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  • Published: 1 Sep 2017
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781138201521-HET2-1


  • Abstract
  • Characteristic features of the classical approach
  • Some selected fields of inquiry in classical political economy
    • Growth, technological change, and development
    • Foreign trade
    • Money and banking
    • Economic policy, taxation and public debt
    • Macroeconomic stability and crises
  • The spread and development of classical political economy in Continental Europe, Russia and Japan
  • Concluding remarks on the abandonment and revival of classical political economy
  • References

Classical Political Economy


This essay provides a summary account of classical political economy and its development from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries. It outlines basic features of the classical approach to the theory of value and distribution, and briefly reviews the ideas of major British classical political economists on: growth and development; international trade; money and banking; economic policy, taxation and public debt; and macroeconomic stability and crises. It then discusses the spread of classical political economy to other countries, focusing on the reception and development of classical economic thought in Continental Europe, Russia and Japan against the background of different national traditions. The essay closes with some remarks on the decline of classical political economy in Britain in the mid-19th century and its revival in the 20th century.

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