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called the civilized world, all those earlier states which we previously passed in review, have continued in some part or other of the world, down to our own time. Hunting communities still exist in America, nomadic in Arabia and the steppes of Northern Asia; Oriental society is in essentials what it has always been; Russia and Hungary are even now, in many respects, the scarcely modified image of feudal Europe. Every one of the great types of human society, down to that of the Esquimaux or Patagonians, is still


These remarkable differences in the state of different portions of the human race, with regard to the production and distribution of wealth, must, like all other phenomena, depend on causes. And it is not a sufficient explanation to ascribe them exclusively to the degrees of knowledge, possessed at different times and places, of the laws of nature and the physical arts of life. Many other causes co-operate; and that very progress and unequal distribution of physical knowledge, are partly the effects, as well as partly the causes, of the state of the production and distribution of wealth.

In so far as the economical condition of nations turns upon the state of physical knowledge, it is a subject for the physical sciences, and the arts founded on them. But in so far as the causes are moral or psychological, dependent on institutions and social relations or on the principles of human nature, their investigation belongs not to physical, but to moral and social science, and is the object of what is called Political Economy.

The production of wealth; the extraction of the instruments of human subsistence and enjoyment from the materials of the globe; is evidently not an arbitrary thing. It has its necessary conditions. Of these, some are physical, depending on the properties of matter. These Political Economy does not investigate, but assumes; referring for proof to physical science or common experience. Combining with these facts of outward nature other truths which are laws of

human nature, it attempts to trace the secondary or derivative laws, by which the production of wealth is determined; and in which must lie the explanation of the diversities of riches and poverty in the present and past, and the ground of whatever progress in wealth is reserved for the future.

Unlike the laws of Production, those of Distribution are partly of human institution; since the manner in which wealth is distributed in any given society, depends on the statutes or usages therein prevalent. But though governments or nations can in some measure determine what institutions shall be established, they cannot arbitrarily determine how those institutions shall work. The conditions on which the power they possess over the distribution of wealth is dependent, and the manner in which the distribution is affected by the various modes of conduct which society may think fit to adopt, are determined by laws as rigid as those of Production itself.

The laws of Production and Distribution, and some of the practical consequences deducible from them, are the subject of the following treatise.







§ 1. THE requisites of production are two: labour, and appropriate natural objects.

Labour is either bodily or mental; or, to express the distinction more comprehensively, either muscular or nervous; and it is necessary to include in the idea, not solely the exertion itself, but all feelings of a disagreeable kind, all bodily inconvenience or mental annoyance, connected with the employment of one's thoughts, or muscles, or both, in a particular occupation. Of the other requisite-appropriate natural objects-it is to be remarked, that some objects exist or grow up spontaneously, of a kind suited to the supply of human wants. There are caves and hollow trees capable of affording shelter; fruit, roots, wild honey, and other natural products, on which human life can be supported; but even here a considerable quantity of labour is generally required, not for the purpose of creating, but of finding and appropriating them. In all but these few and (except in the very commencement of human society) unimportant cases, the

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