David Ricardo on the Principle of Comparative Advantage

The Bully Pulpit

David Ricardo by Thomas Phillips, oil on canvas, circa 1821

“The same rule which regulates the relative value of commodities in one country, does not regulate the relative value of the commodities exchanged between two or more countries.

Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to each. This pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole. By stimulating industry, by regarding ingenuity, and by using most efficaciously the peculiar powers bestowed by nature, it distributes labour most effectively and most economically: while, by increasing the general mass of productions, it diffuses general benefit, and binds together by one common tie of interest and intercourse, the universal society of nations throughout the civilized world. It is this principle which determines that wine shall be made in France and Portugal, that corn shall be grown in America and Poland, and that…

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The Votes Are In

The people have spoken, or at least those that voted, and the majority want the account to continue only with the year 1817.  I will thus continue with the name @pastnow_ and tweet only from the perspective of 1817.  As for the minority that wanted an all years account, I have also set up @universalpast Twitter account.

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Happy New Year

happy-new-year

I want to wish the readers of this blog and the companion twitter feed a Happy New Year.

I would also like to apologize for the fact that the posts have been shorter, and not as frequent this last year. Pressure and constraints of other work has meant that I have not been as diligent in writing new posts.

I have also come to believe that the subject matter of this blog and twitter account will soon run of out of general interest. The truth is that 1817, aside from a few incidents, is not full of the epic historical moments that filled the years from 1812 to 1816. It will not have the sweep of the War of 1812 which included various invasions of Canada, with the deaths of Brock and Tecumseh, to the burning of Washington and the futile bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. It will lack the epic story of Napoleon from his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 to his return from Elba to fight and end his military career on the fields of Waterloo in 1815. The year without summer provided a dramatic background for the antics of Byron, Shelley and Mary in the Villa Diodati in 1816.

The year 1817 is more low key though many of the same persons would still be alive. Byron will continue to write and seduce his way through Europe. Mary will finish Frankenstein. Shelley and Keats will write some of the greatest poetry in the language. Napoleon will restlessly decline in exile on St. Helena. All these are of interest, but they lack the larger dramatic stories of the other years. I would also like to write something new.

It is for this reason that I intend to change the name of the Twitter account from @1816now to @pastnow_. (Someone else has @pastnow.)

Rather, than ending the account I could also change it so that it is no longer limited to one year. This change would mean that it would be more of an #OTD account. I would publish events, quotes or facts that took place on the same day in the past, and but would not be limited to one year. In this way, I could continue with events in 1817 and the stories of Byron, Shelley and Mary.

I am not sure how I will proceed.

I have thus prepared the poll below to get some feedback on possible changes. I should point out that I very much welcome all input, but the decision will ultimately be mine as to how, and if, the feed will continue. More detailed comments are also appreciated.

I thank you in advance for your assistance.

(The image above is from an illustration of Frankenstein by Bernie Wrightson.)