By John E. King (auth.)
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Hutchison 1993, p. 3; original stress; cf. Hutchison 1998) Thus the ‘legacy of the Mill-Ricardo methodological revolution was one of insufficiently controlled abstraction and over-simplification on the one hand, and of over-confident pretensions on the other hand. Traces 40 David Ricardo of this legacy were still discernible in economics a century and a half after Ricardo’s death’ (Hutchison 1994a, p. 76). S. Sayers suggests that: The really fascinating play of Ricardo’s mind is to be seen rather in those passages where he is turning his torchlight on a group of specific facts, especially statistical facts.
96). Much of this carried over into Ricardo’s mature political economy, above all into his Principles. 2 Arnold Heertje suggests that this may have reflected both his Jewish heritage and his business experience: In order to judge Ricardo as a deductive economist, one cannot circumvent the study of the Talmud according to an age-long tradition. On the one hand, he learned to think within a dogmatic system of strong rules and, on the other hand, at the same time he developed a talent for thinking independently.
Several of Ricardo’s editors felt obliged to defend him from these charges. K. Gonner’s verdict, written at the end of the nineteenth century: Like many others, I had learned to look upon him as doctrinaire, cold, and if anything a trifle illiberal and inelastic in thought … But now I see how I misjudged him, how others have misjudged him, by confusing the scientific formulas which he developed with the man himself. He was abstract, not doctrinaire; precise, not dogmatic; and always ready to discuss, and, if need be, to remodel his opinions.