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tive interposition in the disposal of private property. In other respects, if we make one remarkable exception, which shall be taken notice of hereafter, his work contains few positions, and perhaps no connected argument on any subject, in common with those of his predecessors. We find occasionally propositions laid down, which have been proven by Smith and other writers; but Mr. Raymond, scorning all assistance, attempts to establish their truth by arguments, which as is not at all surprising, had never before been used. So far as Mr. Raymond's * Elements” may circulate, we believe their tendency will be to unsettle the minds of many who are students in this branch of knowledge; and to spread a vagueness and obscurity over the science. From his reasonings, and from his remarks respecting the labours of others, many will take up the opinion that there is no certainty in Political Economy; that it consists of a mass of conflicting theories, and dogmatical assertions, or illogical deductions from principles not fully established, or entirely without foundation ; and, therefore, that a person of discernment will perceive at once, that “the same temper of mind, which in old times spent itself on scholastic questions, and in a later age, in commentaries upon the scriptures, has in these days taken the direction of metaphysical, or statistical philosophy.”+ Now nothing can be more pernicious than all this, nor farther removed from the truth. Of all the sciences, if those are excepted which respect the relations of magnitude, we know of pone upon the evidence of which the mind rests with more confidence, nor of which the conclusions are more certain.
The influence which language exercises on our thoughts, is so great, that those engaged in scientific inquiries have generally felt the necessity of first laying down precise and accurate definitions of the principal terms about to be used. Indeed, of such importance is this preparatory step, that the author, who, on any subject, has been most exact in this respect, will usually be found to treat his theme most clearly and most profoundly. We cannot be certain that we have grasped the ideas, which may have been flitting across the mind like the shadows of clouds over the undulating fields of summer, until we have experienced our ability to communicate them to others. We think in sentences, and therefore when the transient and vanishing impressions, made upon the mind by the first view of any subject, have been ripened into the vigorous decisions of the understanding, and our conceptions have become strong and distinct, we will not meet with any difficulty in expressing our opinions so as to be obvious to all. If, however, we commence writing before we have properly digested our subject, and, from the absence of any fixed plan, or from the indistinctness and confusion of our crude notions, are compelled to give hasty and unexamined explications of the terms on which our reasonings are to rest, and then, from pride of opinion, are led to defend the conclusions into which our terms bave carried us, a vagueness and want of object will be visible in even the best part of our speculations, and many of our deductions will be remarkable only for their absurdity. Such we believe to be the origin of many of the immature, unshapen publications, of which the fruitful press is delivered.* With much kindness, we would humbly advise these premature authors to avoid the Herculean labour of writing a book on Political Economy. Neither should any one think that he has explored the depths of a subject, which has exercised the acute and comprebensive minds of Smith and Ricardo, and many others, and is yet incomplete, because he may have perused the works of all these celebrated writers. In this science, in a greater degree perhaps than in any other, it is wisdom, “multum, non multa legere;" and it would require some search to find a better reason of a man's deficiency in the knowledge of its principles, than the fact of his having looked into so many publications. If an individual, without having previously studied any one author thoroughly, and thus by a careful investigation of his arguments, fixed some fundamental truths in his mind, to which as a standard he may bring his future reading, should have the confidence to think himself qualified to weigh the conflicting statements of political economists, he will almost inevitably wrap himself about with a mantle of darkness; and this not in consequence of any, want of clearness in the science, but because its reasonings, like all others founded on the observation of facts, are modified by the greater or less degree of penetration and industry in the observers. Thus one may have carried his knowledge of particular facts to a certain extent, and then based his arguments upon them; and his positions to himself, and to those of no more information, will seem to be immoveable. But another person, who has analyzed the facts more fully, and weighed some circumstances which had not before been noticed, will draw different conclusions from apparently the same premises.
* Vol. 1, p. 123, 159. Vol. 2, p. 228, 247. # London Quarterly Review, No. 29, p. 235.
We have repeated instances of this in our daily experience; and doubtless much of the diversity of opinion, which prevails in relation to subjects that are founded on eternal, immutable truth, is owing to the difference of the progress made by men of various powers, in their investigation. “When we have arrived at the end of our own line, we are apt to imagine that we have reached the bottom of the ocean.'
* It will be seen that we are not speaking of such books, as the Letters of Hamilton," or of Professor List, or the reports of the late Secretary of the Treasury. Nothing is easier than to manufacture a thing of that kind,
But we have wandered from the point that we had in view, which was to illustrate the importance of clear and determinate explanations of the leading words in the science of Political Economy :-of those words which recur so frequently, and the right uuderstanding of which is indispensable in our disquisi
This has not been sufficiently attended-to by Smith and Say; and to this source may be referred many difficulties, that seem insuperable at first view, but which disappear so soon as we have ascertained the exact meaning of the terms employed. Mr. Raymond complains loudly that this accuracy in the use of language has been entirely neglected ;* and gives us ground for believing that the evil will be remedied by his publication. It woold seem however from Mr. R.'s remarks that this is by no means the only, nor the principal improvement which the world may enjoy from his labours. Former writers, we are instructed, have been busied only in “spreading successive layers of clouds over the science.”+ All the sagacity and power of intellect of such men as Smith, and Ricardo, and Say, seem only “darkness visible" to the keener optics of our countryman! For ourselves we must admit that if our author has high talents and attainments, there is no very alarming probability of their remaining in obscurity from the want of some person to inform the world of the fact.
