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Ricardo, David (1772–1823)

David Ricardo was a brilliant classical economist. His policies of free trade and hard money helped propel Britain into its role as “workshop of the world” and as an industrial giant, yet his labor theory of value and antagonistic model of capitalism proved misguided and gave unexpected support to the Marxists and socialists.

Born in London to a large Jewish family, Ricardo made his fortune when a relatively young man as a stockbroker on the London Stock Exchange. He was a speculator par excellence, allegedly making a million pounds sterling in 1 day following the Battle of Waterloo. In 1815, he purchased a large estate called Gatcomb Park in Gloucestershire and devoted the remainder of his life to intellectual interests. In 1819, he was elected to ...

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