M for Marginalism

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Part M in The Insiders Economic Dictionary. Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766-1834): British economist and spokesman for its landlord class. His Principles of Political Economy (1820) countered Ricardo’s critique of groundrent by pointing out that landlords spent part of it on hiring coachmen and other servants and buying luxury products (coaches, fine clothes and so forth), thus providing a source of demand for British industry, and part capital improvements to raise farm productivity. This emphasis on consumption and investment endeared Malthus to Keynes, but did not deter Ricardo and the financial classes from pressing to repeal the Corn Laws in 1846 so as to minimize domestic food prices and hence groundrent. Matters have worked out in a way that neither Malthus nor his ...