Classical economics is the first comprehensive system of economic theory, first expounded by Adam Smith (1723-1790) in his Wealth of Nations (1776). It also included the writings of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), David Ricardo (1772-1823), Jean Baptiste Say (1767-1832), Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), James Mill (1773-1836), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and many others of that era.
While not advocates of complete laissez faire, this school of economics generally supported the principle that both individuals and society prosper most with a minimum of political intervention. They defended private property, voluntary social cooperation, economic freedom and popular government and provided some of the first basic principles upon which modern economics has been built. Their great weakness was their failure to solve the paradox of value and thus much of their reasoning was based on the labor (objective) theory of value.
- Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-06-29.