But let us leave the author, and turn our attention to his work. The word “value” is of frequent occurrence in the comupon use of language. We speak of the “ value” of life, and of the "value" of gold, &c. Now it is obvious that the term cannot be of the same signification in all its various applications.Life is not valuable in the same sense of the word with gold.Hence Dr. Smith makes the following distinction : “ The word value has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods, which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called “value in use;' and the other, value in exchange.' The things which have the greatest value in use, have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange, have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water; but it will purchase scarce any thing; scarce any thing can he had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for
* Vol. 1, p. 70, 71, et passim. Vol. 1, p. 76.
This seems obvious enough. Mr. R. however, is not satisfied. Hear himself: “To talk about the value of a thing which either has no value, or cannot be valued, is certainly an inaccurate and anibiguous mode of expression. But in truth the word has but one appropriate meaning, which should always be applied to it, when we would speak with precision.”+ Now in despite of the very general concession of superiority to the individual, wise enough to discover flaws in the workmanship of others, we are inclined to believe that Dr. Smith's language possesses the higher degree of scientific precision. Mr. R. has issued his mandate that the word has but one meaning; but we remember to have read of “latis a summis Pontificibus contra Telluris motum decretis ;” and that the sturdy old earth still continued to move on as usual, with a great want of reverence for his Holiness; and thus instructed, we have great fears that the world will speak as formerly, and talk of the " value” of knowledge and modesty as absurdly as ever.
If our readers should be desirous of knowing how much regard Mr. R. pays to bis own criticism, in the use of the term “ value," they may examine the references given at the foot of the page. I Mr. R. is by no means sparing in the employment of such polysyllables as sophistry,' absurdity,' nonsensical,' et id genus omne; and though we will not suffer ourselves to imitate bis courtesy, we must briefly notice another particular before leaving this part of our author's work. We find him asserting that what an individual or a nation consumes has no value. “ That portion (of the individual's produce) which is necessary for his own subsistence, and which he actually subsists upon, can no more be valued than his life can be valued. So that portion of the annual produce which a nation subsists upon, or consumes itself, can have no value in a national point of view, because not being to the nation the subject of exchange, the relation of price or value has no existence in regard to it.” If Mr. R. means that after the products are consumed, they have no value, we presume no person will question the correctness of his position : since “to consume” is to destroy the value of the articles which are the objects of consumption ; and therefore the proposition, that commodities, when consumed, have no value, is equivalent to this, that when the value of objects is destroyed, it no longer exists; which certainly is no very important discovery. But if the gentleman wishes to convey the idea that objects designed for consumption, have no value, this sentence embraces all products whatever : for the only reason why value is produced is that it may be consumed; and this applies not only to what a nation consumes immediately after its having been produced, but also to what has been imported in return for the products of domestic industry exported. In this way we arrive at the conclusion that value does not exist. It is quite probable, however, that Mr. R. has confounded the objects of consumption with the benefits to be derived from them by the consumers. If so, he has merely imposed on himself by neglecting the distinction between the common and technical meaning of the word "value." To the individual, his life is all important. No person could persuade him that the world itself would be a sufficient compensation for its loss; since this condition would prevent his receiving the reward, and death would have closed his eyes to all its splendours. At the same time, perhaps no other person would give the merest trifle of property for that which he cannot receive or enjoy ; but which to its possessor is above all price. It is like estimating length with a measure of capacity, to speak of exchangeable value with re
* Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1, p. 20. + Vol. 1, p. 60. # In Vol. 1, conf. p. 57, with p. 65. In Vol. 1, p. 66, we find Mr. R. using the ferm"value,” in both meanings in the same sentence.
Vol. 1, p. 59.
spect to life.
Objects have exchangeable value because they either do, or are supposed to possess intrinsic worth or utility. We must not, however, imagine that their value in exchange is in proportion to their usefulness. " Without utility of some species or other, no article will ever be an object of demand, but how necessary soever any particular article may be to our comfort, or even existence, and however great the demand for it, still, if it be a spontaneous production of nature,-if it exists independantly of human agency, and if every individual has an indefinite command over it, it can never become the subject of an exchange, or afford a basis for the reasonings of the economist." We may form a pretty accurate estimate of the utility of an article of consumption, by reflecting on the privations we should endure from the want of it. A quantity of gold will exchange for many times its weight of iron; yet when viewed as respects their utility, if we were under the necessity of choosing one of