Friedrich ListFriedrich List was born in Wurttemberg in the current Germany, in 1789, the year of the French Revolution. In 1817 he was appointed professor of management and policy in the University of Tübingen.
However in connection with some political turmoil, he was in 1822 dismissed and sentenced to 10 months of hard work in the fortress of Asberg. He escaped to Alsace, spent some time in France and England, and returned back to Würtenberger in 1824 to endure the rest of his punishment. He was released on condition that he would emigrate to America.
He showed up in the U.S. in 1825 with an introductory letter from La Fayette. He was introduced to President Jackson. In the U.S. he earned his living as a farmer and journalist; he edited a German language newspaper in the city of Harrisburg in the state Pennsylvania.
In 1832 he was appointed as an American consul in Leipzig.
He had the intellectual driving force in establishing the Common-German Zollverein, which was established for a large part thanks to his enthusiasm and vigor. He was a great proponent of the expansion of the German railway system.
In 1841 he was offered a position as editor of a newly established liberal newspaper in Cologne named "Rheinische Zeitung. However, he declined the offer on grounds of poor health. The position was instead given to the young Karl Marx.
In the last years of his life he suffered from a fatal and very painful disease, and the 30. of October 1846, he chose take his own life at the age of 56.
Thomas MalthusThomas Malthus was born in England in 1766. His father educated him at home himself. In 1793 he became professor of history and political economy at the East India Company College at Haileybury, which position he retained until his death.
He was best known for his contribution to population science, "An Essay on the Principle of Population". Population growth would overtake the world food production and trigger a global crisis, he wrote. Earth's resources are final, but humans natural instincts will motivate them to multiply themselves unlimited.
Malthus, however, was one of the most well-known economists. He joined the Royal Society and later the political-economic club, where he met the classical economists David Ricardo and James Mill. He was among the founders of the London Statistical Society in 1834.
He rarely allowed himself to be pictured because of a harelip.
Ricardo and Malthus disagreed on many things. David Ricardo was a strong supporter of an complete liberalism, while Malthus did not believe that a competitive economy by itself could always would find a point optimal for the whole society.
Despite their disagreement Ricardo and Malthus were personal friends. Maybe they now and then were sitting in the gentlemens room and enjoyed a good cigar and a glass of port, while they discussed the society's economic condition. Ricardo is talking much about the port in his articles on the benefits of international trade.
David RicardoDavid Ricardo was born in England in 1772. He was the youngest of 17 (seventeen) children. His Jewish family came from Portugal. They moved to England shortly before Ricardo was born. When he was fourteen years old, he began helping his father in his brokerage business.
When he was 21 he married a Christian woman and himself converted to Christianity. For this reason his family took away his right to inheritance.
Ricardo, however, was a brilliant investor, in a short time he earned a fortune, bought an estate and retired from business life at the age of 32 years. He became member of parliament and devoted the rest of his time to political economy.
He is best known for his treatise on the benefits of mutual international trade and for his theory of the "iron law of wages". However these were merely two sides of same coin, namely his lifelong struggle that England should become industrialized as fast as possible and at any price.
Industrialization required that British merchants could export the products. This brought the mutual benefits of international trade into the picture. The industrial products might be cheap. For this reason, factories cost must be low, especially labor costs. Thus brought his "iron law of wages" into the picture. But if wages should be low, so the food should also be inexpensive. Therefore he also called for import of cheap foreign grain.
England were truly industrialized quickly, but not without the moral and political costs, which his friend Malthus had warned against. Socialism was born as in England; as it is well known.
England's industrialization in the nineteenth century resembles China's industrialization, which is taking place right before our eyes. As Englishmen they attach great importance to exports. They keep a watchful eye on the wages, it must be low, so their products can remain cheap and competitive. If wages must be low, so the food must be cheap. Therefore, the Chinese peasants do not pay tax and they receive government subsidies by purchasing television and other modern appliances.
National System of Political Economy - Modern History Sourcebook af Friedrich List
See en criticism of Friedich List The Ghost of Protectionism Past: The Return of Friedrich List - Freedom Daily by Richard M. Ebeling, who is an economist of the Austrian School
A biography of Fridrich List - Epik
Full text of: David Ricardo: The Iron Law of Wages, 1817 - Modern History Sourcebook
A biography of: David Ricardo - New school med mange links
"The Revolution that never was" by Will Hutton - Vintage 2001
"Economic of the Real World" by Peter Donaldson - Penguin Book
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