By Say J.-B.
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Extra resources for A Treatise on Political Economy or the Production, Distribution and consumption of Wealth
Whoever has acquired a particular talent at the expense of an annual sacrifice, enjoys an accumulated capital; a description of wealth, notwithstanding its immateriality, so little imaginary, that, in the shape of professional services, it is daily exchanged for gold and silver. Dr. Smith, who with so much sagacity unfolds the manner in which production takes place, and the peculiar circumstances accompanying it in agriculture and the arts, on the subject of commercial production presents us with only obscure and indistinct notions.
The abuse of paper money, commercial and other restrictions, have made us feel the ultimate effects of almost all excesses. And the sudden overthrow of the most imposing bulwarks of society, the gigantic invasions, the destruction of old governments and the creation of new, the formation of rising empires in another hemisphere, the colonies that have become independent, the general impulse given to the human mind, so favourable to the development of all its faculties, and the great expectations and the great mistakes, have all undoubtedly very much enlarged our views; at first operating upon men of calm observation and reflection, and subsequently upon al' mankind.
The fact is, that in every country the government takes, or in the shape of taxes the people are compelled to furnish it with, a part of the revenue di awn from real estate. Here then is a fact, and an important one; the consequence of certain facts, which we can trace up, as the cause of other facts (such as the rise in the price of commodities) to which we are led with certainty. Questions of right ar« always more or less matters of opinion ; matters of fact, on the contrary, are susceptible of proof and demonstration.