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Colquhoun, Patrick

Colquhoun, Patrick (1745–1820). Born in Dundee, his career was almost entirely in business, although he became lord provost of Glasgow (1782–3) and city magistrate in London (1792–1818). He is best known for his Wealth, Power and Resources of the British Empire (1814). In this he provided estimates of national income; this was an influence upon socialist writers since Colquhoun claimed that unproductive labour, estimated as 20 per cent of the labour force, received over 30 per cent of the output. As a social reformer he was concerned with poor relief and with policing in London. He believed that poverty could be removed by better standards of education. His pamphlet New and Appropriate System of Education for the Labouring People (1806) was extremely influential at that time.

John R. Presley

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Colquhoun, Patrick

Patrick Colquhoun (kōhōōn´), 1745–1820, British economist and statistician, b. Scotland. Active in civic affairs in Glasgow (where he founded the chamber of commerce) and London, he became known for his Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis (1795, 7th ed. 1806), written from his experience as a police magistrate. The most noted of his works is the Treatise on the Population, Wealth, and Resources of the British Empire (1814), in which he set forth statistical estimates of the distribution of national income. His figures, demonstrating the poverty of the working classes, long influenced social and economic reformers.

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