Famous 18th Century Economists

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 1 
Adam Smith
(Economist)
Adam Smith
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Birthdate: June 5, 1723
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
Died: July 17, 1790

Widely considered The Father of Economics, Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist. A pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith played a major role during the Scottish Enlightenment. His book The Wealth of Nations is regarded as the first modern work of economics and a forerunner of today's academic discipline of economics.

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Thomas Robert Malthus
(Political Economist)
Thomas Robert Malthus
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Birthdate: February 13, 1766
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: December 23, 1834

Thomas Robert Malthus was an English economist and demographer, who viewed poverty as man’s unavoidable destiny. Author of An Essay on the Principle of Population; he believed that increase in national food production results in feeling of well-being, leading to population growth, which in turn results in poverty. Commonly referred as Malthusianism, it made immediate impact on British social policy.

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David Hume
(Best Known for His Highly Influential System of Philosophical Empiricism, Scepticism and Naturalism)
David Hume
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Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1776

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.

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 4 
Cesare Beccaria
(One of the Greatest Thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment Known for His Treatise 'On Crimes and Punishments')
Cesare Beccaria
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Birthdate: March 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: November 28, 1794

Cesare Beccaria was an 18th-century Italian criminologist, philosopher, jurist, and politician. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is still remembered for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a pioneering work in the field of penology. He is considered the father of modern criminal law. 

 5 
David Ricardo
(Economist)
David Ricardo
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Birthdate: April 18, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: September 11, 1823
One of the greatest classical economists ever, David Ricardo had started working with his stockbroker father at age 14. His laissez-faire policies revolutionized 19th-century economics and its various concepts, such as the distribution theory and the wage theory. He had also been an MP from Portarlington.
 6 
James Mayer de Rothschild
(Banker, Art collector, Economist, Businessperson)
James Mayer de Rothschild
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Birthdate: May 15, 1792
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: November 15, 1868

German-French banker and the youngest child of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, James Mayer de Rothschild. He took over the reins of his family banking firm after the death of his brother Nathan and headed the French Rothschild banking family. The Légion d'honneur winner later also invested in a vineyard.

 7 
Jean-Baptiste Say
(French Economist and Businessman Best Known for 'Say’s Law' Which He Popularized)
Jean-Baptiste Say
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Birthdate: January 5, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: November 15, 1832

French economist Jean-Baptiste Say supported free trade and competition. Scholars of economics know him for his law of markets, which states that supply creates its own demand. He had experimented with many jobs, from being a journalist to owning a cotton mill, and eventually became an economics professor.

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 8 
James Mill
(Historian)
James Mill
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Birthdate: April 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Angus, Scotland
Died: June 23, 1836

James Mill was a Scottish economist, historian, philosopher, and political theorist. Mill is credited with co-founding the Ricardian school of economics. He is also credited with writing The History of British India, which classifies Indian history into three parts: British, Muslim, and Hindu. The classification has played an influential role in the field of Indian historical studies.

 9 
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours
(French-American Writer, Economist, Publisher and Government Official)
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours
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Birthdate: December 14, 1739
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 7, 1817

Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours was a French-American writer and economist. An ambitious man, he served as French inspector general of commerce under Louis XVI. He moved to America during the French Revolution and was later elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. His son Éleuthère Irénée du Pont founded E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. 

 10 
Friedrich List
(Economist, University teacher, Journalist)
Friedrich List
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Birthdate: August 6, 1789
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reutlingen
Died: November 30, 1846

German-American economist Friedrich List is remembered as one of the pioneers of the historical school of economics. He supported tariffs on imported goods to help the domestic market. He is also known for his pamphlet Outlines of American Political Economy and his book The National System of Political Economy.

