a system of political economy

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: . L I r, !' A u i UN I V K i;s I 'I'V ) K : CALII''nKNlA. ' '..,. . . BOOK L—PRODUCTION. CHAPTER I.—WEALTH. NATURE OF WEALTH—DESIRE FOR WEALTH—AVERSION TO LABOUR— FALLACY OF OVER PRODUCTION—MEANS OF ESTIMATING WEALTH—ELEMENTS OF PRODUCTION. Before explaining the laws which govern the production of wealth, it is necessary to explain what wealth is. The subject is so familiar that an explanation is hardly needed; but it is necessary to caution the reader against some mistakes which are liable to occur when the term is used without much thought being bestowed on its meaning. Wealth consists of all articles, the possession of which affords pleasure to anybody. It is sufficient to enumerate food, clothing, houses, carriages, books and pictures, to show what is meant, but a complete catalogue would be almost infinite. Some writers are of opinion that the air we breathe ought not to be considered wealth, and some think that the skill of artificers ought to be considered such, but there is in reality no difference of opinion between those who take opposite sides in this controversy, and it is not worth while to discuss it here, for a strict definition of a term in popular use seldom conduces to clearness of exposition. Mr. Ruskin, indeed, contends that a strict definition of wealth is necessary to a proper comprehension of the science, and says that to omit it, is as fatal a mistake as it would be in astronomy to omit to define the difference between fixed and wandering stars. But even his own illustration fails him, for no line can be drawn between these two kinds of stars. Many of those which are called fixed are known to move, many others are supposed to, and, as some astronomers think that the whole stellar system revolves round a centre, it may hereafter b...
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