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On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

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by David Ricardo

David Ricardo was a British economist most famous for his ‘Theory of Comparative Advantage’ and of ‘Rent.’ The former states that countries will be better off if they specialize in producing goods where they have a comparative advantage. He defines rent on land as being the surplus over the costs of production. Ricardo had a profound influence on his time. His theories provided a rationale for the repeal of the Corn Law in 1846, since he argued that high corn prices could lead to a reduction in economic growth. He also influenced many social thinkers, including Marx, whose labor theory of value is similar in many respects to that of Ricardo. His most important work titled ‘On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, reproduced here, was first published in 1817. This book deals with all the controversial questions of political economy at the time: value theory, economic growth, rent etc.
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