This paper is focused on the notion of wealth as used by different authors in different periods of time. The paper deals with the contrast between the notion of wealth shared by all major classical economists, particularly by Adam Smith, and the notion previously held by the Mercantilists (by which one nation’s gain is intended as another nation’s loss) or subsequently held by Irving Fisher and other Neoclassical economists(whereby the wealth of an individual is brought to centre stage in lieu of the wealth of society). After distinguishing, in Say’s footsteps, between “richesses naturelles” (the use values given by nature) and “richesses sociales” (the use values produced and reproduced by labour), the paper focuses on the classical notion of wealth as “richesses sociales” (the wealth of nations) and, more particularly, as the flow of final goods available in a period (and made possible by using up the intermediate goods inherited from a previous period) rather than the stock, however formed, of instrumental goods (let alone the value of this stock) owned by individuals at an instant of time (assets).
|Date of creation:||1998|
|Date of revision:||15 Apr 2009|
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- Lauderdale, James Maitland, 1819. "An Inquiry into The Nature and Origin of Public Wealth and into the Means and Causes of its Increase," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, number lauderdale1819.
- Meacci, Ferdinando, 2010. "On Smith's ambiguities on value and wealth," MPRA Paper 28866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Ferdinando Meacci, 1989. "Irving Fisher and the Classics on the Notion of Capital: Upheaval and Continuity in Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 409-424, Fall.
- Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
- Smith, Adam, 2008. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations: A Selected Edition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199535927 edited by Sutherland, Kathryn, December.
- Meacci, Ferdinando, 1998. "Value and Riches," MPRA Paper 14715, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Apr 2009.
- Heinz D. Kurz & Neri Salvadori (ed.), 1998. "The Elgar Companion to Classical Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 851, June.
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