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far larger considerations than pure Political Economy affords—that he gives that well-grounded feeling of command over the principles of the subject for pur. poses of practice, owing to which the “Wealth of Nations,” alone among treatises on Political Econ. omy, has not only been popular with general readers, but has impressed itself strongly on the minds of men of the world and of legislators.
It appears to the present writer, that a work similar in its object and general conception to that of Adam Smith, but adapted to the more extended knowledge and improved ideas of the present age, is the kind of contribution which Political Economy at present requires. The “Wealth of Nations” is in many parts obsolete, and in all, imperfect. Political Economy, properly so called, has grown up almost from infancy since the time of Adam Smith: and the philosophy of society, from which practically that eminent thinker never separated his more peculiar theme, though still in a very early stage of its prog. ress, has advanced many steps beyond the point at which he left it. No attempt, however, has yet been made to combine his practical mode of treating his subject with the increased knowledge since acquired of its theory, or to exhibit the economical phenomena of society in the relation in which they stand to the best social ideas of the present time, as he did, with such admirable success, in reference to the philosophy of his century.
Such is the idea which the writer of the present work has kept before him. To succeed even par. tially in realizing it, would be a sufficiently useful achievement, to induce him to incur willingly all the chances of failure. It is requisite, however, to add, that although his object is practical, and, as far as the nature of the subject admits, popular, he has not attempted to purchase either of those advantages by the sacrifice of strict scientific reasoning. Though he desires that his treatise should be more than a mere exposition of the abstract doctrines of Political Econ. omy, he is also desirous that such an exposition should be found in it.
The present fifth edition has been revised through. out, and the facts, on several subjects, brought down to a later date than in the former editions. Addi. tional arguments and illustrations have been inserted where they seemed necessary, but not in general at any considerable length.
CHAPTER II. Of Labour, as an Agent of Production.
§ 1. Labour employed either directly about the thing produced,
or in operations preparatory to its production, . .
2. Labour employed in producing subsistence for subsequent
labour, . . . . . . . . . .
– in producing materials, .
- or implements,
3. Examination of some cases illustrative of the idea of Capital,
6. Capital is kept up, not by preservation, but by perpetual re-
production, . . . . . . . . .
CHAPTER VI. Of Circulating and Fixed Capital.
3. — this seldom if ever occurs, . . . . . . 134