Principles of Political Economy

0.00 Avg rating0 Votes
Genres: Banned Books
Language: English
Type: Digital

Principles of Political Economy is a foundational work in classical liberal economic theory by John Stuart Mill, published in 1848. It was a critical response to the works of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, and it sought to address the challenges of industrialization and social unrest in the 19th century.

Key Themes

  • Individualism: Mill argued for a laissez-faire approach to economics, believing that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests without government interference. He believed that this would lead to economic growth and prosperity.

  • Utilitarianism: Mill applied his utilitarian moral philosophy to economics, arguing that the goal of economics should be to maximize overall happiness. He believed that free markets would best achieve this goal.

  • Social Reform: While advocating for a free-market economy, Mill also recognized the need for social reform to address the negative consequences of industrialization. He supported measures such as education, public health, and trade unions.

Key Concepts

  • The Law of Diminishing Returns: Mill argued that as more of a particular factor of production is used, the marginal productivity of that factor will eventually decline. This led him to advocate for a balanced approach to economic growth, with a focus on both production and consumption.

  • The Principle of Effective Demand: Mill was one of the first economists to recognize the importance of demand in driving economic growth. He argued that if there is not enough demand for goods and services, businesses will have difficulty selling their products and will be less likely to invest in new production.

  • The Trade-Off Between Equality and Efficiency: Mill recognized that there is a trade-off between equality and efficiency. He argued that while some redistribution of wealth may be necessary to achieve greater equality, it is important to be mindful of the potential negative effects on economic growth.


Principles of Political Economy was a highly influential work in the development of economic thought. It helped to shape the classical liberal perspective on economics and laid the foundation for modern welfare economics.


Mill's work has been criticized for its reliance on utilitarianism and its failure to address the distributional consequences of capitalism. Critics have argued that his emphasis on individual liberty has led to the neglect of social justice and the exploitation of workers.


Principles of Political Economy remains an important work in economic thought, and Mill's ideas continue to be debated by economists today. His work provides a valuable perspective on the relationship between individual liberty, economic growth, and social justice.


Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.