David Ricardo

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David Ricardo (18 April 1772 – 11 September 1823) was an English classical political economist, a member of Parliament, a businessman and a financier.

Important contributions include the law of Comparative Advantage, a fundamental argument for free trade and of specialization of labor; and the Ricardian Equivalence, an argument suggesting that in some circumstances a government's choice of how to pay for its spending (i.e., whether to use tax revenue or issue debt and run a deficit) might have no effect on the economy.


Born in London April 19, 1772, the third son of a Dutch Jew. Before the age of thirty, he had made his fortune in the stock exchange. His fortune allowed him to indulge in learning. Inspired by reading Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Ricardo grew interested in political economy and would later make friends with Thomas Malthus, James Mill and Jeremy Bentham. In 1817, Ricardo published his major work Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.

David Ricardo died on September 11, 1823 at the age of 51.[1]

Published Works

  • The High Price of Bullion a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes (1809)
  • Proposals for an Economical and Secure Currency (1816)
  • Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817)
  • On Protection to Agriculture (1822)
  • Plan for the Establishment of a National Bank (posthumously, 1824)


  1. David Ricardo Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, VII. On Foreign Trade, (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books) Preface

External links