A fresh and irreverent look at the founders of economics, showing how they lived and what they thought, why they thought it, and why they still matter.
Opinions vary about who really counts as a classical economist: Marx thought it was everyone up to Ricardo. Keynes thought it was everyone up to Keynes. But there's a general agreement about who belongs to the heroic early phase of the discipline. Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Malthus, Mill, Marx: scarcely a day goes by without their names being publicly invoked to celebrate or criticise the state of the world or the actions of governments.
Few of us, though, have read their works. Fewer still realise that the economies that many of them were analysing were quite unlike our modern one, or the extent to which they were indebted to one another. So join the Economist's Callum Williams to join the dots. See how the modern edifice of economics was built, brick by brick, from their ideas and quarrels. And find out which parts stand the test of time.
The Classical School is a breezy, bracingly irreverent introduction to those founding intellects - how they lived, what they thought, what they got wrong and which of their ideas we still need.
Callum Williams is senior economics writer for the Economist. Scrutinising the rationale behind economic and political developments from Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn's economic policy, he has seen the ghosts of the founders of economics being invoked in all sorts of doubtful ways.
Follow @econcallum on Twitter
Paperback - C format