No other form of political philosophy has ever had 1/1000th part of the influence on us [as political economy]; its teachings have settled down into the common sense of the nation and have become irreversible.
Walter Bagehot, "The Postulates of English Political Economy" ( 1876)
Political economy was no passing fad; the causes to which the economists and their allies so enthusiastically attached themselves were not to be abandoned. Neither the course of economic thinking nor economic change in Britain was diverged from for nearly a century. Both political economy and industrial capitalism triumphed.
The gold standard, the restoration of which Ricardo had called a "triumph of science, and truth, over prejudice, and error, " became the central pillar of British monetary orthodoxy, remaining intact until World War I. And even then, when the world monetary system was to be constructed anew, there were prominent economists harking back to the pristine wisdom of the Bullion Report for guidance. 1 The laissez-faire income and employment policies so steadfastly advocated by the Ricardians and Liverpool ministry during the depression of 1819 likewise became hallmarks of orthodoxy that remained virtually unchallenged until well into the twentieth century. They were abandoned, and then only reluctantly, several years into the severest and most prolonged economic crisis that the industrialized world had ever experienced. In relation to these two orientations of government policymaking, Keynes's often maligned remark that " Ricardo conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain" was surely no exaggeration. 2