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David Ricardo a British economist was born in London in 1772 He left school at the age of fourteen to join a brokerage house by his mid-20s he had amassed a fortune on the stock market In his first work on economic theory The High Price of Bullion a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes 1809 he argued for a sound currency based on metal In his major work Principles of Political Economy and Taxation 1817 Ricardo offered several theories based on his studies of the long-range distribution of wealth Ricardo feared increasing population would lead to a shortage of productive land his theory of rent is based on relative land productivity He supported the theory of wages Ricardo supported the classical theory of international trade emphasizing national specialization and freedom of competition His labor theory of value which is determined by the cost of production itself determined by the amount of labor required to produce the food in other words labor determines value He also proposed as a means to this end the removal of all political and social restraints on economic relations believing that individuals are free to the extent their commercial life is unrestricted or in other words Laissez-faire Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99 According to Ricardo wages seek a level that is just sufficient to enable workers to subsist and perpetuate their race without either increase or diminution This Ricardo held this to be an inescapable iron law in much the same way that Robert Malthus had seen the interplay between population growth and the means of subsistence Economics McConnellBrue According to Ricardo money from its being a commodity obtained from a foreign country from its being the general medium of exchange between all civilized countries and from its being also distributed among those countries in proportions which are ever changing with every improvement in commerce and machinery and with every increasing difficulty of obtaining food and necessaries for an increasing
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