"[The] period, from 1820 to 1830, was notable in England for scientific activity in the domain of Political Economy. It was the time as well of the vulgarising and extending of Ricardo’s theory, as of the contest of that theory with the old school."It is important to note that Marx clearly knew that "the theory of Ricardo already serves, in exceptional cases, as a weapon of attack upon bourgeois economy," in particular, because Ricardo was the first to show conclusively the necessary oposition between wages and profits, and the conflictive nature of the capitalist system. The problem with post-Ricardian economics was that it could not claim to be scientific and at the same time argue that the capitalist system was harmonious. For him:
"Men who still claimed some scientific standing and aspired to be something more than mere sophists and sycophants of the ruling classes tried to harmonise the Political Economy of capital with the claims, no longer to be ignored, of the proletariat. Hence a shallow syncretism of which John Stuart Mill is the best representative. It is a declaration of bankruptcy by bourgeois economy."So vulgar economics was the dominant, or common, view of Political Economy after Ricardo, which was fundamentally apologetic and dismissed the Ricardian conflictive view of capitalist economies.
Also, it is important to note that, although critical of bourgeois economics (Quesnay, Smith, Ricardo), Marx knew his theory built on their analysis. He says:
"As early as 1871, N. Sieber, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Kiev, in his work 'David Ricardo’s Theory of Value and of Capital,' referred to my theory of value, of money and of capital, as in its fundamentals a necessary sequel to the teaching of Smith and Ricardo. That which astonishes the Western European in the reading of this excellent work, is the author’s consistent and firm grasp of the purely theoretical position."So the excellent work of Professor Sieber correctly grasps Marx's theoretical position, according to Marx, and says that it is "a necessary sequel to the teaching of Smith and Ricardo." I'll leave for another post the discussion of the current state of economics, and in what sense one can talk of a return of vulgar economics.