Shannon C. Stimson

American political theorist

Shannon C. Stimson (born October 8, 1951) is an American political theorist, philosopher, and historian of ideas, whose work and teaching spans the economic and political thought of both ancient societies and the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She has been Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley since 1991, where she is also affiliated and has served on the faculty boards of programs in the Political Economy of Industrial Societies, and of Peace and Conflict Studies.


  • In general the claim can be supported that a view of classical political economy as committed to extreme laissez-faire or unmitigated economic individualism misrepresents or at the very least analytically overgeneralizes their circumscribed theoretical and practical aims. In general then, with regard to both political and economic liberty, the classical political economists might be seen to be united in their efforts to theorize and systematize the productive and allocating functions of the mechanism of the market as the most efficient means to engender the growth of wealth. At the same time, classicals such as Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, and Mill recognized that the market, of necessity, operated in a larger context of restriction – not only legal, but equally as important, within political, religious, moral, and conventional restrictions – which could not be readily or in some cases even desirably overcome.
    • "Classical Political Economy", in Coole, Diana H.; Gibbons, Michael; Ellis, Elisabeth et al., The encyclopedia of political thought (2014); see also Adam Smith
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