Birthplace London, England.
Post Held Prof. Polit. Econ., Constitutionlal His., Univ. Toronto, 1888-92; Prof. Econ. Hist., Harvard Univ., 1892-1901; Prof. Commerce, Univ. Birmingham, 1901-25.
Degrees BA Univ. Oxford, 1881.
Offices and Honours Vice-Pres., Royal Economic Society; Pres., Econ. Section, British Academy, 1907, 1924; Knighted, 1917.
Publications Books: 1. The Tariff Problem, (1903, 1920); 2. The Christian Outlook, Being the Semons of an Economist, (1925); 3. The Bread of our Forefathers: an Inquiry into Economic History, (1928); 4. An Introduction to English Economic History and Theory, 2 vols (1888-93, 1931-6); 5. The Economic Organisation of England: an Outline History (1914, 1949).
Career Economic historian with direct ties to the German Historical School. At Oxford as a student and private tutor, he fell under the influence of Arnold Toynbee. He held that the principles of orthodox economics were not universally true and that modifications or fresh theories were needed for different societies and different times. Thus is the context of his own times, he favoured State action to assist trade unions and factory legislation, whilst supporting Joseph Chamberlains imperial preference policies. In Economic Organisation ... , he wrote in favour of a corporativist system in which industry and labour both take on a corporative character and are regulated by the State in the interests of the whole community.
Secondary Literature A. Ashley, William James Ashley: A Life (King, 1932); B. Semmel, `Ashley, William', International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences , D. L. Sills (ed.) (Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), vol. 1.
"The Tory Origin of Free Trade Policy" (socsci.mcmaster.ca) Quarterly Journal of Economics, July 1897.
"The Tory Origin of Free Trade Policy" (ecn.bris.ac.uk) Quarterly Journal of Economics, July 1897.
"The Tory Origin of Free Trade Policy" (unimelb.edu.au) Quarterly Journal of Economics, July 1897.