Henry Carey

Henry Charles Carey
(1793 B 1879)
One of the most highly regarded and best known economist of the early eighteen hundreds was Henry Carey. Of all the many American economists in the first half of the nineteenth century, the best known, especially outside of America, was Henry Carey. Being born in Philadelphia, Carey's views were that typically of an American. The manor, in which he opposed other economists and established his own theories, distinguished him as a prominent figure not only in his hometown of Philadelphia but in the entire United States. He rejected Malthus and Ricardo on several grounds and accused them of deviating from the views of Adam Smith. His belief in the revision of economic thought stemmed from the fact that early classical thinking, developed in Europe, was not suitable for a newly discovered country such as the United States which consisted of abundant land and scarce labour. These aspects will be viewed in detail while examining Carey's principle theories. However, before tackling the unprecedented theories of Carey, a description of the man's life and career, and writings should first be examined.

The Life of Henry Carey

He was born in 1793 in Philadelphia. He was the son of a self-made Irish immigrant, Mathew Carey. His father, whom was a leader in early American economic thinking, emigrated from Ireland on account of the political upheaval during the time. Henry Carey was also self taught and in 1821 at the age of twenty-eight assumed ownership of his fathers printing press. Carey who was a largely self-educated man, retired from active business at forty-two in order to devote the rest of his life to his literary career. Carey was known for his enormous published output. Many believe his quantity took away from the meaning he was trying to corroborate because it was rambling, repetitious, and diffused the message. The publications included thirteen books, about three thousand pages of published tracts, and perhaps an equal quantity of newspaper articles, editorials and correspondence covering economic and political topics. Here is a list of Carey=s most creditable works: Essay on the Rate of Wages (1835), The Principles of Political Economy (1837-1840), The Credit System of France, Great Britian and the United States (1838), An Answer to the Questions: What Constitutes Currency? What are the Causes of its Unsteadiness? And what is the Remedy? (1840), The Past, Present, and the Future (1848), The Harmony of Interest (1851), The Principles of Social Science (1857-1860), and The Unity of Laws as Exhibited in the Relations of Physical, Social, Mental, and Moral Science (1872). Carey after retiring from the printing press acquired a great deal of fortune, in which he invested in a wide range of enterprises, including coal mines, paper mills, gas companies, and real estate. From this one can see that Carey not only wrote but also was involved in the economy. He worked for the printing press as well he invested in the economy to drive it to new levels. Due to this involvement Carey became a prominent figure in his native city and state through his voice and pen. Which were very active in all matters of public interest, he exerted considerable influence on public opinion and some on the economists of his day. Through his life, in the years of 1825, 1857, and 1859 he traveled to Europe where he met with John Stuart Mill, Covour, Humbolt Liebig, Chevalier, Ferrarra, and Bergfall. With some of them Carey had established an acquaintance with, and continued to share experiences and studies with in later years through writings. After all his travels, his works and studies lead him to become one of the leading citizens of Philadelphia, and an influential figure in the state where more than one President had sought his advise. At the time of his death, in 1879 at the age of 86, he was named as America=s most widely known private citizen at the time.
During the course of his writings the views of Carey in relation to previous economic theories and beliefs of other economists changed considerably. "Carey is a fine example of the difficulty of fitting economists into neat pigeonholes. He is at once a classical optimist, a critic of classicalism, and a protectionist."(Newman, 96) His views toward classical school did not stem too far in his first two of the above mentioned books. However, by the time of the publication of his