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THE ECONOMISTS AND THE COMBINATION LAWS: A REAPPRAISAL

THE ECONOMISTS AND THE COMBINATION LAWS: A REAPPRAISAL The repeal of the British Combination Laws in 1824 is generally considered by historians as the landmark of modern trade unionism, and has been attributed to the contributions of classical political economists. In the sole article that addressed this issue in the field of the history of economic thought, William Grampp reached the opposite conclusion, according to which the influence of the economists (John Ramsay McCulloch, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, Robert Torrens, and Nassau William Senior) on repeal was actually small. Resituating the debates over the Combination Laws in their political context, we try to show, despite the relatively reduced volume of the classical economists’ direct contributions, that the economists were clearly favorable to the measure, and how “political economy” played a significant role in the achievement of repeal. In doing so, we offer a reflection on the methodology used by Grampp to study the influence of economic ideas on political debates and public policy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of Economic Thought Cambridge University Press

THE ECONOMISTS AND THE COMBINATION LAWS: A REAPPRAISAL

Journal of the History of Economic Thought , Volume 44 (1): 23 – Mar 1, 2022

THE ECONOMISTS AND THE COMBINATION LAWS: A REAPPRAISAL

Journal of the History of Economic Thought , Volume 44 (1): 23 – Mar 1, 2022

Abstract

The repeal of the British Combination Laws in 1824 is generally considered by historians as the landmark of modern trade unionism, and has been attributed to the contributions of classical political economists. In the sole article that addressed this issue in the field of the history of economic thought, William Grampp reached the opposite conclusion, according to which the influence of the economists (John Ramsay McCulloch, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, Robert Torrens, and Nassau William Senior) on repeal was actually small. Resituating the debates over the Combination Laws in their political context, we try to show, despite the relatively reduced volume of the classical economists’ direct contributions, that the economists were clearly favorable to the measure, and how “political economy” played a significant role in the achievement of repeal. In doing so, we offer a reflection on the methodology used by Grampp to study the influence of economic ideas on political debates and public policy.

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Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the History of Economics Society
ISSN
1053-8372
eISSN
1469-9656
DOI
10.1017/S1053837220000528
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The repeal of the British Combination Laws in 1824 is generally considered by historians as the landmark of modern trade unionism, and has been attributed to the contributions of classical political economists. In the sole article that addressed this issue in the field of the history of economic thought, William Grampp reached the opposite conclusion, according to which the influence of the economists (John Ramsay McCulloch, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, Robert Torrens, and Nassau William Senior) on repeal was actually small. Resituating the debates over the Combination Laws in their political context, we try to show, despite the relatively reduced volume of the classical economists’ direct contributions, that the economists were clearly favorable to the measure, and how “political economy” played a significant role in the achievement of repeal. In doing so, we offer a reflection on the methodology used by Grampp to study the influence of economic ideas on political debates and public policy.

Journal

Journal of the History of Economic ThoughtCambridge University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2022

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