Adam Smith's Ideas of Liberalism
Malthus suggested that if employers paid their workers higher salaries, the workers who were better off would marry earlier and have more children. This would mean more workers in the marketplace, which would drive wages down. malthus thus blamed the workers for their own poverty. A third important economist of the time was David Ricardo, who in his Principles of Political Economy stated that capitalists had to depress wages in order to remain competitive. Underlying the views of all these economists was the idea that the economy is driven by laws and that state intervention would circumvent those laws and cause the situation to deteriorate (Noble, Strauss, Osheim, Neuschel, Cohen, and Roberts 528-529).

The political aspect of liberalism suggested that political power had to be limited to prevent despotism. In the eighteenth century, enlightened despots had claimed that their control was necessary to promote the public good. The Enlightenment had set forth "natural law" as the basis of government, and French liberals in the nineteenth century also saw human liberty as based on natural law. English liberals took a different view, such as that of Jeremy Bentham, who believed that the purpose of government was to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. There was some dispute over the value of democracy, however. Bentham and Mi

 
 
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