The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Thompson, William (1785–1833)

  • N. W. Thompson
Reference work entry


Self-confessedly ‘one of the idle classes’, Thompson, the son of a merchant, was a substantial landowner with an estate in County Cork. He evinced an early interest in ‘advanced’ opinions which led to contacts with the St. Simonians in France and in 1822 his intellectual interests took him to London where he resided for a time with Bentham in Queen Square Place. Here he met some of the leading philosophical radicals and classical political economists of the day, such as Robert Torrens and James Mill. His sympathies were, however, enlisted by the expanding cooperative movement and by 1825 he was, in the words of J.S. Mill, ‘the chief champion on the co-operative side’ in a series of debates held in the metropolis on the subject of co-operation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Beales, H.L. 1933. The early English socialists. London: Hamish Hamilton.Google Scholar
  2. Beer, M. 1953. A history of British socialism, 2 vols. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  3. Cole, G.D.H. 1977. A history of socialist thought, 5 vols. Vol. 1: Socialist thought, the forerunners. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  4. Foxwell, H.S. 1899. Introduction to the English translation of A. Menger. In The right to the whole produce of labour. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Gray, A. 1967. The socialist tradition, Moses to Lenin. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  6. Hunt, E.K. 1979. Utilitarianism and the labour theory of value. History of Political Economy 11: 544–571.Google Scholar
  7. Hunt, E.K. 1980. The relation of the Ricardian socialists to Ricardo and Marx. Science and Society 44: 177–198.Google Scholar
  8. Jones, G.S. 1983. Rethinking chartism. In Languages of class: Studies in English working class history 1832–1892. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. King, J.E. 1981. Perish commerce! Free trade and underconsumption in early British radical economics. Australian Economic Papers 20: 235–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lowenthal, E. 1911. The Ricardian socialists. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  11. Pankhurst, R.K.P. 1954. William Thompson, pioneer socialist, feminist and co-operator. London: Watts.Google Scholar
  12. Thompson, N.W. 1984. The people’s science: The popular political economy of exploitation and crisis, 1816–34, 1816–34. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. W. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.