He and his brother Matthias (1779-1851), also a banker and able economist, first emerged as spokesmen for the distressed industrial areas of the West Midlands in the post-Napoleonic war period. He favoured a wellmanaged paper currency as a means of avoiding the deflation he associated with the gold standard then in force. His case was considered wildly unorthodox and his speech-making and pamphleteering activities in the Birmingham Union, though they mobilised local political sentiment, ultimately led to his arguments being ignored.
Despite repeated mention in J. S. Mill’s Principles, the name of Thomas Attwood practically disappeared from economics until modern times when Hawtrey and Viner drew attention to him once again.
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