Martin Wolf introduces the winners of the political economy club thesis


In 1821, Scottish historian, economist and philosopher James Mill, known as the father of the great liberal philosopher and economist John Stewart Mill, founded the Political Economy Club in London. This is a private dining club. The club still exists after 200 years.

Among the founding members are two heavyweights in the history of economics, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. Malthus is a pessimist who believes that population will eventually exceed the growth of production. Ricardo is best known for inventing what we now call the theory of comparative advantage in trade.

The club decided to cooperate with the “Financial Times” to set up a thesis award to commemorate its 200th anniversary. It provides two titles for candidates to choose:

1. How do Malthus and Ricardo’s views relate to today’s climate change issues (this is an example of Malthusian restrictions) and market restrictions (globalization with free trade and free capital flows is a mixed blessing)?

2. The real income per capita in the UK has increased by 15 times in the past 200 years, and the distribution is more even. Will this situation be repeated in the next 200 years-if not, why?

There are 45 commits. The judges (I am one of them) agreed that the two articles we are publishing are the most well-proven and original.

Fortunately, the author also wrote different questions.Jos Pirin discussed the first question and concluded that the market has Not only practical, but also ethical, restrictive As a tool to deal with climate change. Krzysztof Pelc solved the second problem, believing that growth restrictions do exist, but these restrictions do not come from the supply suggested by Malthus (and Malthusians), but from Demand satisfaction.

It is impossible to guess how Malthus and Ricardo would view these arguments. I hope they will conclude that political economy is still crucial because these thought-provoking articles belong to that intellectual tradition.

Award-winning paper

We need to transcend the market to deal with climate change

The interaction between humans and nature is increasingly based on Profit motive, Jos Pirin thinks

Conspicuous consumption is no longer our economic engine

A woman steps on high heels with red soles on the steps

Our definition of prosperity now requires Support, don’t hurt, Equality and the environment, Krzysztof Pelc wrote



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