The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Massie, Joseph (Died 1794)

  • Murray Milgate
Reference work entry


Joseph Massie is one of those figures of mid-18th-century economics about whose life little of real substance is known, but who has nevertheless managed to attract from quite diverse authors a degree of recognition that is not enjoyed by many much less mysterious figures. In Theories of Surplus Value Marx praises Massie for the subtlety of his discussion of the general rate of profit; the original edition of this Dictionary credits him with a decisive criticism of Locke’s theory of the rate of interest; William Cunningham admired Massie’s belief that ‘only an exhaustive examination of the phenomena of industrial and commercial life’ could yield an appropriate understanding of the principles which governed economic activity (1891, p. 81); and historians of economic thought are thankful for his extraordinary activities as a book-collector that yielded a catalogue to a personal library (containing by 1764 more than two thousand items) of economic literature prior to 1750.

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  1. Cunningham, W. 1891. Economic doctrine in the eighteenth century. Economic Journal 1: 73–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray Milgate
    • 1
  1. 1.