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Classical Economics

Classical economics refers to a school of economics, the most famous proponents of which were Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill. Writing from the end of the 18th to the middle of the 19th centuries, they shared an approach to economic questions that embraced market-oriented principles that were to revolutionize and transform Western civilization. The classical model of free trade, limited government, balanced budgets, the gold standard, and laissez-faire shaped orthodox economic thinking and was accepted by all nonsocialist economists until the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s. Today, the economic model put forward by these thinkers is again gaining popularity.

Adam Smith (1723–1790), one of the most important figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, is considered the founder of the classical model. He ...

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