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By Noel W. Thompson

The paintings info the emergence, within the post-Napoleonic warfare interval, of a starting to be renowned curiosity within the severe possibilities of political economic climate. It considers why this happened and discusses how the conceptual and analytical instruments of political economic climate have been utilised to formulate a critique of early commercial capitalism. The ebook examines the theories of labour exploitation and capitalist trouble which represented the essence of that critique either as they have been elaborated through early-nineteenth-century British anti-capitalist and socialist writers and as they have been popularised by way of writers within the working-class press of the interval 1816-34. The e-book argues that by way of 1834 as a result of the efforts of writers corresponding to Hodgskin, Thompson, grey, Owen and their popularisers the principles of a distinctively anti-capitalist and socialist political economic climate were verified and extensively disseminated. yet those foundations have been theoretically improper. They have been fallacious by way of an overconcentration at the sphere of trade which derived from a specific notion of the selection of trade price below capitalism; an overconcentration which led directly to the recommendation of treatments for the matter of working-class poverty and misery that have been inevitably doomed to failure.

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Extra resources for The People's Science: The Popular Political Economy of Exploitation and Crisis 1816-34

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66 It was in the early 1830s, though, that the work of the political economists was most frequently derided as linked to the articulation of class and sectional interests. 70 Thus they were seen as writing with the intention of justifying or concealing economic inequalities and injustices from which they and the classes whose interests they defended derived benefit. Such an opinion was clearly expressed by 'Senex' in his 'Letters on Associated Labour' in the Pioneer, where he 65 66 67 68 69 70 T.

Jones and G. E. ), Land, Labour and Population in the Industrial Revolution (London, Edward Arnold, 1967), p. 158. 37 38 The people's science impoverished condition of the silk weavers and framework knitters a more general appreciation of the economic vulnerability of wage labour. 10 Similarly William Hale11 (who quotes Hall) in a pamphlet defending the Spitalfields Acts and William Jackson12 in An Address to the Framework Knitters contrasted the capitalist's power of withholding his goods from the market with the powerlessness of labourers likewise to control the supply of the only commodity which they possessed.

Classical popularisers were, UA 115 116 Pioneer, 6 (1833), 42. The Co-operator, 3 (1828), 2, article entitled 'Value of labour'. Poor Man's Guardian, 90 (1833), 57-8. 118 In addition, through its attack on the essentially apologetic nature of classical writing the workingclass press prepared the way for a favourable reception of the economic thought of those like Hodgskin, Gray, Thompson and Owen who wrote with obvious critical intent. In this respect even the vilification of writers such as Martineau, McCulloch, Malthus and Ricardo and the abusive attacks on the proselytising activities of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge had their positive consequences.

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