Charles Hall (economist)

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Charles Hall
Born 1740
Dee'd 1825
Naitionality Inglis
Occupation Pheesician
Kent for Creetic o capitalism an early socialist

Charles Hall (1740–1825) was a Breetish pheesician, social critic an Ricardian socialist who published The Effects of Civilization on the People in European States in 1805, condemnin caipitalism for its inability tae provide for the poor. In the beuk, Hall argued that inequalities in walth an the production o luxuries led tae the exploitation o the poor, an their sufferin. Hall famously claimed that the exploitation o the poor wis so severe that they "retained anerlie the product o ane oor's wirk oot o aicht".[1]

As a remedy for the problems in society, Hall proposed land reform an progressive taxation. His views an economic theory, pairticularly his views on severe exploitation o the poor, wur important tae the development o Marxism, an hae led mony tae consider him ane o the earliest socialists.

Biography[eedit | eedit soorce]

Hall wis born in Ingland aroond 1740, an studiet medicine at the University o Leiden in the Netherlands.[1] Efter completin his medical studies, Hall practiced in the Wast Kintra o Ingland, whaur he acquired "intimate knowledge o the livin conditions o the poor".[2] Hall read the theories o a number of influential classical economists, includin Malthus, David Ricardo an Adam Smith. While he disagreed wi mony o the ideas o classical economics, it shapit his thinkin.[3] Hall's thinkin wis an aw shapit bi his friendship wi the land-naitionalization advocate Thomas Spence, wi whom he correspondit regularly.

Hall muivit aroond throughoot his career, but probably spent maist of his life in Tavistock, Devon, practicin medicine. In 1785, he published The Family Medical Instructor, a medical reference beuk. Thereefter, his publications wur primarily economic in natur. In 1805, he published his principal wirk, The Effects of Civilization, follaed bi Observations on the Principal Conclusion in Mr. Malthus's Essay on Population in 1813. In 1816, Hall wis arrestit for failur tae pay a debt o £157, an he spent the next nine years in the Fleet Prison, afore being released on 12 Juin 1825. While the exact date o his daith is uncertain, it is believit that he dee'd shortly thereefter.[4]

The Effects of Civilization[eedit | eedit soorce]

Efter witnessin heich fuid prices an fuid shortages in Ingland frae 1795–1801, Hall began tae write The Effects of Civilization on the People in European States which set fort his economic theories. Hall argued that the ruit cause o fuid shortage, wis that too few fowk wirkit in agricultur, while too many were employed in trade and manufacturing. Frae this argument, Hall proceedit tae his definition o walth, arguin that "wealth consists no in things but in pouer ower the labour o ithers".[5]

The cause o shortages[eedit | eedit soorce]

Frae his definition o walth, Hall argued that the problem in ceevilized societies came frae the ability o the walthy, through their control o the labor o ithers, tae determine wha is producit. Acause the walthy quickly provide for their awn necessities, they spend their surplus on luxuries, which "mak it possible for a rich man tae consume an destroy infinitely mair o the produce o ither men's labours than he wad be able tae dae if anerlie fuidstuffs an basic necessities wur available".[6] Acause the rich exploit the poor tae produce their luxuries, Hall argued that "the walth o the rich an the misery o the poor increase in strict proportion".[7] Thus, the risin pouer o the rich is the cause o the sufferin o the poor.

Statistics[eedit | eedit soorce]

In addition tae developin a theoretical model in The Effects of Civilization, Hall attemptit tae uise scientific methods an govrenment statistics tae provide evidence for his view. Accordin tae his estimates, the top 20% o society, the rich, consumit 7/8 o wha wis producit bi the poor, leavin the poor wi anerlie ane aicht o what they haed producit. Later scholars, however, have calculatit that the inequalities describit bi Hall were no quite so severe.[8]

Remedies[eedit | eedit soorce]

Efter describin the challenges facin society, Hall proposed several remedies. Hall wis a strang proponent o progressive taxation tae even oot the inequalities o society. He an aw argued that if marriages atween twa fowk who awned land wur prohibitit, then walth wad gradually spread mair evenly throughoot society. Maist importantly, on the basis o his argument that luxuries caused the sufferin o the poor, Hall argued that luxury guids "shoud be prohibitit, or subject tae punitive taxation".[9] Hall believit that his remedies wur "readily practicable", an wad impruive the station o the poor, but wur unlikely tae solve the problems o society completely.[10]

Legacy[eedit | eedit soorce]

Hall is widely regarded as a key tae the development o Marxist thought, an Karl Marx referred tae him as "a true phenomenon in the history o economic thought". Hall wis an aw an important precursor tae Henry George, an ane o the first modren land reformers.[11]

Mony scholars an aw identifee Hall as ane o "first o the early socialists", an ane o the first thinkers tae recognize the importance o surplus value an rents tae societal inequality.[12]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Blaug, Mark (1986). Who's Who in Economics: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Economists 1700-1986. The MIT Press. p. 358. ISBN 0-262-02256-7. 
  2. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  3. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  4. Dinwiddy, John (1992). Radicalism and Reform in Britain, 1780-1850. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 88–9. 
  5. Howard, Perkin (2002). The Origins of Modern English Society. Routledge. p. 233. ISBN 0-415-29890-3. 
  6. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 147. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  7. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  8. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  9. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  10. Stafford, William (1987). Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia. Cambridge University Press. p. 151. ISBN 0-521-33989-8. 
  11. Oppenheimer, Franz (October 1941). "Charles Hall: An early land reformer". The Freeman. Retrieved 17 February 2009. 
  12. Dinwiddy, John (1992). Radicalism and Reform in Britain, 1780-1850. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 87. 

Further readin[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Charles Hall, Effects of Civilization on the People in European States, with Observations on the Principal Conclusions in Mr Malthus's Essay on Population, Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1994 ISBN 0-415-10503-X