He acquired his B. From to , Cairnes was a professor of political economy University College London. He retired in , due to ill-health. An ardent disciple and friend of John Stuart Mill , Cairnes is often regarded as "the last of the Classical economists". It was upon his shoulders that fell the responsibility of defending the Classical Ricardian doctrine in its waning years of -- against Thornton , against Ruskin , against his own disciple Cliffe-Leslie and, finally, against Jevons and the Marginalist Revolution.

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Cairnes was educated at Trinity College , Dublin , where he later became professor of political economy — In his first book, The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy , Cairnes emphasized the abstract deductive nature of classical political economy, arguing that, in light of political policies and principles, the classical approach could be seen as scientific and neutral.

His research into the effects of the discoveries of gold in Australia and California revived support for the quantity theory of money. His book The Slave Power criticized slavery by outlining its inefficiencies as a system of labour. Because it was published at the time of the American Civil War —65 , the book influenced British opinion in support of the North. Cairnes is also remembered for his concept of noncompeting groups, particularly in the labour market, which foreshadowed the more systematic modern treatment of imperfect competitive and quasi-monopolistic conditions.

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John Elliott Cairnes (1823-1875)

In , William Cairnes started on his own account in Drogheda , making the Drogheda Brewery an unqualified success. He was remembered for his great business capacity and for the deep interest he took in charity. After leaving school, John Cairnes spent some years in the counting-house of his father at Drogheda. His tastes, however, lay altogether in the direction of study, and he was permitted to enter Trinity College Dublin , where he took the degree of BA in , and six years later that of M. After passing through the curriculum of Arts, he engaged in the study of Law, and was called to the Irish bar. But he felt no very strong inclination for the legal profession, and during some years he occupied himself to a large extent with contributions to the daily press, treating of the social and economical questions that affected Ireland. He devoted most attention to political economy , which he studied with great thoroughness and care.


John Elliot Cairnes


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John Elliott Cairnes


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