The Classical Theory in General Perspective

  • Lord Robbins


We are now nearing the end of our journey. We have surveyed the System of Economic Freedom as presented by the English Classical Economists, their theory of the economic functions of the state, their contribution to the solution of the problem of the condition of the people and their attitude to collectivist notions; and although there are matters which we have not dealt with extensively, such as their views on external economic policy and special problems of public finance, these may be regarded as matters of detail which to dwell on at length in this context would distort the proportions of our treatment. But, before bringing the inquiry to a close, it does seem worth while to stand still further back, so to speak, and to try to get a general picture of the Classical theory of policy as a whole. What does it look like in the large? What is its general significance in the broad perspective of the history of social philosophy?


Economic Policy Economic Freedom Classical Economist General Perspective Social Philosophy 
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  1. 1.
    See Halévy, The Growth of Philosophical Radicalism especially pp. 498–499.’ “ Bentham and J. S. Mill: the Utilitarian Background ”, American Economic Review vol. mix, No. 2, March 1949.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    See Sir Ernest Barker’s reprint, Cambridge University Press, 1937. 2 Bentham, op. cit. vol. iii, pp. 433–577.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lord Robbins 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lord Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.The London School of EconomicsUK

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