Sismondi, Jean Charles Leonard Simonde de (1773–1842)

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

A Swiss historian and economist, who after a period in exile in England began lecturing at Geneva Academy in 1809 on history and economics. His economic works include Richesse Commerciale (1803), Nouveaux Principes d ‘economie politique (1819) and Etudes sur I ‘economie politique (1837). Sismondi argued against the doctrine of Laissez-Faire in favour of state intervention. He recommended unemployment and sickness benefits, and pension schemes for workers. With T. R. Malthus, he attacked D. Ricardo for not recognizing the possibility of economic crisis developing from underconsumption. He tried to emphasize the dynarnic nature of the economic process, compared with the comparative statics of Ricardo, and was the first to use sequence analysis as an analytical device. Increased output in one period, he argued, is faced with a leve! of income generated by a lower level of output in the previous period. Total dernand falls short of the available supply. Lags in the econornic system, therefore, could give rise to underconsumption.

Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.

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