1800-1900: Economics Classics, Including Neoclassical Thought
Bagehot, Walter, The Postulates of English Political Economy.
Böhm-Bawerk, Eugen V., Capital and InterestClark, John Bates, The Distribution of Wealth
Clark's work went head-to-head with Eugen v. Böhm-Bawerk's contemporaneous and comparably detailed work, though the latter in its focus on interest rates rather than wages, headed at the distribution question from the other side. For a discussion, see the Brief Review of Eugen v. Böhm-Bawerk's Capital and Interest.
Clark explicitly set aside the issue of investment creating new capital, ("dynamics," as he termed it, as opposed to "statics"), a distinction that enabled him and subsequent economists to isolate current from intertemporal economic forces.
Jevons, William Stanley, Theory of Political Economy
Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Southey's Colloquies on Society.
In the second and subsequent editions, culminating in the extraordinary final Sixth Edition, Malthus successively clarified his explanations and provided extensive, path-breaking empirical work, country by country, to test his hypotheses about the interaction of human, economic-based choice as a check to the lock-step progressions of arithmetic. This work, wonderfully readable today and recognized by academic economists of its day, set the stage for a major theme in economics-as-a-social-science: an objective separation of theory, evidence, and applications.
Greatly respected by economists in his day, but often misunderstood and mis-summarized by laymen then and since, Malthus was one of the first economists to popularize the importance of first-hand research in economics, in the form of his travelling to collect first-hand data (for editions after the 1st, e.g., 6th edition: Books I-II), Malthus cleverly explores dozens of applications (6th edition: Book III), and addresses many moral and religious concerns (6th edition: Book IV). He was also one of the first economists to introduce the power of mathematics to economics, in the form of his often-misunderstood comparison of arithmetic versus geometric progressions as an illustration of possible underlying determinants of differing growth rates when unchecked by economic incentives.
Marcet, Jane Haldimand, Essays.
Marshall, Alfred, Principles of Economics, 8th edition
Menger, Karl, Principles of Economics
Mill, James, Elements of Political Economy
James Mill's exposition of the labor theory of value is so compelling and simple that it stood for over a generation, to much unfortunate misapplication. It still represents a logic so apparently correct that students and laymen alike easily lapse into it. Where is the error? Any classroom explanation of the errors of the labor theory of value would do well to start with reading Mill's clear description, and then to show exactly where and why the logic veers off course.
Here's a short set of college-level readings on the Labor Theory of Value to address just that:
Mill, John Stuart, Principles of Political Economy, Ashley edition.
The Ashley edition documents the various small changes in the work over time and fills in many incomplete references, which, at the time, were not customary to state in full.
Pigou, Arthur, Economics of Welfare
Ricardo, David, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
Senior, Nassau W., Political Economy
Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Cannan edition.
The frequently-cited Cannan edition is based on Smith's fifth edition, and thoroughly documents the various small changes in the work over time and fills in many incomplete references, which, at the time, were not customary to state in full.
Walras, Leon, Elements of Pure Economics, or, The Theory of Social Wealth
Wicksteed, Philip H., The Common Sense of Political Economy
Copyright © 1999-2008
Liberty Fund, Inc.
All Rights Reserved