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K. Marx_Contribution_to_the_Critique_of_Political_Economy

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People of Ireland, and of
the Highlands of Scotland ... into the rest of Great Britain". This would result in the saving of
labour-time, in increasing productivity of labour, and "the King and his Subjects would thereby become
more Rich and Strong" (Political Aritlmetick, Chapter 4 [p. 225]). Also in the chapter of his Political
Arithmetick in which -- at a time when Holland was still the predominant trading nation and France
seemed to be on the way to becoming the principal trading power -- he proves that England is destined to
conquer the world market: "That the King of England's Subjects, have Stock competent and convenient,
to drive the Trade of the whole Commercial World" (op. cit., Chapter 10 [p. 272]). 'That the Impediments
of England's greatness, are but contingent and removable" (p. 247 et seq.). A highly original sense of
humour pervades all his writings. Thus he shows for example that the conquest of the world market by
Holland, which was then regarded as the model country by English economists just as Britain is now
regarded as the model country by continental economists, was brought about by perfectly natural causes
"without such Angelical Wits and Judgments, as some attribute to the Hollanders" (op. cit., pp. 175-16).
He champions freedom of conscience as a condition of trade, because the poor are diligent and "believe
that Labour and Industry is their Duty towards God" so long as they are permitted "to think they have the
more Wit and Understanding, especially of the things of God, which they think chiefly belong to the
Poor". "From whence it follows that Trade is not fixt to any Species of Religion as such; but rather ... to
the Heterodox part of the whole" (op. cit., pp. 183-86). He recommends special public contribution for
rogues, since it would be better for the general public to impose a tax on themselves for the benefit of the
rogues than to be taxed by them (op. cit., p. 199). On the other hand, he rejects taxes which transfer
wealth from industrious people to those who "do nothing at all, but Eat and Drink, Sing, Play, and
Dance: nay such as Study the Metaphysicks" [op. cit., p. 198]. Petty's writings have almost become
bibliographical curiosities and are only available in old inferior editions. 'This is the more surprising
since William Petty is not only the father of English political economy but also an ancestor of Henry
Petty, alias Marquis of Lansdowne, the Nestor of the English Whigs. But the Lansdowne family could
hardly prepare a complete edition of Petty's works without prefacing it with his biography, and what is
true with regard to the origin of most of the big Whig families, applies also in this case -- the less said of
it the better. The army surgeon, who was a bold thinker but quite unscrupulous and just as apt to plunder
in Ireland under the aegis of Cromwell as to fawn upon Charles II to obtain the title of baronet to
embellish his trash, is not a suitablc image of an ancestor for public display. In most of the writings
published during his lifetime, moreover, Petty seeks to prove that England's golden age was the reign of
Charles II, a rather heterodox view for hereditary exploiters of the "glorious revolution". Return
3. As against the "black art of finance" of his time, Boisguillebert says: "The science of finance consists
of nothing but a thorough knowledge of the interests of agriculture and commerce" (Le détail de la
France, 1697. In Eugene Dalre's edition of Economistes financiers du XVIII siècle, Paris, 1843, Vol. I, p.
4. But not Romance political economy, since the contrast of English and French economists is repeated
by the Italians in their two schools one at Naples and the other at Milan; whereas the Spaniards of the
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earlier period are either simply Mercantilists and modified Mercantilists like Ustariz, or follow Adam
Smith in observing the happy mean like Jovellanos (see his Obras, Barcelona, 1839-40)
5. "True wealth ... is the complete enjoyment not only of the necessaries of life but also of all the
superfluities and of everything that can give pleasure to the senses" (Boisguillebert, Dissertation sur la
nature de la richesse, etc., p. 403). But whereas Petty was just a frivolous, grasping, unprincipled
adventurer, Boisguillebert, although he was one of the intendants of Louis XIV, stood up for the interests
of the oppressed classes with both great intellectual force and courage.
6 . French socialism as represented by Proudhon suffers from the same national failing.
7 . Benjamin Franklin, A Modest Inquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency, in The
Works of Benjamin Franklin, edit. by J. Sparks, Vol. II, Boston, 1836.
8. Remarks and Facts relative to the American Paper Money, 1764 (l.c.).
9. See Papers on American Politics, and Remarks and Facts relative to the American Paper Money, 1764
10. See for instance Galiani, Della Moneta, Vol. III, in Scrittori classici Italiani di Economia Politica
(published by Custodi), Parte Moderna, Milano, 1803. He says: "It is only toil" (fatica) "which gives
value to things", p. 74. The term "fatica" for labour is characteristic of the southerner.
11. Steuart's work An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, Being an Essay on the Science of
Domestic Policy in Free Nations was first published in London in 1767, in two quarto volumes, ten years
earlier than Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. I quote from the Dublin edition of 1770.
12 . Steuart, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 181-83.
13 . Ibid., pp. 361-62.
14. Steuart therefore declares that the patriarchal form of agriculture, whose direct aim is the production
of use-values for the owner of the land, is an abuse, although not in Sparta or Rome or even in Athens,
but certainly in the industrial countries of the eighteenth century. This "abusive agriculture" is not "trade"
but a mere means of subsistence. Just as bourgeois agriculture clears the land of superfluous mouths, so
bourgeois manufacture clears the factory of superfluous hands.
15. Adam Smith writes for instance -- "Equal quantities of labour, at all times and places, may be said to
be of equal value to the labourer. In his ordinary state of health, strength, and spirits; in the ordinary
degree of his skill and dexterity, he must always lay down the same portion of his ease, his liberty, and
his happiness. The price which he pays must always be the same, whatever may be the quantity of goods
which he receives in return for it. Of these, indeed, it may sometimes purchase a greater and sometimes a
smaller nuantity, but it is their value which varies, not that of the labour which purchases them.... Labour
alone, therefore, never varying in its own value, is alone the ultimate and real standard by which the
value of all commodities can ... be estimated.... It is their real price...." [Wealth of Nations. Book I,
Chapter V.]
16 . David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, Third Edition, London, 1821,
p. 3.
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17. Sismondi, Etudes sur l'économie politique, tome II, Bruxelles, 1838. "Trade has reduced the whole
matter to the antithesis of use-value and exchange-value." P. 162.
18 . Ibid., pp. 163-66 et seq.
19 . It probably assumes the most trivial form in J. B. Say's annotations to the French translation --
prepared by Constancio -- of Ricardo's work, and the most pedantic and presumptuous in Mr. Macleod's
recently published Theory of Exchange, London, 1858.
20. This objection, which was advanced against Ricardo by bourgeois economists, was later taken up by
socialists. Assuming that the formula was theoretically sound, they alleged that practice stood in conflict
with the theory and demanded that bourgeois society should draw the practical conclusions