The Poverty in Smith and Ricardo

20 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2003

See all articles by Edgar Pardo

Edgar Pardo

The New School - Department of Economics; Universidad Externado de Colombia


This paper provides a comparison between Adam Smith and David Ricardo's treatments of poverty in a capitalist society. The comparison focus on the different arguments they use to relate poverty to inequality and institutional realities. The discussion points out the life experiences of each author and their intellectual interests, taking into account that poverty was one of the most pressing social problems faced by England between the 18th and 19th century. Smith associates poverty with the stability of social order; while Ricardo postulates that poverty is a function of the distributive struggle and the forces of population growth.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.

Keywords: Poverty, history of economic thought, Smith, Ricardo, economic theory

JEL Classification: B12, B31

Suggested Citation

Pardo, Edgar, The Poverty in Smith and Ricardo. Available at SSRN: or

Edgar Pardo (Contact Author)

The New School - Department of Economics ( email )

65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
United States

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Calle 12 # 1-17 Este
Bogota D.C

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