Just as the history of modern political economy began at the end of the seventeenth century with Petty and Boisguillebert, so it ends with Ricardo and Sismondi, two opposite poles, of whom one spoke English and the other French. Later, political economic literature lost its way either in eclectic, syncretic compendiums, like the work of J. S. Mill for example, or in the more detailed elaboration of individual branches, such as Tooke’s History of Prices, and, in general, recent English publications on circulation — the only branch in which really new discoveries have been made. As for publications on colonisation, landed property (in its various forms), population, etc., they can really only be distinguished from older works by their greater volume of material; or else they re-discuss old economic problems for a wider public in order to provide a practical solution to problems of the day, such as writings on free trade and protection; or, finally, they lend tendentious exaggeration to the ideas of classical economists, as Chalmers does in relation to Malthus, and Gulich to Sismondi, and to a certain extent MacCulloch and Senior in their earlier writings in relation to Ricardo. This is nothing but a literature composed by epigoni, a literature of repetition, of formal elaboration, of a wider and more captious appropriation of the material, of popularisation, summarising and working out of details. This literature shows no crucial, decisive phases of development, and embodies a mere inventory on one side, and excessive detail on the other.
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