Images de page


THE Author presents his work to the fair thinking among his countrymen, and especially to the teachers of Economic Science. This volume is the product of years of combined thinking and teaching, and is offered as a modest contribution to the growth of that science which seeks to explain and promote the industrial progress of the world. It is an essentially new statement of the facts and principles of Political Economy. It may seem absurd to expect any new discoveries in a field whose earliest surveys are recorded in the theogonies of India, Egypt, and Greece, and some of whose grandest features were evidently seen by Moses, Plato, and Aristotle. But, though this field has repeatedly and perpetually been under survey by statesmen, publicists, and philosophers, whose attention has been attracted to the causes of human progress and well-being, it is presenting ever fresh phenomena, with the progress of mankind in arts and civilization, and demands, therefore, ever fresh study and statement. Even if the grander features of the great landscape do not change, one who surveys them from some new hill-top, to which his business or his tastes have led him, may be able to present them in new relations and with a fresh perspective. It is in these new relations and this new perspective that the author believes his book will be found essentially new. The fresh views presented are chiefly the following:

1. The clear recognition of the three great economic facts of Wants, Work, and Wealth, as the principal and constant factors of the industries, and as constituting, therefore, the field of Economic Science.

2. The recognition of man, and of the two great crystallizations of man into society and into states, as presenting three distinct fields of

Economic Science, each having its own set of problems, and each its own species of quantities or factors, to be taken into account in the solution of those problems.

3. A new definition and description of Value, as made up of its three essential and ever-present factors, forming the triangle of Value, and evidenced by the clear explanation they afford of the various fluctuations of prices.

4. The new division and distribution of the discussion arising out of these new fundamental facts and definitions.

5. The aid rendered to the reader and student by the diagrams and synoptical views. These, though somewhat artificial, will, it is hoped, be found to serve as a map to the territory to be traversed, and helpful to a better understanding of the true relations of its parts and divisions.

It was the primary purpose of the Author to present to his countrymen his views upon the subjects discussed. He hoped thus to contribute to the better public understanding of a branch of knowledge of great importance to intelligent citizenship. He has given his book a form adapting it also to the use of the schools and colleges, partly from the force of habit, and partly because he recognizes the truth that, through the schools, ideas flow, by wide and natural channels, into the currents of the nation's life.

Without further explanation of his work, the Author cheerfully submits it to the inevitable and, he hopes, candid judgment of his contemporaries.

[blocks in formation]
« PrécédentContinuer »