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Sample text

But though Smith's lectures went far towards what was afterwards called a theory of production, they failed to put forward anything like what was afterwards called the theory of distribution. They said a good deal about general wealth-the wealth of society as a whole-but very little about the differences in the wealth enjoyed by different classes within the society. For the origin of this side of general theory, as well as for the particular form taken by the theory of production, we have to look across the Channel to France on the eve of her Revolution.

Etc. , etc. " (Eloge de Gou-rnay in CEuv-res, Vol. I. pp. 266--9). '' The merchants and manufacturers of France do not seem to have been attracted by de Gournay's slogan, but the cry for freedom from regimentation went very well with the cult of Nature which was becoming prevalent among the political thinkers; and as, of all the arts, agriculture seems nearest to Nature and was in France particularly oppressed by regimentation it is not surprising that the cry for freedom became coupled with the championship of the economic importance of agriculture as compared with other industries.

The First Part is to some extent a general introduction to Political Economy, beginning with a definition of wealth, and then discussing the association of people in societies, in villages, towns, cities and capital cities; the wages of labour; the theory of value; the par between labour and land; the dependence of all classes upon landed proprietors; the multiplication of population; and the use of gold and silver. , and is a complete little treatise on currency, probably more profound than anything of the same size since published on the subject.

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