A Treatise on Political Economy: Or the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Wealth

A Treatise on Political Economy: Or the Production, Distribution and Consumption of Wealth


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Jean-Baptiste Say's groundbreaking economic treatise concerns the topics of wealth generation, distribution and expenditure. It remains evocative, fresh and thought provoking centuries after its original publication.

The treatise is divided into three distinct books:

In the first, Say attempts to define the term 'production'. Fascinated by the way in which economies work and unite towards a common goal of productive prosperity, it is here that say maps the industries and actors behind such activity. Rights, such as those of property and trade overseas to and from colonial interests, are extensively discussed. The final chapters are concerned with monetary theory, and the uses and functions of cash in a society.

The second book discusses the distribution of the wealth created through production. How the law of supply and demand affects the generation of wealth, and how that wealth is distributed to wider society via wages and other means, is examined. Say poignantly notes how certain products become almost indispensable to most of society, and posits that the sale of such goods as clothing will - in the long run - be more profitable than even the most exotic and rare goods, by virtue of the quantity sold.

The final book leads logically on from the second, focusing upon the consumption of the generated wealth. Say is careful to distinguish between productive and unproductive kinds of consumption - for example, noting that while farmers might once have eaten their own produce, with additional land and labor it is possible to also sell on the surplus food they have produced. Say also examines the effects of such cumulative production, and of the importance of taxation and public accounts.

This lengthy treatise was first published in France at a time of both political and economic upheaval across Europe; the Napoleonic Wars had commenced, and the ensuing conflict would transform both the social policies and economics of Europe. Particularly in Great Britain, the ensuing Industrial Revolution had already radically transformed the process by which capital, production and wealth were generated.

Amid these rapid developments, historians and economists of the early 19th century developed their views and commonly revised their works. Jean-Baptiste Say was no exception: this English printing of his treatise is adapted from the fifth and sixth editions which appeared in 1826 and 1834, respectively.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781974663934
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/18/2017
Pages: 302
Sales rank: 864,340
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.63(d)

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