Nassau Senior : the Whig leader's counsellor in the age of laissez-faire : Period considered 1829 - 1836

by Forsberg, Åke

Abstract (Summary)
This paper concerns the ideas on society, policies and economic thoughts on Ireland before the cataclysmal famine of the 1840s. Senior, classified as one of the classical economists, elaborated these in the period 1829 – 1836, thus during the period of Parliamentary reform. As a trusted counsellor of the Whig governments, Senior advocated measures opposite to the common notions of laissez-faire. His basic ideas are contrasted to those of Malthus concerning economics and, in particular, the population doctrine that Senior never believed in and in its crudest form refuted. Senior regarded Malthus’ doctrine as devastating to governmental policies. Senior wanted an efficient and strong government. Moreover, Senior evolved ideas, in fact a strategy, for raising Ireland out of her common destitution instead of institutionalizing poor laws. This strategy embraced Catholic emancipation, education, public investments in infrastructure and emigration. His ideas, and proposals akin to Senior’s, are related to the political discourse of the day, which took a more common view of laissez-faire during the period considered. Nevertheless, there is consistency in his ideas on government, public investments and laissez-faire. Senior cannot be described as anything other than an early liberal and a classical economist and, hence, an advocator of economic laissez-faire. This paper underlines the need for a clear distinction between economic laissez-faire as a concept and the concept of political laissez-faire, whereas the former concerns thoughts on economics and the latter is related to the notion of the impassivity of the period of today’s discourse.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Södertörns högskola

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:history of ideas classical economists liberalism senior ireland malthus population doctrine


Date of Publication:10/16/2006

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.