1Political economy, as a science of a legislator, proposes:

  1. To provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people by enabling them to provide it for themselves
  2. To supply the state with a revenue for the public services
2The progress of opulence in different nations has created two systems of political economy:
  1. The system of commerce
  2. The system of agriculture

I shall explain both, beginning with the system of commerce.

Chapter 1: The Principle of the Commercial or Mercantile System

1 The popular notion that wealth consists in metal money or in gold and silver naturally arises from the double function of money as:

2A rich country, like a rich man, is supposed to be abounding in money;

Giovanni da Pian del Carpine

Plano Carpino was a monk sent as ambassador from the King of France to one of Genghis Khan's sons.

  • Among the Mongols and shepherd nations who are ignorant of the use of money, cattle are the instruments of commerce and the measures of value.
  • John Locke
    John Locke

    3 Mr. Locke distinguished money from other movable goods.

    4Others admit that if a nation could be entirely isolated, it would not matter how much money circulated in it.

    5Because of these popular notions, all European nations studied every means of accumulating gold and silver, to little purpose.

    6When those countries became commercial, the merchants found this prohibition extremely inconvenient.


    Those arguments were partly solid and partly sophistical.

    10 However, those arguments convinced the parliaments, councils of princes, nobles, and country gentlemen.

    Those arguments produced the wished-for effect.

    The inland or home trade is the most important of all trades.

    11A country that has no mines of its own must draw its gold and silver from overseas, in the same way as one that has no vineyards must draw its wines from others.

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    Next:Book 4, Chapter 1b Effectual demand and demand motive