Libertarian Extraordinaire, Part 4

Smith continues his discussion of Thomas Hodgskin by exploring some of the key arguments in his neglected book on economics, Popular Political Economy. In my last essay, I discussed some general features of Thomas Hodgskin’s Popular Political Economy (1827). I will now explore this book in more detail. Despite some theoretical shortcomings, Popular Political Economy contains a number of insightful discussions, […]

Libertarian Extraordinaire, Part 3

Smith begins his discussion of the free-market theories of Thomas Hodgskin. In 1823, Thomas Hodgskin co-founded, with his friend Joseph C. Robertson, the Mechanics’ Magazine. At that time “mechanic” referred to skilled artisans with a specialized trade, rather than to manual laborers in general, so the Mechanics’ Magazine featured articles on the latest developments in science and technology […]

Libertarian Extraordinaire, Part 2

Smith discusses Thomas Hodgskin’s most controversial work, Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed Thomas Hodgskin’s advocacy of radical individualism and laissez-faire. Hodgskin’s libertarian views were so extreme that he has frequently and understandably been called an “anarchist,” though he expressly repudiated the label. If you consult standard histories of economic […]

Libertarian Extraordinaire, Part 1

George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith’s fourth book, The System of Liberty, was recently published by Cambridge University Press. Smith begins his series on Thomas Hodgskin, one of the most remarkable, if […]