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the passage of the blood from the extremities to the heart and back again from the heart to the extremities, so, when money is paid to the public treasury and again paid out on the public service, the State gains vitality by the process. From the fact that the material of money is itself of value, Hobbes infers the uselessness of attempts to profit by the debasement of the currency. He does not make any attempt to discuss the question of prices. He speaks, indeed, in one place of “the value or worth of a man being, like that of all other things, his price, that is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his power, and therefore not absolute, but dependent on the need and judgment of another,” adding that: “As in other things, so in men, not the seller but the buyer determines the price. For let men, as most men do, rate themselves at the highest value they can, yet their true value is no more than it is esteemed by others."1 "The value of all things contracted for is measured by the appetite of the contractors, and therefore the just value is that which they be contented to give," and therefore there is no injustice in selling dearer than we buy, or giving more to a man than he deserves. It is clear that Hobbes, in speaking of what has since been called " value in exchange,” has not distinguished it from “value in use.' The latter sense influences his reasoning much more than the former, from the tendency of his mind to lay emphasis on the intensity of individual desire. The same tendency appears in his view of taxation. It must (as we have seen) mean equality of burdens; and, moreover, it must fall not on income, but on expenditure. We should tax what a man actually consumes on his own enjoyments, and then we are not only doing what is best in principle, but doing it in the way least unpleasant to the person taxed. Taxation may also be a means of checking luxury and extravagant outlay on foreign goods; and, if we can tax the gains of mercantile companies, so much the better, for their aim is plainly private advantage, which is by no means necessarily coincident
1 Leviathan, ch. x.
2 Leviathan, ch. xv. 3 De Cive, pp. 218, 219. Roscher points out that the rise of the Middle Classes in the days of the Parliamentary Wars was the occasion of Excise and similar duties. Englische Volkswirthschaftslehre, p. 52.
with public benefit.' Which ways of acquiring wealth are (in his view) of public benefit appears, to some extent, from his general description of the sources of wealth. The citizens of a State may grow rich, he says,” in three ways—by labour, by saving, and by the natural increase of their possessions. Some would add a fourth way, by war and plunder, but this is a lottery in which men as often lose as win. Only the two first are indispensable conditions of life and well-being; and only to the three first should the rulers give heed in their legislation. Their laws should favour good cultivation and fishing; they should discourage luxury, forbid idleness, and stimulate labour. They should honour the arts of navigation that are so useful to trade, the mechanical arts that are so productive, and the mathematical sciences that are so helpful to all the rest. But the laws, while they regulate the free action of men, must not discourage individual initiative, but steer a safe middle course, with the public good as the standard of action. In regard to those who through the accidents of life have fallen into penury, it belongs to the Sovereign power to see that the necessaries of life are supplied to them lest they be tempted to do violence or robbery; they ought not to be left to the uncertain charity of individual citizens. Such as are able-bodied should be set to labour in public works. Finally, he speaks of what he calls the procreation of a commonwealth. If the numbers of the people at home are growing too large, let them be transplanted to lands less fully peopled ; this leads not to the extermination of the inhabitants already there, but to the better cultivation of their soil, though, in the end, if the earth is too strait for the feeding of its inhabitants, there is no resource but war.
From the above account of the economical views of Hobbes, it will be clear that, though not yet marked off even as a separate branch of political philosophy, economical inquiry was beginning to include nearly all the points now embraced in modern economics. It was not simply confined, as in the earlier Continental writings, to the Finance of a Monarchy. It included discussions of the causes of wealth, and even touched (however lightly) on the definition of economical terms, such as price and value, distribution and exchange ; and it included a discussion of the social questions to which Sir Thomas More had attached so much importance. In this last matter, political philosophy was perhaps, not much more than a commentary on contemporary legislation.
1 Leviathan, ch. xxii.
2 De Cive, pp. 221, 222.
Political economy was thus growing up in England as an application of political philosophy. The philosophy of Hobbes, from its close resemblance on many points to the philosophy of Bentham, seems to furnish directly or indirectly many of the premises of what has been called the classical school of modern economics. He regards the world of men as a multitude of competing individuals, whose separate selfish actions lead to an unintended social benefit. But whether this involves the moral disintegration of Society or not, depends on the view taken of the competing individuals. If, like Hobbes, we regard them as anti-social by nature, and social only by a happy invention of farsighted selfishness, then the criticisms applied to Hobbes' political philosophy apply to modern political economy. But, if men are, as Grotius thought, in their nature not anti-social, but in the widest sense social, then their competition as individuals may result in a social benefit that is not against their will, even if not directly the effect of their wills. This result would be entirely analogous to other "sponte acta," of which we have heard already in Plato's Laws and elsewhere, though belief in spontaneous social products was logically impossible to any philosophers who regarded the individual man as the starting point, and supposed him to form societies by the union of his particular will with another in a formal contract. But it is, perhaps, one of the most searching objections to such an individualistic philosophy, that it conceives two parties, who have, by hypothesis, no common understanding already, to have enough of it to agree about the terms of a binding contract. If there be any political economists who would deduce all intercourse, or even all commercial intercourse, from the deliberate initiative of individuals, living, till then, in absolute separation from each other, they must encounter the same objection.
i Society progresses not from contract to status, but from status to contract. See Maine, Ancient Law.
