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1. Definition.-Political economy is the science of the industries. Its aim is to investigate and explain the nature, relations, and laws of these three constant factors and elements of the industries-human wants, work, and wealth.

Man is a being of many wants. Out of his wants springs his work to gratify them. Out of his work come the goods which he calls wealth. This is the simplest history of human industry.

In this industry, wants, wealth, and work are ever present factors. They are its essential and significant terms, and, with any one of them lacking, industry, in its full meaning, could not exist. Without wants, man would not work. Without work, no wealth could come. If wealth-that is, goods-did not result, no one would work. Thus the three terms are involved in every full idea of industry.

2. Sphere and science of industry.-The industries fill the world. They occupy the daily life of mankind. They feed and support the populations of the globe. They are the primary and principal element in civilization, and they fill the chief chapter in modern history-in all true history. Constitut

ing the largest and most conspicuous part of the personal life and social connections of mankind, they, more and more, as civilization advances, engage the attention and absorb the energies of communities and of states.

The study of these industries necessarily interests all who care for mankind, and it grows in importance with every advance in their character, and with every enlargement of their sphere and power. It is the study of man and of society, in the largest field of their activities, and in the line of their most potential movements.

The name, Political Economy, given to this science, implies the economy of states or nations, and has been properly objected to as too restricted and inapplicable. Several other titles have been suggested and employed, but this has become familiar by long, popular use, and is now generally accepted as covering the whole field of economic science. It is better to follow the common usage without debate, than to discard a name which, however poorly chosen, a century's use has made significant.

To gain a clear and complete view of this science, we must enter thoughtfully the wide domains filled with the incessant stir of daily working life. We must observe and question carefully all the facts presented by the busy millions of men who are covering continents and oceans with their work, and who are conquering into use and service every form of matter and all the potencies of nature.

We must watch the development of labor, from its rudest beginning in the savage, to its highest achievements in the arts of civilized life. We must follow its triumphs, from the simplest fruit plucked by the child, to its mighty outcome in the commerce of cities, empires, and peoples.

All the phenomena found in this great field, innumerable and varied as they are, will be seen to spring from a few simple forces, and to be controlled by a few principles, which it is the business of political economy to trace and describe.


3. The factors described.-The first step in any science is to discover, if possible, the simple, elementary facts. If we look steadily into any part of the field before us, shall see, gradually emerging from the wide confusion, the three primary facts named at the head of this chapter. The entire mass of phenomena ultimately resolves itself into these three. Throughout the whole field, and at each point, however simple, or however complex, the economic appearances, there will be:

1. Man's wants.—These are the impelling forces which push forward the entire movement, and give direction and meaning to it all. They include the endless range and the ceaseless repetitions of human reeds, desires, tastes, and appetites, physical or intellectual. They are the basis of all market demand--the compelling reason and final purpose of all industrial effort.

2. Man's work. This includes the actual movements in all arts, trades, and business. It comprises all the efforts which men make to create, procure, preserve, transport, or exchange the objects which satisfy their needs or gratify their desires-to secure pleasure or avoid pain. It covers the whole procession. of industrial acts and efforts, of body and mind.

3. Man's wealth.-This embraces all the products of work. It includes the great mass and countless forms of goods and possessions which come from the labor and tempt the cupidity of mankind, and which are the purposed aim and objects of all industrial efforts.

The word wealth is used, in political economy, to denote goods or valuable things, without reference to their quantity. In common speech, it usually implies an abundance of such goods. It is sometimes employed for natural resources, as the wealth of the soil or of the sea. Some economists have objected to its use because of this variety of meanings; but we must reject all common words if their loose colloquial or poetic use is allowed to spoil them for scientific purposes.

4. Field of economic science.-These three world-wide facts-want, work, wealth-thus understood and considered, fill the entire field of political economy. They are the fundamental facts with which the science is concerned.*

To impress this field more clearly at the outset upon the mind, let it be represented to the eye by the following diagram:

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In each of the primary facts, man must be understood as a constant and potential presence. It is not simply abstract wants, work, and wealth that economic science has to do with, but the humanity connected with them. It is the wanter and

his wants; the worker and his work; the owner and his wealth. Man stands at the beginning of political economy. Man, in

*Years after the author had made and presented this grand division of the subject to his classes, he met, in the "Harmonies Economiques," by Fred. Bastiat, Paris, 1850, the sentence, " Wants, efforts, satisfactions-this is the circle of political economy."

his great social and national organizations, stands at the end of it. It rises with his wants; it ends with his satisfactions. It sustains and penetrates his civilization, and is penetrated by every department of that civilization.

5. Relations of the factors. It is also important, and will prove useful, to note some of the more striking features and differences of these facts.

1. Wants are motive forces. Wealth is material result.

Work is productive movement.

2. Wants determine the work to be done, by determining the products wanted.

3. Wants exist in the mind alone, and can not be definitely measured. Work is force in action, and can only be measured by its results. Wealth is the material product of work and the object of desire, and takes its measure from both.

4. Wants are original. The others are derivative. Work is want in struggle and conflict. Wealth is want in victory, in satisfaction, and repose.

5. Wants look beyond work to its results. They intend wealth as their object; they accept work as a means.

6. The economic circle.-Some of the more important relations and reactions of these several classes of facts may be usefully represented to the eye by arranging them as sectors of a common circle-the great circle of man's industrial life. Each sector limits and is limited by the other



In the natural or historic order of movement of our circle, indicated by the arrows in the diagram, wants impel work; work produces wealth; wealth satisfies and stimulates afresh the wants.



But there is also a line of reactions moving in the opposite direction. Wealth once in existence aids and stimulates work;

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