Ricardo’s Development of Smith’s Theory

  • Rory O’Donnell
Part of the Studies in Political Economy book series (STPE)


In presenting the view that Smith contributed to the development of both classical and neoclassical theory — a view which we can call the two-streams view of Smith — Dobb placed great emphasis on Ricardo’s theoretical departure from Smith’s treatment of value and distribution (1973, pp. 47, 49, 72, 76–8, 80, 97, 112–16, 118–19, 122; 1975). These departures, and Ricardo’s criticisms of Smith, were considered of such a kind as to warrant the conclusion that Smith and Ricardo belonged, at least in part, to two different ‘streams of theory’ (see, for example, the statement quoted above). However, given that the interpretation of Smith’s treatment of value spelt out in the previous chapter, differs significantly from that adopted by Dobb (in ways which were indicated in passing in previous chapters and will be examined in detail in Chapter 10) a re-examination of the relation of Ricardo’s work to that of Smith is in order.


Wage Change Theoretical Difference Labour Theory Money Price Absurd Conclusion 
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Copyright information

© Rory O’Donnell 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rory O’Donnell
    • 1
  1. 1.National Economic and Social CouncilDublinIreland

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