What Is a Classical Economics?

What Is a Classical Economics?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Classical economics is a school of economic thought that originated in the 18th century with the works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus among others. Major pillars of this school are that free markets can regulate themselves when left alone, economies have inherent self-regulating ability and they are best functioning when governmental influence is minimal.

Classical economists also believed in the labor theory of value which advocates that the value of a product depends upon the labor used in its production. Notable also is their belief in economic growth through the accumulation of capital and increasing workforce productivity. Although classical economics makes some key assumptions that might not fully apply to modern economies, pivotal principles of it still form the basis of many contemporary economic theories.

Related Questions

1. Who were key contributors to classical economics?

Key contributors to classical economics include Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus and John Stuart Mill. They are credited with introducing and refining the theories that form foundations of modern economics.

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2. What is the difference between classical and neoclassical economics?

While classical economics leans towards free market scenarios and believes that the economy can self-regulate, neoclassical economics incorporates a theory of value and distribution. Moreover, neoclassical economics utilizes mathematical equations to analyze different aspects of the economy.

3. What is the labor theory of value in classical economics?

The labor theory of value in classical economics proposes that the value of a good or service is directly connected to the labor required for its production. In other words, the value is determined by the total amount of socially necessary labor time invested in its production process.

4. How does classical economics influence modern economics?

Classical economics has greatly influenced modern economics. It forms the foundation of many key economic principles and theories including the supply-demand model, the concept of economic growth, and theories related to economic freedom and free competition.

5. What is the primary criticism of classical economics?

The primary criticism of classical economics is that it assumes economic markets are inherently stable and that market forces can correct disruptions or downturns. However, many believe that government intervention is necessary to manage and stabilize economies, as markets can sometimes fail to correct themselves.