By Say J.-B.
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Extra info for A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, Distribution and consumption of Wealth
In his treatise on Politics, Aristotle goes farther. He distinguishes natural from artificial production. He styles natural, whatever creates those objects of consumption required by a family, or, at most, whatever is obtained by exchanges in kind. No other advantage, according to him, is derived from real production; artificial gain he condemns. Besides, he does not support these opinions by any reasoning founded upon accurate observation. *he cause of our always being misled in political economy, whenever we have subjected its phenomena to mathematical calculation.
Disputants, infected with every kind of prejudice, haver with a sort of doctorial confidence, remarked, that both nations and individuals sufficiently well understand how to improve their fortunes without any knowledge of the nature of wealth, and that this knowledge is in itself a purely speculative and useless inquiry. This is but saying that we know perfectly well how to live and breathe, without any knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and that these sciences are, therefore, superfluous. Such a proposition would not be tenable ; but what should we say if it were maintained, and by a class of doctors, too, who, whilst decrying the science of medicine, should themselves subject you to a treatment founded upon antiquated empiricism and the most absurd prejudices; who, rejecting all regular and systematic instruction, in spite of your remonstrances, should perform upon your own body the most bloody experiments; and whose orders should be enforced with the weight and solemnity of laws, and, finally, carried into execution by a host of clerks and soldiers ?
Indeed, this author in his Dialogues on the Corn Trade, published in France a long time afterwards, has himself, In a very peculiar manner, pronounced his own condemnation. " A truth,"