INTRODUCTION The long ninety-year life span of Edwin Chadwick (1800–1890) covers the most seminal and fruitful period in the development of modern economics. It encompasses what has become known as the ‘classical period,’ the marginal revolution, and the beginning of neoclassical economics in both English and Continental incarnations. To place things in time, consider the following: Chadwick entered an attorney’s office to study law the year David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation was published (1817 ), was still an attorney’s clerk when Malthus’ Principles of Political Economy (1820 ) went into print, and engaged in close personal contact with such economic luminaries as Nassau Senior, John Stuart Mill and J.E. Cairnes. Furthermore, the Francophile Chadwick was as aware of the French ‘neoclassical’ writers on political economy as he was of the English ‘pioneers’ in marginalism such as Jenkin and Jevons.1 Chadwick was also fully cognizant of the romantic and historical criticisms of English political economy and the nascent mathematization of economics. He lived long enough to see the publication (and promulgation) of Walrasian economics, dying only in the year when Alfred Marshall published his monumental Principles of Economics (1890). Yet, while not totally unaffected, the thrust of Chadwick’s economic analysis and the source of his modernity were different from all of these developments. The purpose of this chapter is to explain, at least in brief, why and, to a degree, how this was so. The ultimate source of Chadwick’s uniqueness (and modernity) were his roots in...
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