Recent Political Economy

Recent Political Economy

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Recent Political Economy was originally published in 1867. It’s a review of recent work in the field, centering on Fawcett’s Manual of Political Economy (1863).

Political economy is little understood even by educated men. A few of its doctrines indeed; those for example, relating to the division of labors and free trade; have taken their place in the familiar philosophy of Western Europe. Men learn them however, by rote, not by study.

The English are willing to believe that the subject is one peculiarly their own. It is true that the great work of Adam Smith, if it did not lay the foundation, yet certainly raised the greater part of the present superstructure: but this national good fortune no more gives us a monopoly of the science,than the greatness of Bacon gives us a monopoly of inductive philosophy.

Hume, Malthus, Anderson, West, Ricardo, Tooke, Gibbon Wakefield; to say nothing of living writers; have all added to our discoveries of truth; and we may fairly say that Englishmen have contributed a very large share of the admitted doctrines. But it was a Frenchman, Jean Baptiste Say, who first arranged those doctrines in a scientific form: it is the French who have written that excellent dictionary to which one always refers for information even as to English writers.

Chapters include: First Principles, Two Propositions as to Capital, Rent, Profit, Wages, Trades' Union, Combinations, and Strikes, Actual Wages, Cooperative Societies, Law of Settlement, Theory of Populationand Rate of Interest.

William Lucas Sargant is the author of An Undiscriminating Income Tax Reconsidered (1862) and Social Innovators.