EC 12. Pointers No. 6

FAQ on Backhouse, Ch. 7 – Classical Political Economy

  1. Backhouse states that Adam Smith’s work was essentially “moral philosophy,” and not economics as the modern textbooks would have it. How did Backhouse define moral philosophy?
  1. Backhouse characterized political economy as having a “scientific” character. What did he mean by the “scientific character”?
  1. Backhouse states that Thomas Malthus and the followers of Jeremy Bentham were Whigs. Who or what were the Whigs? What did they stand for? (Note: The answer is in standard dictionaries).
  1. In Malthus’s theory of population, what are the three events that could contain or limit the growth of population? Which of these three is the most important, and why? Relate this issue to present-day problems of the Philippines.
  1. What was the defining theme of Ricardian economics?
  1. What are the two key propositions of Ricardian economics? On what three basic arguments or “pillars” did David Ricardo rely?
  1. What is the Iron Law of Wages that is attributed to David Ricardo?
  1. Say’s Law states that supply creates demand. Explain.
  1. How did J. S. Mill distinguish socialism from communism?
  1. List at least three situations wherein, in Mill’s view, the doctrine of laissez-faire will not work. Why would laissez-faire not work?
  1. How did Marx explain the “low” wages of workers?
  1. What did Marx see as the main driving force that produces the business cycle of expansion-crisis-recession?

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