I am writing this thread about an Irishman whom I feel is shamefully unknown by people in this country, and his contribution to world history and economic-thought sadly uncelebrated and unacknowledged. This man is Richard Cantillon (1680-1734).
Cantillon's only published work "Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General" ("Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General") published in 1755 (21 years after his death) preceeds Adam Smiths "Wealth of Nations" by 21 years (Indeed Cantillon is one of the few people quoted by Smith in his book).
The 'Essai' is considered by many to be the most important treatise on economic theory ever, and influenced many other economists such as Smith and David Hume.
Although it is Smith who is widely considered nowadays to be the "founding father" of economics, many scholars including Murray N. Rothbard the prominent Austrian economist called Cantillon "the founding father of modern economics". 
American economist Mark Thornton writes in his article on Cantillon :
Cantillon was born in 1680 (exact date unknown) in Ballyheige, County Kerry. I was looking up Ballyheige on Wikipedia and the History section of the article has a very interesting paragraph on the Cantillon family ( Link : Ballyheigue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )Originally Posted by Mark Thornton
There's no point in my re-writing what has already been written better by other people (well, maybe one day when I have some time on my hands...), so here is an outline of the mans life (link here):
Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Britannica
When you see the Legacy section of Adam Smith's Wikipedia page ( link ) and see statues such as this, or plaques in Smiths birthplace such as this, I do think it a terrible shame that we don't have some form of tribute to this great Irish historical figure. I do think it would be a worthy project to have private donations used to fund any such tribute/project.
I urge you all to read more into this man, and maybe one day people in Ireland and beyond will know Richard Cantillon the way people in Scotland know and revere Adam Smith.
To all who are interested, here are some good links on the man:
- Biography: Cantillon Biography
- Cantillons Legacy lecture by Mark Thornton: [mp3] and [vid]
- Life and Work of Richard Cantillon, by Henry Higgs : - Life and Work of Richard Cantillon, by Henry Higgs
- Cantillon for Laymen: Cantillon for Laymen - Karen De Coster - Mises Institute
- Cantillons Wikipedia entry: Richard Cantillon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General
- Part I
- Part II
- Part III
 Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, chap. 12, pp. 343-62.
 Mark Thornton, 1999: "Richard Cantillon: The Origin of Economic Theory", 15 Great Austrian Economists, chap. 2, p. 13.
 William Stanley Jevons, "Richard Cantillon and the Nationality of Political Economy," Contemporary Review January 1881), reprinted in Essai sur la
Nature du Commerce en General, by Richard Cantillon [and other essays], Henry Higgs, ed. and trans. (London: Frank Cass,  1959), p. 342, with
emphasis in the original.