Hodgskin, Thomas (1787–1869)

Thomas Hodgskin was one of the most original libertarian theorists in Victorian England. His first major work was Travels in the North of Germany (1820). This two-volume travelogue, which is interspersed with political commentary on “the much governed countries of Germany,” frequently discusses the inefficiency and waste of governmental projects. Hodgskin even suggests that police functions should be placed in private hands. In 1825, Hodgskin published Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital, a tract cited repeatedly by Karl Marx and later to cause historians to claim that Hodgskin was a “Ricardian Socialist.” In fact, Hodgskin disliked Ricardo's theories, vastly preferring the insights of Adam Smith, and he hated socialism even more. Although sui generis in many respects, Hodgskin is best categorized as an ...

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