It was, howeve, a service on the part of Hobbes to have laid emphasis on the important part played by the individual in the moulding of the world of men; and his logical difficulty in finding his way out of the individual into the Society is paralleled by the difficulty which metaphysical philosophy was then beginning to find, in getting out of the Ego into the world of things.
Spinoza (1632-77), in his unfinished and posthumous Tractatus Politicus (written shortly before his death, and with full knowledge of the writings of Hobbes), shows us, indeed, how a theory identical in principle with that of Hobbes was modified when stated by a metaphysician of the first rank. For our present purpose we should gain nothing by entering into the views of Spinoza, as they neither bear on economical subjects, nor exert an influence on political philosophy apart from Hobbes. Discrimen inter me et Hobbesium (he says in a letter dated June, 1674, Works, ed. Bruder (Tauchnitz), vol. ii., Epistola 1. p. 298), in hoc consistit quod ego naturale jus semper sartum tectum conservo, quodque supremo magistratui in qualibet urbe non plus in subditos juris quam juxta mensuram potestatis, quâ subditum superat, competere statuo, -quod in statu naturali semper locum habet. See T. H. Green, Philos. Works (1886), vol. ii. p. 306, cf. 355-365.
For a very different reason we must pass over Samuel Pufendorf (1632-94), whose books De jure Nature et Gentium (1672), and De Officio Hominis et Civis (1673), found a wide circle of readers, and has preserved the fame of the writer for two centuries." But he was the Martin Tupper of jurisprudence, “vir parum jurisconsultus et minime philosophus" (Leibnitz, Epist. vii., quoted by Lorimer, Institutes of Law, p. 293). He adopts a compromise between Grotius and Hobbes. Men's ruling motive is self-interest; but self-interest involves society and social sentiments; there is not only an immediate, but a wide and remote interest. The position bears a certain analogy to that of John Mill on Utilitarianism.
Pufendorf was the first of modern writers to give prominence to the distinction between duties of perfect obligation (the province of jurisprudence), and duties of imperfect obligation (the province of ethics). Kant has stated this doctrine in its most intelligible form ; but the balance of opinion is certainly against it.
On the other hand, Pufendorf's ample economic discussions of money, price, and taxation in his treatise on Natural Law (bk. V.), would give him a place, though a humble one, in the history of economic theories; and the venerable economic historian, Prof. Roscher, has left on record his emphatic disagreement from the judgment of Leibnitz; he places Pufendorf among the most eminent of political and economical writers (Geschichte d. Nat. Oekon, in Deutschland, p. 305).
1 Readers of Fielding will remember the reference in Tom Jones (1749).
HARRINGTON (1611-77). As More was to Machiavelli in the sixteenth century HARRINGTON is to Hobbes in the seventeenth. After a critical and cynical view of political philosophy, we have a political ideal. The prominence in Harrington's Commonwealth of Oceana (1658) of regulations for the establishment and good working of a satisfactory machinery of government is significant as reflecting the change in the English nation. Political self-government was, for the time, a more pressing question than social reform. At such a time “the errors of the people are occasioned by their governors.” 1
Harrington follows Grotius and Hooker in standing fast by the notion of a right reason, which is the law of nature, and which is not (as in Hobbes) identified with individual interest,” or the ruler's interest ; but is identical with the “interest of mankind.”
A popular government must be the ideal government, because a popular government comes nearest to secure the interest of mankind as distinguished from private gain ; and the empire of laws as distinguished from that of men.
The people must decide, for the people collectively are wiser than the individuals, while the opposite is true of an aristocracy ; but the few wise men must advise and must conduct researches, and make discoveries. Oceana is to have a Senate to debate, a popular assembly to resolve, and magistrates to carry out the resolutions. Elections are to be held, as in Venice, by ballot and rotation.
This ideal government will preserve a harmony of the
1 Oceana (IV ks., ed. 1737, Millar), p. 76. Second Part of the Preliminaries. Compare p. 177.
2. Cf. The Prerogative of Pop. Gov. (IV ks., 1737), p. 252. 3 Oceana (IVks., 1737), pp. 155, 158.