 11 
François Quesnay
(Former economist known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table) in 1758)
François Quesnay
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Birthdate: June 4, 1694
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Méré, France
Died: December 16, 1774

François Quesnay was a French economist and physician. He was a proponent of the Physiocratic school. He is best known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table), in which he set forth the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. He also wrote extensively on Chinese politics and society. He was married to a woman named Marianne Woodsen. 

 12 
Manuel Belgrano
(Lawyer, Journalist, Economist, Politician, Soldier, Jurist)
Manuel Belgrano
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Birthdate: June 3, 1770
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires
Died: June 20, 1820

Manuel Belgrano was an Argentine lawyer, politician, economist, journalist, and military leader. Widely regarded as one of the most important Libertadores of Argentina, Belgrano played a prominent role in the Argentine Wars of Independence and is credited with creating the Flag of Argentina. Manuel Belgrano is regarded as one of the greatest heroes in the history of Argentina.

Johann Heinrich von Thünen
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Birthdate: June 24, 1783
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wangerland, Germany
Died: September 22, 1850

Johann Heinrich von Thünen was a German economist best remembered for his two-volume treatise The Isolated State. An influential and important 19th-century economist, Thünen is also credited with popularizing Location theory, which has become an important part of regional science, economic geography, and spatial economics.

 14 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)
William Whewell
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Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 15 
Henri de Saint-Simon
(French Political, Economic and Socialist Theorist and and One of the Chief Founders of Christian Socialism)
Henri de Saint-Simon
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Birthdate: October 17, 1760
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 19, 1825

Henri de Saint-Simon was a French political, economic, and socialist theorist and businessman. His ideology was the inspiration behind the political and economic movement known as Saint-Simonianism. He left a major influence in the fields of politics, economics, sociology, and philosophy of science. His ideas also inspired and influenced the concept of utopian socialism.  

 16 
William Playfair
(Economist, Mathematician, Engineer, Statistician)
William Playfair
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Birthdate: September 22, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: February 11, 1823

Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair is best-remembered as the inventor of statistical graphs and secret agent for Great Britain during its war with France. He published the first data graphs in his book The Commercial and Political Atlas. He used line, area and bar charts to represent the economy of 18th Century England and introduced the pie chart.

 17 
Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune
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Birthdate: May 10, 1727
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 18, 1781

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot was a chief economist of 18th-century France. One of the pioneers of economic liberalism, he was previously clubbed with the economists of the Physiocratic school. Many of Adam Smith’s ideas in the pathbreaking book Wealth of Nations were hugely inspired by Turgot’s.

 18 
Francis Hutcheson
(Philosopher, Economist)
Francis Hutcheson
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Birthdate: August 8, 1694
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saintfield, County Down, Ulster, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1747
 19 
Bernard Mandeville
(Dutch Philosopher, Political Economist and Satirist)
Bernard Mandeville
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Birthdate: November 15, 1670
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: January 21, 1733

Anglo-Dutch social philosopher Bernard Mandeville is best remembered for his satirical work The Fable of the Bees. A qualified physician just like his father, he later settled in London, where he gained fame with his writings. He believed that even the most negative actions are capable of producing positive outcomes.

Charles Alexandre de Calonne
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Birthdate: January 20, 1734
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Douai, France
Died: October 29, 1802

Born to a magistrate, Charles Alexandre de Calonne initially followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer and gradually rose to be the controller-general of finance when the French government was sinking in debt. His suggestion of taxing the rich was rejected, paving the path for the French Revolution.

Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi
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Birthdate: May 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: June 25, 1842
 22 
Ninomiya Sontoku
(Philosopher)
Ninomiya Sontoku
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Birthdate: September 4, 1787
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ashigarakami District, Kanagawa, Japan
Died: November 17, 1856
 23 
İbrahim Müteferrika
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Birthdate: 1674 AD
Birthplace: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Died: 1745 AD
 24 
James Steuart
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Birthdate: October 21, 1712
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 26, 1780

Credited with writing the first methodically written text on economics in English, James Steuart belonged to a noble family. His renowned work, An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, was the first in English and the first by a Scottish economist to have “political economy” as part of its title.

