Mill, Rae, West and Joplin were, until recently, relegated to the footnotes of the history of economic thought. In particular, Rae's New Principles on the Subject of Political Economy was not reprinted until the 1960s and John Mill has been remembered more for his eldest son than for himself.
However, as this volume demonstrates, these four journalists and pamphleteers were important in pre-empting and encouraging other economists, most especially David Ricardo. John Rae has been accredited with being a forerunner of the Austrian theory of capital. James Mill made the first declaration in English of Say's theory of markets and, quite possibly, Ricardo's Principle of Comparative Advantage. The currency and banking tracts written by Thomas Joplin in the 1820s and 1830s have been arduously mined by a variety of commentators as containing nuggets of later monetary doctrines, and Edward West stated the theory of differential rent before Ricardo, and did so in virtually the same form and language.
This collection does much to rehabilitate these lesser known figures in the history of economic thought.