John Ramsay McCulloch, 1789-1864
A prolific Scottish journalist, John Ramsay McCulloch was one of the most ardent and doctrinaire
expositors of the Classical Ricardian School.
McCulloch began his career as the editor of The Scotsman, eventually
moving on to the whiggish Edinburgh
Review, where he served as economics editor until the late 1830s.
McCulloch used his position at the Review to popularize the Classical theories and promote
his favorite economic policies, such as the repeal of
the Corn Laws, the retention of the Poor
Laws and the legalization of trade unions. McCulloch also lectured on political economy at University
London from 1828 to 1832. In 1838, he was appointed the
Comptroller of HM Stationary Office.
McCulloch's main work, Principles (1825), was perhaps the first successful
"serious" textbook in economics (and a rather loyal reading of Ricardo's theory). However, McCulloch is often considered a
"lightweight" in terms of the development of economic theory.
His main contribution was the ill-fated "wages fund" doctrine (1824,
also the editor of the 1828 edition of Adam Smith's Wealth
of Nations and the 1846 edition of David Ricardo's
Works. He also composed some of the earliest accounts of the history of
economic thought (naturally, flattering to the Ricardians). His
monumental 1837 treatise provides a statistical account of the failure of the Malthusian
Major Works of John Ramsay McCulloch
- An Essay on a Reduction of the Interest of the National
- "On Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation",
1818, Edinburgh Review
- "Taxation and the Corn Laws", 1820, Edinburgh Review
- "The Opinions of Messrs. Say, Sismondi and Malthus, on Effects of
Machinery and Accumulation", 1821, Edinburgh Review
- "On Combination Laws, Restraints on Emigration, &c.",
1824, Edinburgh Review
- "Political Economy", 1824, Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- "French Law of Succession", 1824, Edinburgh Review.
- A Discourse on the Rise, Progress, Peculiar Objects and Importance
of Political Economy, 1824.
- The Principles of Political Economy, with a sketch of the rise and
progress of the science. 1825.
- An Essay on the Circumstances which Determine the Rate of Wages and
the Condition of the Working Classes, 1826.
- "On Commercial Revulsions", 1826, Edinburgh Review
- "Abolition of the Corn Laws", 1826, Edinburgh Review
- "On Poor Laws", 1828, Edinburgh Review
- "Rise, Progress, Present State, and Prospects of the British
Cotton Manufacture", 1827, Edinburgh Review.
- Editor, Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith,
- "Jones on the Theory of Rent", Edinburgh Review,
- Principles, Practice and History of
- "Chalmers on Political Economy", 1832, Edinburgh Review.
- A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical and Historical of Commerce and
Commercial Navigation, 1832.
- A Descriptive and Statistical Account of the British Empire,
exhibiting its extent, physical capacities, population, industry, and
civil and religious institutions. 2 volumes, 1837
- Statements Illustrative of the Policy and Probable Consequence of
the Proposed Repeal of the Existing Corn Law, 1841.
- The Literature of Political Economy, 1845.
- Editor, The Works of David Ricardo,
Esq. with a notice of the life and writings of the author, 1846.
- A Treatise on the Succession to Property Vacant by Death, 1848.
- A Treatise on Metallic and Paper Money and Banks, 1858
- Treatises and Essays, 1859.
- A Treatise on the Principles and Practical Influence of Taxation
and the Funding System, 1863.
Resources on John Ramsay McCulloch