Profile Books, London, 2020
A fascinating chronicle of the lives of twenty economists who played major roles in the evolution of global economic thought.
What was Adam Smith really talking about when he mentioned the “invisible hand”? Did Karl Marx really predict the end of capitalism? Did Thomas Malthus (from whose name the word “Malthusian” derives) really believe that famines were desirable?
In The Classical School, Callum Williams debunks popular myths about these great economists, and explains the significance of their ideas in an engaging way. After reading this book, you will know much more about the very famous (Smith, Ricardo, Mill) and the not-quite-so-famous (Bernard de Mandeville, Friedrich Engels, Jean-Baptiste Say). The book offers an assessment of what they wrote, the impact it had, and the worthiness of their ideas. It’s far from the final word on any of these people, but a useful way of understanding what they were all about, at a time when understanding these economic giants is perhaps more important than ever.