A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, by Say J.-B.

By Say J.-B.

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

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Xlv We are, however, not yet in possession of an established text-book on the science of political economy, in which the fruits of an enlarged and accurate observation are referred to general principles, that can be admitted by every reflecting mind; a work in which these results are so complete and well arranged as to afford to each other mutual support, and that may everywhere, and at all times, be studied with advantage. To prepare myself for attempting so useful a task, I have thought it necessary attentively to peruse what had been previously written on the same subject, and afterwards to forget it; to study these authors, that I might profit by the experience of so many competent inquirers who have preceded me; to endeavour to obliterate their impressions, not to be misled by any system; and at all times be enabled freely to consult the nature and course of things, as actually existing in society.

The greater part of them are of a controversial character, in which the principles of the science are merely laid down for thu purpose of maintaining a favourite hypothesis ; but from which, nevertheless, many »mportant facts, and even sound principles, when they coincide with the views of their authors, may be collected. The " Essai sur les finances de la Grand-Bretagne" by GentZy and apology for Mr. Pitt's system of finance, is of this description; so also i« Thornton's Inquiry into the nature and effects of paper credit, written with a view to jup tify the suspension of cash payments by the bank of England ; as well as a great nun* bet of other works on the same subject, and in relation to the corn law*.

Any person, however, well acquainted with the principles of this science, would find no difficulty in arriving at the same conclusions. The time is not distant when not only writers on finance, but on history and geography, will be required to possess a knowledge of at least the fundamental principles of political economy. A modern treatise on Universal Geography, (vol. " Unfortunately, every one of these positions may be erroneous. National revenue, necessarily consisting either of the income of the public property, or of the contributions, in the shape of taxes, drawn from the incomes of individuals, does not depend upon the number, but upon the wealth, and above all, upon t incomes of the people.

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