Henry Dunning Macleod

1821 - 1902

Economist. Born into a wealthy family in Edinburgh, Macleod was educated there and at Eton. He entered the University of Edinburgh and then studied law at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was called to the English Bar in 1849, but early in his career he was involved in poor-law reform in Scotland. He went on to become a financier and amateur economist. He recognised and gave Gresham's Law its name, which states that 'bad money drives out good' and championed economics as the 'queen of social sciences'.

He wrote considerably on economic and monetary theory. His works include The Theory and Practice of Banking (1855), Elements of Political Economy (1858), Elements of Economics (1886), The Theory of Credit (1889), which emphasised that deposit banks create credit in exactly the same way as banks of issue, and The History of Economics (1896). His books were a reflection of his eccentricity; littered with contorted legalistic language and references to antiquity.

Macleod's various attempts to gain a University Chair were unsuccessful because he made himself highly unpopular through a series of attacks on those who supported the Classical School of Economics, whose principles had been laid out by David Ricardo in 1817. He died in London.

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