Considered one of the world’s greatest economic theorists, David Ricardo was born in 1772. His parents moved to England from Holland, and at the age of 14 Ricardo began working for his father, a stockbroker. Aged 21, Ricardo eloped with a Quaker, Priscilla Wilkinson. Religious differences between the families resulted in both sides abandoning the couple, so Ricardo started his own stockbroking firm. He made a fortune betting on a French defeat at Waterloo (1815) by buying English government bonds. Ricardo mixed with notable economists of his day, including Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill. He retired from the stock exchange in 1819, and became a member of Parliament. He died suddenly of an ear infection in 1823, leaving an estate worth more than $120 million in real terms today.
Key works: 1810 The High Price of Bullion 1814 Essay on the Influence of a Low Price of Corn,1817 On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation