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PRINCIPLES

OF

POLITICAL ECONOMY,

CHAPTER I.

WEALTH AND ITS TRANSMUTATIONS.

The most obvious, though certainly not the most important, difference between a civilized community and a nation of savages consists in the vastly greater abundance, possessed by the former, of all the means of comfort and enjoyment. These means, including the necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries of life, are chiefly material objects, — such as manufactured goods, articles of food and clothing, ships and buildings, the useful and the precious metals, tools and machines, and ornaments, or things designed to gratify the taste and the senses. Some, however, are immaterial^ and yet are just as much objects of desire, just as much objects of barter and sale, as cloth and bread. The legal knowledge and acumen of a lawyer, for instance, the vocal powers of a remarkable singer, the mimetic talent of an actor, the practised hand of an ingenious and thoroughly-trained artisan, all command a price in the market quite as readily as any goods in a shop. "When an occasion arises, we buy the services of a lawyer or a physician, just as we buy a ticket to a concert, or an instrument of music for a drawing-room.*

* Many Political Economists exclude immaterial products from their definition of wealth, because the labor which is devoted to such products "ends in immediate enjoyment, without any increase of the accumulated stock of permanent means of

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