated in many ways. Hume declared that an equal distribution of income was most consistent with human nature, that it best promoted the national welfare, and was most conducive to the extension of liberty, even though under certain conditions it might create conflict. Smith gave the workingman the most important function in the economy, upbraided employers for combining to drive down wages, heaped scorn on the manners and morals of businessmen, and in so many ways evinced his hostility to the middle class, even though he defended its right to trade freely, that he hardly can be called its champion. The desire of Malthus to see the poor and propertyless sheltered from as much distress as possible led him to be skeptical of a policy of laisser faire. Ricardo in many ways disclosed his humanitarian feelings, despite his reputation as an impersonal and remorseless logician. He made his productivity ethics the justification for raising wages; he was opposed to any sudden repeal of the laws providing relief to the poor, favoring instead their gradual elimination in order to prevent “overwhelming distress.” He was receptive to measures that might improve the condition of the poor, advocating in his Principles that the legislature make some effort to discourage large families and that society at large persuade the lower classes that prudence and forethought were both necessary and “profitable” virtues. In 1819, he agreed to serve as a member of a committee to examine the proposal of Robert Owen, the utopian socialist. Although he disagreed with Owen on most points he gave the proposal a thorough and fair hearing. That the object of the classicists was the welfare of all society, and not that of the middle class only, was stated most explicitly by M’Culloch. He said of the work of the political economist:

It is frequently dated from William Stanley Jevons 's Theory of Political Economy ..

Start studying Classical Economics

Smith, more than any of the economists, wrote about the relation between economic activity and social progress. He made the development of a free society depend on the extension of economic freedom; and he made the development of virtue and wisdom, on which, he believed, self-government must rely, depend on raising the material welfare of the people. Although Ricardo did not express himself directly on this point, he probably agreed with Smith, believing as he did that “the general happiness” of mankind was increased as its income increased, and that the method of increasing income was a free market.

Feb 24, 2014 · Defining Political Economy from the perspective of the ..

Differences Between Classical & Keynesian Economics ..

The issue to which they directed their attention was not the possibility of progress—that was taken for granted—but the circumstances most favorable to it. They believed that in the free market they had found what was most favorable. If men had the liberty of trading freely and if their property was secure, economic progress would follow “naturally,” meaning not providentially but as a matter of course. The accumulation of capital would raise the real income of the masses, and two important changes would occur. They would acquire an interest in supporting the existing order, an order of the kind the economists regarded as ideal. And they would be able to attend to their moral and mental improvement. Then, by reason both of desire and ability, the masses would deserve complete political liberty. I want to emphasize their belief that the condition of political progress was an increase in real income and that the condition of such an increase was an extension of economic freedom (but not complete laisser faire by any means). This belief was a part of a larger conception of the classical economists that the improvement of morals and manners, and progress in the arts and sciences, could advance only as men were free to seek their material welfare in their own way. In this conception the political and economic doctrines of the classicists are most closely related.