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By Say J.-B.

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Extra info for A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, Distribution and consumption of Wealth

Example text

Smith found it to be derived from the labour of man, which he ought to have denominated industry, from its being a more comprehensive and significant term than labour. From this fruitful demonstration he deduced numerous and important conclusions respecting the causes which, from checking the development of the productive powers of labour, are prejudicial to the growth of wealth; and as they are * During the same year that Dr. " This striking passage, in which reproduction is more clearly characterised than m uny part of Dr.

Moral and political science present truths equally indisputable, but of more difficult solution. In these sciences, every individual considers himself not only as being entitled to make discoveries, but as being also authorized to pronounce upon the discoveries of others; yet how few persons acquire competent knowledge, and views sufficiently enlarged, to become assured that the subject upon which they thus venture to pronounce judgment is thoroughly understood by them in all its bearings. In society, one is astonished to find the most abstruse questions as quickly decided as if every circumstance, which, in any way, could and ought to affect the decision, were known.

Now, an hypothesis may indeed be resorted to, in order to exemplify and elucidate the correctness of an author's general reasoning, but never can be sufficient to establish a fundamental truth. Political economy has only become a science since it has been confined to the results of inductive investigation. Turgot was himself too good a citizen, not sincerely to esteem as good citizens as the economists; and accordingly, when in power, he deemed it advantageous to countenance them. The economists, in their turn, found their account in passing off so enlightened an individual and minister of state as one of their adepts; the opinions of Turgot, however, were not borrowed from their school, but derived from the nature of things; and although on many important points of doctrine he may have been deceived, the measures of his administration, either planned or executed, are amongst the most brilliant ever conceived by any statesman.

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A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, Distribution and consumption of Wealth by Say J.-B.


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