By John E. King (auth.)
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99) Hutchison was fiercely anti-Marxist, but very similar complaints have been made, from the opposite end of the political spectrum, by Ben Fine and Dmitris Milonakis (2009, p. 51). Several of Ricardo’s editors felt obliged to defend him from these charges. K. Gonner’s verdict, written at the end of the nineteenth century: Like many others, I had learned to look upon him as doctrinaire, cold, and if anything a trifle illiberal and inelastic in thought … But now I see how I misjudged him, how others have misjudged him, by confusing the scientific formulas which he developed with the man himself.
It was a system of ‘parasitism on the backs of the lower orders who bore the burden of a system of indirect taxation which was increasingly regressive in its effects’ (Rule 1992a, p. Thompson 1998, ch. 2; Mokyr 2010, p. 72). In this way those who controlled the state offered financial benefits from both revenue and expenditure, and were able to impose costs on those who did not: ‘Access to the spoils of office and to the terms of government bonds and privileged exemption from taxation were the most important reasons for political activity’ (Mann 1993, p.
As Mokyr concludes: It is easy to mistake the divisions between radicals, Whigs, liberal Tories, and ‘high’ Tories as a lack of consensus. On the main issues, however, there was agreement, or at least an agreement on how disagreements should be decided. Governments should rule frugally and responsibly, getting rid of privileges and patronage, at least in part to disarm their increasingly vocal radical critics … Liberal Tories such as Huskisson and Peel believed that rent-seeking was the main enemy of progressive society.