The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

By David Ricardo | Go to book overview

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE THIRD EDITION

IN this edition I have endeavoured to explain more fully than in the last my opinion on the difficult subject of Value, and for that purpose have made a few additions to the first chapter. I have also inserted a new chapter on the subject of Machinery, and on the effects of its improvement on the interests of the different classes of the state. In the chapter on the Distinctive Properties of Value and Riches, I have examined the doctrines of M. Say on that important question, as amended in the fourth and last edition of his work. I have in the last chapter endeavoured to place in a stronger point of view than before the doctrine of the ability of a country to pay additional money taxes, although the aggregate money value of the mass of its commodities should fall, in consequence either of the diminished quantity of labour required to produce its corn at home, by improvements in its husbandry, or from its obtaining a part of its corn at a cheaper price from abroad, by means of the exportation of its manufactured commodities. This consideration is of great importance, as it regards the question of the policy of leaving unrestricted the importation of foreign corn, particularly in a country burthened with a heavy fixed money taxation, the consequence of an immense National Debt. I have endeavoured to show that the ability to pay taxes depends, not on the gross money value of the mass of commodities, nor on the net money value of the revenues of capitalists and landlords, but on the money value of each man's revenue compared to the money value of the commodities which he usually consumes.

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March 26, 1821.

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