 25 
Arthur Young
(English writer)
Arthur Young
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Birthdate: September 11, 1741
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 12, 1820

English agriculturist Arthur Young was a prolific English writer, particularly on agriculture. He earned repute for views he expressed as an agricultural improver, social observer and political economist. Young was a prominent opponent of British reformers. Some of his notable books are Annals of Agriculture, Tour in Ireland and Travels in France. The latter includes descriptions of the French Revolution.    

 26 
Henry Charles Carey
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Birthdate: December 15, 1793
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 13, 1879
 27 
Nassau William Senior
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Birthdate: September 26, 1790
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Compton Beauchamp, England
Died: June 4, 1864

Born to a vicar, Nassau William Senior received elite education at Eton and Oxford. A qualified lawyer, he later deviated to economics. He later became Oxford’s first Drummond professor of political economy. As a Whig advisor, he formulated the New Poor Law and helped in setting up various economic policies.

Victor Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau
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Birthdate: October 5, 1715
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pertuis, France
Died: July 13, 1789

French political economist Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau belonged to the Physiocratic school. He is also remembered as the father of economist and French Revolution leader Comte de Mirabeau. He penned books such as Theory of Taxation. Going against tax farmers, he suggested direct tax collection on income and land.

 29 
Ferdinando Galiani
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Birthdate: December 2, 1728
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chieti, Italy
Died: October 30, 1787

Ferdinando Galiani had initially been trained to enter church services but later deviated to economics. He is best remembered for his work on value theory. A major figure of the Enlightenment, the economist and diplomat wrote in both Italian and French. His notable works include Della moneta.

 30 
Francis Place
(Social Reformer)
Francis Place
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Birthdate: November 3, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 1, 1854

Initially a leather breeches manufacturer, social reformer Francis Place participated in various working-class movements, before launching his tailoring shop. His socialist streak pushed him into politics, and he successfully campaigned against the Combination Acts that prohibited trade unions. He also became a Malthusian at one point.

 31 
Henry Thornton
(Economist)
Henry Thornton
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Birthdate: March 10, 1760
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1815

Born to a well-known merchant and evangelist, Henry Thornton too followed in his father’s footsteps to become part of the evangelical Clapham Sect. A monetory theorist, he later became the first to explain the difference between nominal and real interest rates. The noted economist had also been a parliamentarian.

 32 
Pietro Verri
(Economist)
Pietro Verri
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Birthdate: December 12, 1728
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: June 28, 1797

Author of numerous literary, historical, and economic works, Pietro Verri was a leader of Milanese academy and moving force behind Società dei Pugni. Also a distinguished public administrator and political economist employed with the Milanese government, he has been credited with abolition of tax farming. Some of his important works are Riflessioni sulle leggi vincolanti and Meditazioni sull’ economia politica.

 33 
Antonio Genovesi
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Birthdate: November 1, 1713
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Castiglione del Genovesi, Italy
Died: September 22, 1769

Italian philosopher, political economist, and priest Antonio Genovesi initially taught metaphysics. However, his humanistic ideas and treatises were deemed heretical, which is why his Elements of Universal Christian Theology could only be published posthumously. He was one of the first to use Italian instead of Latin in his courses.

 34 
Thomas Attwood
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Birthdate: October 6, 1783
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Halesowen, Shropshire, England
Died: March 6, 1856

British banker, economist, political-campaigner Thomas Attwood is best-remembered as a leader in the electoral reform movement. He founded the Birmingham Political Union and emerged as a prominent figure of the underconsumptionist Birmingham School and during the public campaign for Great Reform Act of 1832. After the act was passed, Attwood and Joshua Scholefield became the first two Members of Parliament for Birmingham.

