Joseph Ward is an economics student at George Mason University, the following is extracted from his blog.
Adam Smith is often considered the father of economics, but he never used the word.
Soon after Smith, Political Economy became the dominant term to describe the study that we call economics today.
David Ricardo wrote another one of the first semi-famous books on the subject, and he titled it, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.
That book contributed to the phrase's first spike in use.
John Stuart Mill wrote the dominant text on the subject for the mid nineteenth century, Principles of Political Economy, which cemented it as the term to descibe our study.
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