Philip Wicksteed 101: The Famous Economist
Zatrun Published at April 06, 2024

Philip Wicksteed 101: Who is the Famous Economist? in our article of, we will cover in detail everything you need to know about Philip Wicksteed, the famous economist that our readers are curious about.

His Life:

Marches October 25, 1844 – March 18, 1927), Philip Henry Wicksteed, known for his contributions as an economist, had a wide range of interests and expertise, including Georgist, Unitarian theology, classical studies, medieval history, and literary criticism.

Philip Henry Wicksteed (1810-1885), born to Charles Wicksteed (1814-1902) and his wife Jane, was named after his distant ancestor, the Non-Conformist minister and diarist Philip Henry (1631-1696). His father was a clergyman in the same English Dissenting tradition, and in 1835 Wicksteed took up the ministry of Mill Hill Chapel, a Unitarian place of worship in the city center, and two years later married Jane. in 1841, her sister Elizabeth married Jane’s brother Arthur (1819-1867), who was also a Unitarian minister. According to a family history, Uncle Arthur was a tragic advocate of the universal suffrage movement, also known as the “Achilles Leeds Full Voting Rights Association”.

Philip Wicksteed was one of nine children, including (Joseph) Hartley, who became President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Charles, who was also an engineer. One of her nieces was Mary Cicely Wicksteed, who married the prominent Australian surgeon Sir Hibbert Alan Stephen Newton (1887-1949). Janet Lewis, formerly known as Mrs Sinclair Lewis, included in her memoirs a vivid account of the Wicksteed family, including both of Philip’s parents.

Philip Wicksteed married Emily Solly, the daughter of Henry Solly, a Unitarian minister and social reformer. The University College London library stores correspondence between Emily and Maria Sharpe Pearson, the wife of Karl Pearson.Dec. Wicksteed was a staunch opponent of vivisection and became a partner of Frances Power Cobbe to support the anti-vivisection movement.

Educational Life:

Philip Wicksteed received his education at Manchester New College, a theological school for non-conformist ministers, and at University College London. in 1867, he received a master’s degree in classics with a gold medal. After the death of his father in the same year, Philip Wicksteed entered the Unitarian ministry and embarked on a fairly wide range of scientific and theological discoveries. His theological and ethical writings continued long after he left the pulpit (in 1897) and apparently served as a starting point for many other areas of scientific research.

These included his interest in Dante, which not only resulted in a remarkable list of publications, but also helped Wicksteed gain a reputation as one of the leading medievalists of his time. Philip Wicksteed’s interest in modern social ethics, inspired by his reading of Henry George’s 1879 book Progress and Poverty, seems to have led him to his economic studies. Perhaps the field of economics was for him just one of the many scientific interests to which he devoted his years before turning to economics. Due to these circumstances, he entered this field only in the middle of the fourth decade of his life. This led Joseph Schumpeter to note that Wicksteed “stands somewhat outside the economics profession”.

However, in a few years Wicksteed will publish his own important economic work, carefully explaining the theory he learned from William Stanley Jevons. in 1894, Wicksteed published his famous work An Essay on the Coordination of Distribution Laws, in which he tried to prove mathematically that a distribution system that rewarded factory owners according to marginal productivity would consume the total output produced. However, his most comprehensive presentation of his economic system was in The Common Sense of Political Economy, published in 1910. Lionel Robbins’ 1932 essay “An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science” took many of Wicksteed’s ideas and developed them.

Selected Works:

Philip Wicksteed’s prominent works include “Memorials of the Rev. Charles Wicksteed” (1886), his 1889 works archived at the Wayback Machine site “Mr. Decker”. Winksteed on Vivisection” and Vivisection: An Address.

“Decipherments between Genesis and Philosophy” (1920). These works cover a range of topics, from a tribute to his father to his thoughts on economics, vivisection and philosophy. “The Common Sense of Political Economy” is particularly notable as one of Wicksteed’s most influential works and has been praised for its clear and concise explanation of economic principles.

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