Karl Marx
Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a revolutionary thinker from Germany that promoted a system of socialism and communism. He believed that capitalism created a class struggle among owners of capital (bourgeois) and the workers (proletariat). This struggle would eventually lead to a revolution from the proletariat. These beliefs were expressed in his books The CommunistManifesto(1848) and Das Kapital (1867). Marx laid the foundation for a socialist economy that was eventually implemented by upwards of 20 countries around the world.

Leon Walras
Leon Walras (1834-1910) was a French economist that helped develop the idea of marginal utility, and thus helped forge the neoclassical school of thought. He is considered to be a part of the marginal revolution along with William Stanley Jevons and Carl Menger. While this was considered a significant contribution, he is better known for his attempt to look at the supply and demand of an entire economy and how it all fit together. His theory became known as the general equilibrium theory. He expressed his findings on general equilibrium theory in his book Elements of Pure Economics which was published in 1874.

Carl Menger
Carl Menger (1840-1921) was an Austrian economist and is widely known as the founder of Austrian economics. He worked separately from Leon Walras and William Stanley Jevons during the marginal revolution but came to similar conclusions concerning marginal utilityand through these conclusions he also helped establish the neoclassical school of thought. Menger used subjective theory of value to identify that both parties benefit from trade due to items' varying degrees of value among individuals. Menger expressed his views on marginal utility, subjective theory of value, and other thoughts in his book Principles of Economics in 1871.

William Stanley Jevons
William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882) was a British economist that helped start the neoclassical school of thought through his study of marginal utility. As mentioned earlier he was a part of the marginal revolution along with Carl Menger and Leon Walras. Jevons other main contribution came in the form of his take on the equation of exchange in which he concluded that the ratio of utility to price must be equal for all items or else the consumer will change their buying habits. Jevons most significant work, The Theory of Political Economy was published in 1871 and it used mathematical principles to outline his views on marginal utility and its significance.

Alfred Marshall
Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) was a British economist that was considered to be at the forefront of economic thought during his time. Marshall was the first to use supply and demand analysis to determine that price is a result of both supply and demand. Through the use of marginal utility analysis he also proposed the idea of consumer surplus. He reasoned that a consumer will purchase until the marginal utility equals the price of a good, all goods purchased before this point are considered surplus. Marshall's most significant book was his Principles of Economics in which he outlined his views on supply and demand analysis.

John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was a British economist that took revolutionary views toward both fiscal policy and monetary policy. His ideas were so revolutionary that the school of thought that followed his conclusions is known as Keynesian economics. Keynes views on monetary policy can be defined by a school of thought known as monetarism which believes in the raising and lowering of interest rates in order to keep inflation in check. His most controversial ideas came in the school of fiscal policy in which he advocated an increase in government spending during times of high unemployment even at the expense of running a deficit. This practice has now become common place among many countries around the world. Keynes authored many books but his most significant contribution was book The General Theory of Unemployment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, in which he promoted government spending during times of high unemployment and the raising and lowering of interest rates by the government’s central bank.

Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was an American economist that was heavy proponent of free markets. His view on free markets came through in his 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom. During the book he argues for a volunteer army, free floating exchange rates, and a negative income tax among other things. His most significant economic contributions came in his opposition to Keynes view of monetarism. Friedman felt that price levels and inflation should be controlled through the use of the money supply as opposed to interest rates. Keynes also challenged the idea that there was a tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. He contested that if a high inflation mark were to be reached and maintained then unemployment would also begin to increase. Friedman’s book, A Monetary and Fiscal Framework for Economic Stability, was published in 1948 and highlighted his diverging views on monetary policy.


  • (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2011, from Library of Economics and Liberty: http://www.econlib.org
  • Landreth, H., & Colander C, D. (2002). History of Modern Economic Thought. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Landreth, H., & Colander C, D. (2002). History of Modern Economic Thought. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.