Principles of Political Economy

Cover of book Principles of Political Economy
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: BOOK I. WEALTH AN


D VALUE. CHAPTER I. WEALTH. I. The Desire for Wealth. To be rich, in the popular sense of the term, is for a man to have the means of obtaining for himself good food, good clothes, good housing, and careful nursing if he falls ill; to be able to keep sufficiently warm in winter and agreeably cool in summer, to have easy means of access and of transit to wherever he wishes to go, and to partake of all the pleasures offered by civilized life to those who can profit by them. It is, too, to be exempt from the necessity of working for a livelihood, to be free to do as he pleases, and to follow his tastes and his fancy. Finally, it is to be released from all anxiety as to his future or that of his children. Wealth considered from this point of view depends on the quantity of goods that a man possesses, and is synonymous with abundance. But the word " wealth " presupposes something more than this ; it indicates a state of superiority, and consequently implies inequality of conditions. It points out the privileged position of a man by which he is enabled to command the labor of a multitude of his fellow-creatures, or what comes to the same thing, to dispose of the products of their labor. " Riches is power," said Hobbes, and such, in truth, is the etymological meaning of theword (Reich, empire, power). Considered from this point of view wealth is a purely relative state, and depends far less on the quantity of goods possessed by a man than on that possessed by his fellows. If they have less than he has, he is rich ; if they have as much as he has, he is not rich. It is clear that if every one was rich, there would be no more rich men. It is not surprising, then, that from time immemorial wealth has always been ardently coveted by men; although t...

Principles of Political Economy
+Write review

User Reviews:

Write Review: