Numerically speaking, most persons in the modern economy who are also economically active are those who supply labour; and in expressing his concern with the well-being of the greatest number by writing far more about labour than about any other input Marshall was only following in the footsteps of classical giants such as Adam Smith who believed sincerely, here as elsewhere much in debt to Hutcheson's rigorous utilitarianism and teleological optimism, that 'what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an incoveniency to the whole'. " The classical economics would have done better to have kept to the path of humanity that was pioneered by Adam Smith rather than allowing itself to degenerate into a dismal science which , deaf to the needs and wants of labour, came to seek 'before all and above all' to utilise the new discipline 'for the purpose of keeping the working-man in his place':
Nearly all the greatest economists have been earnest and fearless friends of the working classes ; they have been impelled to the study of economics chiefly by a desire to see how far it was possible to diminish the evils of poverty. But Ricardo had very little sympathy one way or the other; and many of those who made themselves a reputation by the confidence with which they misunderstood parts of what he said , were partisans of capital. The reputation of Economic Science has suffered and is suffering for the misdoings of its camp followers."