David Ricardo

David Ricardo ( born April 18, 1772 in London, † September 11, 1823 in Gatcombe Park ) was a British economist and a leading exponent of classical economics.


David Ricardo was born on April 18, 1772, the third of 17 children in a devout Jewish family. This was originally from Portugal and had recently immigrated from the Netherlands to London. Ricardo's father worked as a stockbroker and was considered one of the richest men of his time. This led his son at the age of 14 years in his profession, took him to the London Stock Exchange and let him work there. A few years later, at the age of 21 years, Priscilla Anne Wilkinson met Ricardo know that Quaker was. He married a short time later and thus renounced the Orthodox Jewish faith. Ricardo's father disinherited his son and broke off all contacts. Ricardo received from friends a loan and soon opened his own brokerage office. Due to its success it a few years later came to wealth, which allowed him soon to retire from the business.

In addition to its shops, Ricardo dealt with mathematics and science. After the reading of the work The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1723-1790) he worked on from 1799 intensively with the economy. First, he made only studies; In 1809 he published the first critical newspaper articles. However, he worked until 1814 only with his studies. Ricardo stood in the following years in close contact with other leading economists of his time, such as James Mill (1773-1836) and Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), which connected him friendship, even though they had technically different views. Partly as a result of these dialogues, especially with Mill, finally emerged the major works of Ricardo, Essay on the Influence of a Low Price of Corn on the Profits of Stock (1815 ) and On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817 ). In 1819 took Ricardo as a deputy district Portalington the Irish in the British House of Commons. There he championed free trade and the abolition of the Corn Laws. Finally, Ricardo died on September 11, 1823 in Gatcombe Park from the effects of otitis media.

According to contemporaries, Ricardo was a " friendly, never opinionated, deliberate and somewhat reserved person ."


  • The High Price of Bullion, a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes, London 1810
  • Observations on some Passages in a Article in the Edinburgh Review, on the Depreciation of the Paper Currency, (1811 )
  • Reply to Mr Bosanquet 's Practical Observation on the Report of the Bullion Committee ( 1811)
  • An Essay on the Influence of a Low Price of Corn on the Profits of Stock (1815 )
  • Proposals for on Economical and Secure Currency ( 1816)
  • On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817 )
  • On Protection in Agriculture, London 1822
  • Speech on Mr. Western 's Motion for a Committee to Consider the Effects produced by the Resumption of Cash payments (1822 )

Posthumous editions:

  • Plan for the Establishment of a National Bank ( 1824)
  • The Works of David Ricardo (1826 )
  • The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo (11 vols, 1951-1973 )

David Ricardo published 1817 Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. He developed the theory of comparative advantage, a core component of international trade theory, and thus founded the Ricardian trade model. After Ricardo to foreign trade worth for all economies, even for those who in all goods have a cost disadvantage compared to other states. Because each country achieves the maximum freight revenue when it produces products with the lower labor costs itself and relates the other goods in exchange, where already the relative cost advantages ensure the international division of labor and its further specialization. Other important writings are Ricardo essay on the influence of low grain prices on the capital profit (1815 ) in which he recommended the free corn imports, and in 1820 wrote Essay on the Funding System, in which he called for tax increases instead of bonds.

Ricardo was able to prevail with Robert Torrens with the thesis that the base money supply must be limited. This was the opposite thesis Fullartons John and Thomas Tooke, after which the demand for money in an economy would regulate all by itself, as disproved.

Ricardo's name is closely linked with the theory of land rent. The emergence of the pension is attributed to the fact that various existing soil quality the better not sufficient to meet demand, and the price of the bottoms needs are so high that the cost of cultivation of the worst yet indispensable land would just covered.

Although Ricardo else Say's law assumes in its economic analysis to be valid, he has admitted in his last chapter on the mechanical engineering that can lead to technical progress for the reduction of employment; this setting (although in the overall theory inconsistent) was estimated " objective science " of Marx. With his own version of the labor theory of value, Marx was in continuity with Ricardo's work as the well-known him recent developments in science.

Terms and method

Ricardo's " grain model " is considered an early example of a one- good - parabola.

According to Ricardo, the so-called Ricardian equivalence is named.

The term Ricardian Vice ( engl.: " a typical error for Ricardo " ), Joseph A. Schumpeter, Ricardo's method sharply criticized Ricardo often go out of unrealistic assumptions. He also treat variables as a constant, which should be the economic argument by a constant. Heinz D. Kurz, however, has Schumpeter's criticism as unjustified, since Ricardo's method will misinterpret it.

The term " Neoricardianische school" economists such as Joan Robinson and Piero Sraffa are taken that have taken Ricardos theory again and developed into an alternative to neoclassical theory. Sraffa 's also emerged as editor of the new edition of the Collected Works of Ricardo. Ricardo has written an essay shortly before his death: " Absolute value and exchange value ." The essay was not known until shortly before the publication of the Collected Works, and on the occasion of a substantial revision of the almost finished Ricardo Complete Edition.

Ricardo honor later led to the Chair of Political Economy at London University 's name.