Nicholas Barbon

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Nicholas Unless-Jesus-Christ-Had-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon
Physician, economist and builder
Known for Fire insurance; economic theory; speculation

Barbon, Nicholas


Born 1640; died 1698. English bourgeois economist. Precursor of the advocates of the so-called state theory of currency.

In his main work, A Discourse of Trade, Barbon emerges as an opponent of the theory and practice of mercantilism. He criticized the state regulation of economic life and argued for freedom of trade. He believed that the value of goods is determined by their utility. In A Discourse Concerning Coining the New Money Lighter, Barbon defends the idea of nominalism. Barbon was the first to define interest as the price of capital. He expressed the interests of the landowners and was an advocate of legislative limitations on interest. K. Marx criticized Barbon’s views.


A Discourse of Trade. London, 1690.
A Discourse Concerning Coining the New Money Lighter. In Answer to Mr. Locke’s Considerations About Raising the Value of Money. London, 1696.


Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23. Pages 43–46, 134, 140, 154–156, 630.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nicholas Barbon, in his Discourse of Trade of 1690, wrote that Machiavelli 'doth not mention Trade, as any way interested in the Affairs of State'.
FOLLOWING THE GREAT FIRE of London in 1666, which torched more than 13,000 houses and 87 churches, physician Nicholas Barbon, appalled by the loss of property and human suffering, founded in 1680 the Fire Office in London, the first joint-stock company for fire insurance in London, and perhaps the world.
By contrast, Nicholas Barbon saw the fire as an economic opportunity.
Nicholas Barbon was a financial speculator and property developer who pushed forward the expansion of Lon don--especially the suburbs of Soho, Spitalfields and Holborn--with rows of terraced housing between 1666 and his death in 1698.
Innovation came in new building techniques and in vertically organized real-estate ventures run by people such as Nicholas Barbon.
The lad, understandably enough, preferred to be known as Nicholas Barbon.
Beginning with the mid-sixteenth-century consumer society of London, he takes us through the world and ideas of Lord Burghley, the Prodigy Houses, Nicholas Barbon and Bernard de Mandeville; he focuses on what he considers to be the vastly underestimated influence of The Spectator flowing from the pens of Pope, Addison and Hume.