New PDF release: A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production,

By Say J.-B.

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

Sample text

When it was demonstrated that all bodies are expanded by heat, this truth could no longer be called in question. 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.

Trifling of his work ;* but, like the economists, he almost invariably founds a principle upon some gratuitous assumption. 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.

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. Smiths writings, did not lead its author to any important conclusions, but merely gave birth to a few scattered hints. A want of connexion in his views, and of precision in his terms, have rendered his Essay so vague and obscure, that no mfltructio • whatever can be derived from it.

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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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