 35 
John Ramsay McCulloch
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Birthdate: March 1, 1789
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Whithorn, Scotland
Died: November 11, 1864

Scottish economist and statistician John Ramsay McCulloch was one of the main promoters of the principles of British economist David Ricardo. He also wrote for The Edinburgh Review and co-established and edited The Scotsman. Once a University College, London professor, he was also known for his works on economic history.

 36 
Gregory King
(Statistician)
Gregory King
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Birthdate: December 15, 1648
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lichfield, England
Died: August 29, 1712

Born to a surveyor father, Gregory King initially assisted his father and then began working for John Ogilby as an engraver. The economic statistician not only lent his name to the Gregory King's Law but also contributed to most of the street layouts for London’s Soho.

 37 
Thomas Tooke
(Economist)
Thomas Tooke
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Birthdate: February 28, 1774
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kronshtadt, Russia
Died: February 26, 1858

British financier and economist Thomas Tooke had begun his business career at the tender age of 15. He eventually ended up being the Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation governor. Known for his support of free trade, he advocated for the gold standard initially but opposed the 1844 Bank Charter Act.

 38 
Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui
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Birthdate: November 21, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: January 28, 1854

French economist Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui is remembered for his liberalism and for his pathbreaking work History of Political Economy in Europe. He was born to a politician and began his career as an educator. He later chaired the political economy department of Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers.

 39 
Richard Whately
(Economist)
Richard Whately
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Birthdate: February 1, 1787
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cavendish Square, London, England
Died: October 8, 1863

Richard Whately was an English logician, academic, rhetorician, economist, theologian, and philosopher. His influential work Elements of Logic, which popularized the study of logic in the United States of America and in Britain, inspired several logicians including Charles Sanders Peirce, who read the book when he was 12 years old.

 40 
Joseph-Marie Terray
(Government Official)
Joseph-Marie Terray
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Birthdate: December 9, 1715
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boën-sur-Lignon, France
Died: February 18, 1778

Joseph-Marie Terray was the controller-general of finances toward the end of Louis XV’s reign. He began his career as an ecclesiastical counselor of the Parlement of Paris. His reforms, such as forced loans, were met with general opposition. He was dismissed over allegations of being associated with the Pact of Famine.

 41 
André Morellet
(Economist)
André Morellet
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Birthdate: March 7, 1727
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: January 12, 1819

André Morellet was a French economist known for his views on religious tolerance, penal reform, inoculation, and liberty of the press. He advocated for freedom of commerce and sought to bring about reforms to the French political economy. A prolific writer, he made major contributions to the Encyclopédie. He amassed a personal library of over 4,700 titles. 

Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguillebert
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Birthdate: February 17, 1646
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: October 10, 1714

Economist Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguillebert was born into a noble family of Normandy and received an elite education. He suggested several economic reforms during Louis XIV’s reign, paving the way for Physiocrats. He supported direct taxes and believed the prosperity of France depended on its agricultural capacity.

 43 
Nikolay Turgenev
(Economist)
Nikolay Turgenev
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Birthdate: October 23, 1789
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Died: November 10, 1871

Best remembered as a co-founder of the Northern Society of the Decembrist revolution, Russian economist and revolutionary Nikolay Turgenev was inspired by the French Revolution in his youth. He opposed serfdom and penned various books such as Experience of the Theory of Taxation and Russia and the Russians.

Egor Frantsevich, Count Kankrin
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Birthdate: December 7, 1774
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Died: October 3, 1845
 45 
Jean Orry
(Economist)
Jean Orry
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Birthdate: September 4, 1652
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1719

Jean Orry was a French economist. He studied law as a young man and served as a munitioneer for the army of Italy for many years. Later on, he became an adviser to Louis XIV of France. He was sent to Spain where he created secretaries of state and intendants in Spanish governmental administration. 

Buenaventura Carles Aribau
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Birthdate: November 4, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 27, 1862
Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Economists, including Adam Smith, Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo, Auguste Comte and Charles Fourier.