AbstractThe “machinery question” was developed by the economist David Ricardo (1772–1823) in the chapter “On Machinery” added to the third edition of his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1821). This question related, in his words, to the “influence of machinery on the interests of the different classes of society” and particularly to the “opinion entertained by the labouring class, that the employment of machinery is frequently detrimental to their interests”. Ricardo’s argument was presented as a recantation of his “previous opinion” on this question and marks the beginning of a debate that is still going on. The purpose of this entry is to simplify this debate by highlighting some weaknesses and strengths of Ricardo’s argument and in subsequent interpretations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11696.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 2.4(2008): pp. 536-538
Ricardo; machinery; capital; technological unemployment;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
- B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
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- Samuelson, Paul A, 1988. "Mathematical Vindication of Ricardo on Machinery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 274-82, April.
- Meacci, Ferdinando, 1998. "Further Reflections on the Machinery Question," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(0), pages 21-37.
- Maital, Shlomo & Haswell, Patricia, 1977. "Why Did Ricardo (Not) Change His Mind? On Money and Machinery," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(176), pages 359-68, November.
- Hayek, F A, 1969. "Three Elucidations of the Ricardo Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(2), pages 274-85, March/Apr.
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