Ven. William Cunningham, 1849-1919.

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Accomplished Scottish scholar, clergyman, historian and statistician. Cunningham was educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge. Until 1891, he served as a Cambridge lecturer in history and economics as well as Chaplain of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was then appointed as the Tooke Professor of Statistics at King's College, which held until 1897. He served as Vicar of Great St. Mary's until 1908, when he was made Archdeacon of Ely, a post which he held until the end of his life.

Cunningham was a vocal opponent of the nascent Neoclassical economics, particularly as propounded by his colleague, Alfred Marshall and the Cambridge School. In economics, he sought to promote the historical method, making him one of the most leading advocates of the English Historical School. Despite the sustained attacks levied by Cunningham, Marshall was sufficiently influenced by his pleas to try to include some more historical content in his work and operate more "inductively" in the derivation of his economic principles. However, he refused to accept Cunningham's main charge -- that the validity of economic laws is conditional on historical, social and cultural context.

Cunningham's opposition to Neoclassicism was not only one of method, but also of politics. Cunningham was deeply opposed to utilitarian philosophy and laissez-faire politics, and penned several tracts defending labor unions and protectionism. He also resurrected much interest in old Mercantilist thought.

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