Exactly what inspired the term has been a subject of debate. Those who doubt the story say that Carlyle was reacting not to Malthus but economists such as John Stuart Mill, who argued that institutions, not race, explained why some nations were rich and others poor. Carlyle attacked Mill, not for supporting Malthus' predictions about the dire consequences of population growth, but for supporting the emancipation of slaves. It was the discipline's assumption that people are basically all the same and thus entitled to liberty that led Carlyle to label the study of economics "the dismal science". The connection was so well known throughout the 19th century, that even cartoonists would refer to it knowing that their audience would understand the reference.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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dismal science — n. 〚< use by T. CARLYLE Thomas in essay (1849)〛 the science of economics: a humorous usage * * * … Universalium
dismal science — n. [< use by T. CARLYLE Thomas in essay (1849)] the science of economics: a humorous usage … English World dictionary
Dismal Science — The dismal science is a derogatory alternative name for economics devised by the Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle in the 19th century. The term is an inversion of the phrase gay science, meaning life enhancing knowledge. This was a familiar… … Wikipedia
dismal science — noun Economics or the field of political economy. [N]ot a gay science, but a rueful which finds the secret of this universe in supply and demand . . . a dreary, desolate and, indeed, quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of … Wiktionary
DISMAL SCIENCE — Carlyle s name for the political economy that with self complacency leaves everything to settle itself by the law of supply and demand, as if that were all the law and the prophets. The name is applied to every science that affects to dispense … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
dismal science — Carlyle’s nickname for economics … Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games
dismal science — n. economics (Slang term); political economy (humorous British term) … English contemporary dictionary
dismal science — noun : political economy : economics … Useful english dictionary
The dismal science — is a derogatory alternative name for economics devised by the Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle in the 19th century. The term is an inversion of the phrase gay science, meaning life enhancing knowledge , a reference to the technical skills of… … Wikipedia
Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science — File:Naked economics.large.jpg … Wikipedia