Introduction

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Introduction and Plan of the Work

1 The annual labour of every nation is the fund which supplies it with the necessaries and conveniencies of life produced at home or purchased from other nations.

2 The nation will be better or worse supplied with all the necessaries and conveniencies according to the proportion of this produce to the number of consumers.

3 This proportion is regulated by:

  • The quality of the workers, or the skill, dexterity, and judgement of the workers
  • The quantity of the productive workers, or the proportion of the number of employed in useful work to those who are not so employed.

The abundance of the national annual supply must depend on those two circumstances, regardless of its soil, climate, or territory.

4 This supply depends more on the quality than quantity of workers.

  • The inhabitants of savage nations of hunters and fishers, even at full employment, are so miserably poor.
  • On the contrary, the inhabitants of civilized nations, even those who do not work, consume 100 times more labour than the working people of savage nations.
    • The civilized society’s produce is so great that all are supplied.
    • The poorest worker, if frugal and industrious, may enjoy more necessaries and conveniencies than any savage.

5 Book 1 explains:

  • the causes of this improved productivity
  • how this product is naturally distributed in society

6 Whatever the state of the quality of the workers, the national annual supply must depend on the proportion of the number of useful labour employed to the number of those not so employed during that state.

  • The number of productive workers is then proportional to:
    • the quantity of capital stock employed in setting them to work
    • how this capital stock is employed
  • Book 2 explains:
    • the nature of capital stock
    • how capital stock is accumulated
    • the quantity of labour which the capital stock mobilizes

7 Productive nations have followed very different plans in the direction of their labour.

  • Those plans have not all been favourable to productivity.
  • Some nations have greatly encouraged agriculture, while some have encouraged industrialization.
    • Almost no nation has treated them equally and impartially.
  • Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe has been more favourable to industry and commerce than to agriculture.
    • The causes of this change are explained in Book 3.

8 Those different plans were perhaps created by vested interests by certain orders without any regard to their consequences on society.

  • They have created very different theories of political economy.
  • Some theories magnify the importance of industry.
    • Some magnify the importance of agriculture.
  • Those theories have influenced world leaders and intellectuals.
  • Those different theories and their effects are explained in Book 4.

9 The first four books explain the nature and components of the revenue of society that supplies its annual consumption.

  • Book 5 explains the revenue of government.
    • It shows:
      1. The necessary expences of government
        • Which of those expenses should be defrayed by general taxes
        • Which of those expenses should be defrayed by specific taxes targeting a particular segment of society
      2. The methods how the whole society can contribute towards defraying the expences incurred for the whole society
        • The advantages and inconveniencies of each of those methods
      3. The reasons and causes for government debt
        • The effects of such debt on the real wealth of society

Next: Book 1, Chap. 1 Division of Labour

Words: 560

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