Ricardo, David

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Ricardo, David

(1772–1823) an English economist who, in his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), argued that the value of products is determined by the amount of labour needed to produce them and developed a theory of distribution to explain how this value is shared between major classes in society (see LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE). Ricardo suggested that however prosperous the economy, wages could never rise above subsistence level. As workers became more prosperous, they would have more children and, as these children grew up, this additional labour supply would force wages down: an ‘iron law of wages’.

Ricardo argued that capitalists would not benefit much from economic progress either, since competition would keep their prices down and wage payments would cut into their profits. He regarded landlords as being the only real beneficiaries from economic progress since, with a finite amount of arable land and a growing population to feed, the landlords’ rental income would grow and the value of their land would rise. Rising rents would raise the cost of food produced and workers would need larger wages to pay for food, eroding capitalists’ profits. Ricardo's theories were used by the emerging industrialists to fight for free trade and an end to high tariffs on imported grain so as to lower food prices and keep wages low. See also ECONOMIC RENT.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
De Vivo observes that it was probably a disappointment for Sraffa not being able to acquire some books from the library of David Ricardo, even not at the auction in April 1940 of furniture, paintings and books from Gatcombe Park, the estate bought by Ricardo in 1814 and now in the possession of Princess Anne (De Vivo 2014, XLII).
And David Ricardo, following Malthus dreamed up his theory that capital and labor do not produce but only appropriate and consume what nature affords.
Citing English economist David Ricardo (1772-1823) as one of the most important economists ever, whose impact is still significant, Kurz and Salvadori present their concise yet comprehensive Companion aiming to contribute to a better understanding of RicardoAEs works and a flourishing of the ideas in them.
Currently, economists have a much more refined view of comparative advantage than David Ricardo suggested two centuries ago.
Way back in 1800s David Ricardo had suggested that nations should concentrate on their comparative advantage.
It is also highly questionable --mainly because British economist David Ricardo made a very similar claim more than 200 years ago and turned out to be wrong.
Kreisel's opening chapters provide an overview of the wider economic debates taking place in the nineteenth century by tracing the arguments of laissez-faire economists David Ricardo and Herbert Spencer and demand function theorists Thomas Malthus and John Ruskin.
Two eponymous international conferences were held in Tokyo in September 2011, and March 2012, organized by the Ricardo Society, an organization founded in 2000 by a group of Japanese scholars to promote the study of David Ricardo's (1772-1823) theory and thought.
Classical liberalism is built on ideas that had already arisen by the end of the 18th century, such as selected ideas of Adam Smith, John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, stressing the belief in free market and natural law, utilitarianism, and progress.