« ForrigeFortsett »
ments, I would assert that the progress of national prosperity, the consolidation of public order, and a higher degree of civilization, are closely connected with the study of political economy. Methods to acquire riches are necessarily methods of wisdom and good conduct. If dissolute individuals rarely grow rich, the mal-administration of governments must necessarily impoverish the people. Were the consequences of their faults as evident as those of individual errors; could the effects of public mal-administration be as accurately ascertained as those of private misconduct; there is every reason to suppose that public calamities would be more unfrequent and less disastrous. The depositaries of the fortune of nations would no longer sacrifice it to the delusions of vanity, to the deceitful promises of ambition, to the captivating splendour of a frivolous and transitory grandeur; or if they should happen to be misled by the violence of passion, their errors would be of short duration. Like Louis XII. and Francis I. of France, who, by the parsimony of the latter part of their reign, atoned for the prodigality and profusion of their younger years; princes, ever so little ambitious of true glory and desirous of the love of their people, would stop at a considerable distance from the precipice which threatens to engulph them together with public wealth. Under the impression that I may perhaps accelerate that fortunate period by exhibiting, comparing, and contrasting the various systems of which the science of political economy is at present composed; I shall discuss their respective advantages and inconveniencies, and adopt that theory which, in a moral, political, civil, and economical respect, appears entitled to the
reas, I would assert that the progress of it"
prosperity, the consolidation of public order, and
higher degree of civilization, are closely connected
with the study of political economy. Methods to 4!. quire riches are necessarily methods of wisdom an
od conduct. If dissolute individuals rarely 8" rich, the maladministration of governmo" must necessarily impoverish the People. Were the conse. quences of their faults as evidentasthoseofindividual errors; could the effects of public mal-administration beasaccurately ascertained as those ofprivatem duct; there is every reason to suppo that public ca: ties would be more unfrequent andless disastrous, f the fortune of nations would no o the delusions of vanity. " the
lami The depositaries o longer sacrifice it t
deceitful promises of ambition,
splendour of a fivolous and tr
they should happen." be mis ... r. passion, their errors would be of short duration. Po
Louis XII. and Francis I of Fino who, by th parsimony of the latter part oftheir ego, * o the prodigality and profusion of their younger) . rinces, ever 30 little ambitious of true glory an
distance from the Pool" ens to engulph
them together with public o te » & CCC 6Tà Under the impression the I may perhaps fi and jod by exhibiting, comparing, ms of shich the scient. Int composed ; I shall oes and inconvenier Wà ic inamoral political y W appeas: entitled to the
cio. "...nomical respech
to the captivating ansitory grandeur; or if
in its natural order.
o: The task, I know, is not easy, and liti attering to self-love. The merit of originality : . be mine. It would indeed be difficult to dV an - -
said i. o: on this subject which has not been should ady; but my satisfaction will be great, if I ČnCO remove the innumerable difficulties which I * when inclination led me to a science to
y previous studie - * me a stranger. 8 and ordinary occupations
ove all, I shall deem avoid - - myself ha if I
On so into o o the .. Ct appear to have fall - s ...; defective. None "... plans * could treat of every branch of i. * 111 None h lence
method whi * has used the and o o the different parts .o least al s them 1 Into a whole. I ho I ence, ati PProximate that desired perfecti pe shall at 8*ing successively, in as man ection, by investi* Systems concerning. y separate books, the . The sources of wealth, and
a DDear: general bearing ppears to embrace the sci - - 88, in its princi 1énce in its iminute details. It Principal parts, and in it - *mmands attention with S o:
oxamined with - out losing sight of 3 ght of the whole; and
forms a picture which a person of the least discern. ment may readily contemplate in its full extent without being bewildered by the multitude of the details. But is wealth of sufficient importance, utility, or benefit, to individuals or nations, to become the object of a science, to engage the attention of enlightened minds, and to require particular rules of conduct for public and private management Is not that rather true which Plato said, that “gold and “virtue are two opposite weights in a balance, one “of which cannot rise unless the other sinks P” Does not wealth deserve the stigma which so many moralists, politicians, and religious sectaries, have affixed to it? And would it not be better to teach men the precious advantage of an honourable mediocrity, than to entice them to the fatal and deplorable road to riches 2 Though sufficiently resolved by both the eagerness with which all nations press forward on the road to wealth, and the important part which wealth performs in all public and private transactions, this superannuated problem appears yet entitled to a serious inquiry. I have discussed it in the Introduction to my work. A science ought indeed to be proved to be useful, before it is taught; and it is only because the utility of political economy seemed evident to me, both in a moral and political point of view, that I have investigated whatever I thought worthy to be considered as pertaining to the science, and calculated to simplify its study, to accelerate its improvement, and to insure its success.
* Travels of Anacharsis. Engl. transl. vol. iv. c. 55, p. 363.
14 on the various SYSTEMS
forms a picture which a person of the least discott ment may readily contemplate in its full extent with out being bewildered by the multitude of the out But is wealth of sufficient important* utility, 0. benefit, to individuals or nations. " become the or ject of a science, to engage the attention of enlig" * * ened minds, and to require particu" rules of con: ... for public and private wango \s moi POLITICAL ECONOMY. that rather true which Plato saw " “gold all “virtue are two opposite weights in a balance, 00: “of which cannot rise unless the other sinks?" Does not wealth deserve the stigma which so many moralists, politicians, and religious sectaries haveaf fixed to it; And would it not be better to teach men the precious advantage of an honourable mediocă ty, than to entice them to the fataland deplorable
ON THE WARIOUS SYSTEMS
Po On the Nature of Wealth.
road to riches?
Though sufficiently resolved by both the cago" rd on the road to
with which all nations pression"
work. A science ough indeed to be proved too
useful, before it ista -
its study, ment, and to insuro its succes.”
ught; and it is only becaust the
of view, that I
SO variously resol
Prove us WaS allowab **wever, that this . Let it not be o: dS onsi po
some individuals, some classes, or corporations, cer. tain times and certain countries; it is common to all men, to all nations, and all times. Though despised by the wise, condemned by religious tenets, accused by moralists and publicists of the perversity of individuals, the depravity of manners, the decline of nations, and the fall of empires, Wealth is yet every where the object of the ambition of individuals and nations; the cause of their quarrels and contentions, and but too often the reward of violence, of fraud and injustice, and of the infraction of all laws human and divine. Every where poverty, though praised, commended, and ranked among the virtues most honourable to humanity, is regarded as a misfortune, sometimes as a disgrace, and almost always as a symptom of vice, or of an inferiority of either physical or intellectual faculties, To reconcile this singular contradiction, to develope, its causes, and decide between the passions and the instructors of mankind, is certainly no easy task. It ought, however, to be less difficult, now that political economy indicates pure and salutary sources of wealth, the abundance of which may be increased by means couformable to reason, justice, and morality; equally beneficial to the rich and poor, and as lawful as honourable in their application. Yet, by a strange' fatality, this precious discovery has not cured public opinion of its prejudice against riches; and to write in behalf of wealth, is still as rash, as it is rare to see poverty honoured in a drawing-room. If political economy has hitherto been unable to make men relinquish their erroneous notions concern