John Elliot Cairnes (1823-1875)

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NUI Galway dates back to 1845 with the construction of the Quadrangle Building when it was founded as Queen’s College Galway. One of its earliest academics was John Elliot Cairnes.

At the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, we take our inspiration from Cairnes’ remarkable intellect, from his correspondence and publications, which are recognised internationally as outstanding pieces of scholarship, and from his willingness to challenge his students and colleagues alike to engage in innovative, intellectual research, debate and discussion. NUI Galway dates back to 1845 with the construction of the Quadrangle Building when it was founded as Queen’s College Galway. One of its earliest academics was John Elliot Cairnes. John Elliot Cairnes (1823-1875) works were highly regarded both by his peers and, at a later date, by historians of economic thought. He also wrote about many issues of economic policy, including the gold question, while his publications on the Irish land question examined the rights of private property and the status of contract.

The contribution of J.E. Cairnes to business and economics is recognised as being unique and very significant. Charles Darwin and Karl Marx both acknowledged being influenced by his work and it is the respect garnered from his peers, most notably John Stuart Mill, that is the best indication of the significance of Cairnes’ contributions.

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