Adam Smith (not a modernist) the wealth of nations raised questions such as 'why is one country wealthier than the other?' Wealthy countries are characterised by individualism. Smith believed there is too much government intervention.
Before he wrote 'The Wealth of Nations' he wrote 'Moral Philosophy' where he shared similar views to Hume, that people had more money than sense. He thought people are like calculating machines. Everyone constantly calculates what will maximise your pleasure but minimise your pain.
- The Law of uninvented pleasure. Smith said that giving money to the poor was damaging them. If someone is poor they should help themselves.
Smith's views are similar to Ian Duncan Smith who would say abolish childcare claims. Allow people to be free. Smith would agree that benefits should be abolished he generally thought people will find money if they are pushed to no other option. 'Let the hidden hand of the market help poor' Smith believed all money comes from trade.
David Ricardo Ricardo held continental views and opposed Adam Smiths. He believed it wasn't the object that is being sold that holds value it is the labour that has gone into making it that it gains value. For example coal has no value as a natural object; only once humans have applied effort to it does it have value. This is known as the 'labour theory of value' The amount of labour that has been used makes something more valuable. For example diamonds and water in a hot country.
After the French Revolution and onto the Victorian. There was a gloomy outlook on western civilisation (Wagner and Schopenhauer) economics was once optimistic with Adam Smith until Thomas Malthus.
Malthus believed all humans are like bacteria they will starve. they are constantly on the brink of starvation. (Darwinian) In
Malthus was a great believer in marriage. He believed marriage would stop us starving to death. There would be no sex before marriage, he was unaware of contraception. He believed the poor people wouldn't breed as they would not get married. Only the rich would get married. In Victorian times women's purpose was to have children. But modernists disagreed with this. They argued that more humans would create more labouring. Because of climate change Malthus has become more popular. It is rare for families to have more than three children; people can only afford to feed what they can afford. Whenever a fuel scare is in place supermarkets are packed. People buy all the food they can- as though it would run out.
Karl Marx Karl Marx views on economy are valuable as well as his questionable politics. Marx = Ricardo+Malthus. Supply and demand will increase therefore will the profit. Overall he highlighted the crisis of capitalism. His theory explained that in society there is overproduction and under consumption. Marx does not moralise capitalism. As capability revolutionises everything. He thought the problem with it is the ion law of wages. When wages are cut back because demand of products is decreasing is viscous cycle. It gets to the point where people cannot buy why they are making because their wage is lower. When society gets to this main crisis the way we over come this before was with war in World War Two men went to work in the army and women worked in factories and by creating new sources of market.
1848- crisis was diverted
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But would this work now? It worked well in the decades after World War II.