Epilogue: From Petty to Marx

Ted McCormick

in William Petty

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547890
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720529 | DOI:
Epilogue: From Petty to Marx

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This brief epilogue considers perhaps the most important episode in Petty's posthumous subsumption into the disciplinary history of economics, which remains the chief basis of his fame today: his resurrection as the ‘founder’ of classical political economy at the hands of Karl Marx. Looking both at Marx's treatment of Petty in print and at his correspondence with Friedrich Engels and others, it notes striking parallels and ironic dissonances between Marx's and Petty's comments on Anglo‐–Irish relations — a pressing matter in the late nineteenth century, as two centuries before. It argues that Marx's attention to the historical contingency of Petty's work paradoxically initiated a tradition of reading Petty for his ‘contributions' to classical economic theory, a tradition that has continued to the present day.

Keywords: William Petty; Karl Marx; political economy; history of economics; Ireland; Britain

Chapter.  3090 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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