Front Page Titles (by Subject) Ricardo and the Dual Development - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3
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Ricardo and the “Dual Development” - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Ricardo and the “Dual Development”
“The Reception of Ricardian Economics.” Oxford Economic Papers 29 (July 1977): 221–257.
Many historians of economic thought have argued that the economics of Ricardo was moribund by the 1830s. As a result, economics after this time developed in a dual fashion, split between the Ricardians and their opponents. Both of these contentions exaggerate the extent to which the dissenters rejected Ricardo.
The basic proposition of Ricardo's economics is the inverse relationship between profits and wages (more profits would mean less wages, and vice versa). The wage-rate is taken to be determined from outside the price-system and is measured in terms of a commodity standard of allegedly constant value, such as gold. Increases in wages, according to this view, cannot be inflationary but react only on the rate of profits. Opponents of this approach argue that to consider the wage-rate as determined outside the system is arbitrarily to reduce the number of variables for analysis.
Ricardo's contemporaries, however, did not advance criticisms of this sort against the doctrine. On the contrary, even alleged dissenters against Ricardo's system such as Mountstuart Longfield, Thomas Malthus, and Samuel Bailey all accepted the basic Ricardian doctrine of an inverse wage-profit ratio.
Furthermore, the Ricardian school was much stronger than often pictured. Recent suggestions that J.R. McCulloch was not a full-fledged Ricardian but was more in the tradition of Adam Smith must be rejected. Similarly, Thomas DeQuincey remained a loyal expositor of his mentor, Ricardo.
The members of the supposed dissenting school of anti-Ricardians did not form a united front but often criticized one another much more than they questioned Ricardo. For example, Malthus strongly dissented from many of the propositions of Samuel Bailey. Furthermore, many of their doctrines were consistent with Ricardianism. This is especially the case as regards the long-run determination of wages by supply and demand.
Those who postulate a dual development of nineteenth-century British economics inaccurately place John Stuart Mill in the non-Ricardian camp. Mill regarded himself as someone continuing to develop the insights of Ricardo; to a large extent this could be said of almost all nineteenth-century British economists prior to Mill.