4 Ricardo’s encounter with geologists

DOI: 10.4324/9781003162100-4

‘Glassmakers and dyers are not necessarily chemists, because the principles of chemistry are intimately connected with their trade’ (Ricardo 1810, p. 147). This incidental remark shows up in ‘On Mr Randle Jackson’s Speech’, one of Ricardo’s pamphlets from the bullion controversy, within the context of an attack on ‘practical men’, the ‘merchants’ who do not deserve, in the name of an experience confined to their trade, the title of ‘political economist’. However, what was the reason for taking chemistry as an example? It is hardly a novelty that Ricardo’s early interest in the natural sciences was influential in moulding his cast of mind. Sraffa conjectured that it had a ‘more ...

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