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leaves opinions as his judgment directs after an extensive survey of the works which have issued from various schools * He goes a freat way with Adam Smith , of course ; a great way with Say , Licardo , Malthus , and Mill ; combining their leading opinions into a system with which we have only trivial faults to find . Our great objection is to his deficiencies of arrangement . We cannot ,
indeed , discover any principle of arrangement ; and cannot but wonder that , much as he admires Mill , he should not have followed his , which appears to us the natural , and therefore palpably fit mode of evolving the principles of the science ; namely , by classing them under the heads production , distribution , and consumption , —interposing exchange if it should be thought desirable to treat separately of this method of distribution .
We must gratify ourselves by giving one extract , in . which is implied a valuable sanction of our preceding arguments . * Much difficulty and deplorable mistake has arisen on the subject of political economy from the propensity that has prevailed of considering a nation as some existing * intelligent being * , distinct from the individuals who compose it , and possessing properties belonging to no individual who is a member of it . We seem to think that national
morality is a different thing from individual morality , and dependent upon principles quite dissimilar ; and that maxims of political economy have nothing in common with private economy . Hence the moral entitythe grammatical being called a nation , has been clothed in attributes that have no real existence except in the imagination of those who metamorphose a word into a thing , and convert a mere grammatical
contrivance into an existing and intelligent being . It is of great importance that we should be aware of this mistake : that we should consider abstract terms as names , invented to avoid limitation , description , and periphrasis—grammatical contrivances and no more ; just as we use the signs and letters of algebra to reason with , instead of the more complex numbers they represent .
'I suspect it will be very difficult for us to discover a rule of morality , obligatory on individuals , that would not apply to nations considered as individuals ; or any maxim of political economy that would not be equally undeniable as a rule of private and domestic economy ; and vice versd . The more effectually we can discard mystery from
this and every other subject , the more intelligible it will become ; and the less easy will it be for designing men of any description to prey upon the credulity of mankind . It is high time that the language arid the dictates of common sense , founded upon propositions easy to be understood and easy to be proved , should take place of the jargon by which our understandings have been so long cheated .
4 Those maxims of human conduct that are best calculated to promote a man ' s highest and most permanent happiness on the whole of his existence , are the on ) y maxims of conduct obligatory on individuals . There is no other rational basis of moral obligation ; for what can be put in competition with the greatest sum of happiness upon the whole of a man ' s existence ? There are no rules of morality—there is no such thing as virtue or vice , but what originated from our connexion With other creatures whose happiness may , in some degree , be affected
On the Duty of Studying Political Economy . &J
No . 01 . D
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1832, page 33, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1804/page/33/