The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Wade, John (1788–1875)

  • Daniele Besomi
Reference work entry


John Wade was born in London to working class parents. He worked for more than a decade as a journeyman wool sorter, then he ‘wrote his way out of obscurity’ (Harling, P. 2004. Wade, John (1788–1875). Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press). He was encouraged by Francis Place to engage in journalism: his first venture was a penny newspaper, The Gorgon, published in 1818–19 on money lent by Bentham and Henry Bickersteth (later Baron Langdale). Wade’s articles are reputed to be well informed and detailed, so that The Gorgon’s influence surpassed its limited circulation. It attempted to find a junction point between, on the one hand, radical reformers and trade unionists, to which group Wade belonged, and, on the other hand, moderate reformers, with particular reference to the possible use of utilitarian doctrines to improve the condition of the labouring classes.


Bentham, J. Capital–labour relations Cobweb theorem Place, F. Speculation Technological progress Utilitarianism Wade, J. 

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  1. Besomi, D. 2008. John Wade’s early endogenous dynamic model: ‘Commercial cycle’ and theories of crises. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 15(4): 611–639.Google Scholar
  2. Edmund, J.C., and R. Frow. 1994. John Wade and the black book. Labour History Review 59(2): 55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harling, P. 2004. Wade, John (1788–1875). In Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. von Bergmann, E. 1895. Die Wirtschaftskrisen: Geschichte der nationalökonomischen Krisentheorien. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer.Google Scholar
  5. Zegger, R.E. 1979. Wade, John. In Biographical dictionary of Modern British radicals, vol. 1, ed. J.O. Baylen and N.J. Gossman. Hassocks: Harvester Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Besomi
    • 1
  1. 1.