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Title: The economic ideas of Daniel Defoe
Author: Illingworth, Edgar
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 1974
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Although his opponents regularly branded him as an unprincipled hireling who spun out his words in order to earn the largest possible income from his pen, it is suggested that there is an underlying consistency in his extensive writings on English trade and that his strenuous advocacy of certain causes such as the Union with Scotland reflects the strength of these convictions. In order to examine this question and to make a full appraisal of this ideas, these have been studied in the fourteen broad divisions into which they seemed to fall and the development of his economic thinking has been traced from his first pronouncements in the 'Review' or in his earliest pamphlets to his more general statements during the last decade of his career. While it is recognized that his opinions were rarely original, it is maintained that because he was such a unique example of the common man he is an invaluable yardstick of conservative economic views amongst that lower middle class audience of tradesmen and shopkeepers to which he largely appealed. Frequent comparison has been made with other phamphleteers of the pre-industrial age such as Cary, Child, Davenant and Wood in order to show this general climate of opinion but this also reveals those directions in which Defoe anticipated future thinking in his support for high wages, the extension of banking and other credit facilities and the development of new markets by colonization and by raising the general level of demand amongst the mass of the population. Despite the apparent harshness of his criticisms of the able-bodied poor, he was even more forward-looking in his attaches on certain social evils of his day. It is not claimed that he made a significant contribution to the development of economic thought but that his chief importance was in the range and vigour of a born journalist's continuous comment on economic affairs during the first thirty years of the eighteenth century.
Supervisor: Woods, John A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available