Compare and Contrast Essay: Smith, Malthus, Marx, and Friedman

Topics: Capitalism, Marxism, Political economy Pages: 3 (976 words) Published: June 8, 2013
All seven economists that were can be compared and contrasted extensively. However, for this essay, Adam Smith, Thomas Robert Malthus, Karl Marx, and Milton Friedman will be compared and contrasted with each other. They all have similarities and differences among their theories and beliefs, but this essay will only discuss a few of them. Smith, considered the father of economics, was a firm believer in a laissez fair method of monitoring the economy. He wanted to leave things alone and work out on their own, rather than have the government step in and control things. Malthus was a pessimistic economist influenced by the economic conditions of the industrial revolution. One of his theories stated that people grow geometrically, while food can only be produced arithmetically. Marx was the father of communism, and believed that history was a constant clash and resolution of opposite ideas. He also developed the labour theory of value that states that the exchange value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of socially necessary value in it. Finally, Friedman was a firm believer in capitalism and a free market. He also thought that government interference was bad and developed the natural rate of unemployment.

To begin, Smith and Malthus had two very different theories about the effects of labour on the economy. Firstly, Smith saw an increase in the population, therefore the labour force, as a positive thing. He believed that when there is an increase in the labour force, workers would be competing with one another to find jobs, and the industrialists would be able to continue making healthy profits. Malthus, on the other hand, saw increasing population in a negative way. He said that if the standard of living for people was increased, then there would be a decrease in mortality and increase in population. This increase in population would have a negative impact on the economy, in Malthus’s opinion, because there wouldn’t be enough food to sustain the...
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