The Laws of Supply and Demand

The Laws of Supply and Demand

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Excerpt from The Laws of Supply and Demand: With Special Reference to Their Influence on Over-Production Duction and Unemployment

It may be considered a mild achievement in these tempestuous times to write a work on political economy from which all discussion of tariff and free trade is rigorously excluded. In the following pages free trade is, I believe, nowhere specifically mentioned and where the word tariff occurs it is either in some passage purely descriptive or else accompanied by a statement excluding such parts of the topic as would lead on to the discussion of an unnecessarily vexed question. The operation of tariffs is of course controlled by the laws of supply and demand, but not peculiarly so and not in any way exhibiting a difference of principle with the conduct of unrestricted commerce. It was therefore quite legitimate not to take this young cuckoo-bird of political economy into our nest, where he would infallibly have encroached on space, until there was room for nothing else.

The present study commences with a reference to a dinner-table conversation in December, 1910, which is only worth mentioning in order to give the assurance that it is no rhetorical device to introduce cut-and-dried theories previously formed, but that it is the true starting-point of the inquiry. The only part of this book written out of order was the determination of the theory of value in Chapter IV. and that is necessarily the preliminary of all economic discussion.

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