Class Conflict In Classical Political Economy: Malthus, Ricardo And Marx

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3. Class Conflict in Classical Political Economy: Malthus, Ricardo and Marx. When landowners convinced the Parliament in 1816, the British Parliament passed the Corn Laws which put high tariffs and import barriers for the import of corn, wheat, oat and other type of cereals. Corn Laws are, by nature, protectionist laws which intend to protect British agriculture by putting high import duties and making impossible for merchants to import corn from other countries. Corn Laws were the biggest obstacle for free trade. Due to Corn Laws, corn prices as well as price of bread remained high in England during that time. However, Napoleonic Wars also caused an increase in prices of agricultural products by cutting down imports of food supplies (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005: 92). Since foreign agricultural products could not enter the country, corn prices remained high. Economically, this resulted in high land rents, impaired profits and rigid wages (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005: 92). Manufacturers opposed this situation since it led to a flow income to landlords because of the redistribution effects of protectionism whereas landowners were enjoying their highs shares (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005: 92). This battle over Corn Laws between manufacturers and landowners actually was manifestation of the greater class conflict in England at the age of high industrialization (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005: 92). This class conflict was between landed aristocracy and merchant bourgeoisie. A great

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