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Thoughts on Political Economy (1820)

Thoughts on Political Economy (1820)

A Theory of Productive Power

By Daniel Raymond
Edited by Erik S. Reinert
Introduction by Allen Kaufman

This is America’s first treatise of systematic economic theory. It rejects Adam Smith’s theory of the ‘invisible hand’ by treating national wealth in terms of the population’s collective ‘productive power’ and the ability of government to promote it.

PDF, 350 Pages


January 2020

£18.36, $30.36

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  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents

About This Book

This is the first modern edited and annotated edition of the nineteenth-century American economist Daniel Raymond’s ‘Thoughts on Political Economy’ (1820). Once widely influential on both sides of the Atlantic, Raymond’s ‘Thoughts’ established the fundamental principles of a tradition of practical economics which historically made America both wealthy and powerful but which now has been completely forgotten. In republishing this classic treatise with a richly researched historical introduction and Charles Patrick Neill’s famous 1896 essay on Raymond, Anthem’s Economic Ideas that Built America series makes available to a wider public the most systematic American response to Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations’.

Clearly written and easily accessible, Raymond’s treatise shows that nations produce and increase their wealth through mechanisms completely different from those of individuals. Starting from a new definition of national wealth, expressed in terms of a general ‘capacity’ for sustainment and comfort generated by the ‘productive power’ of the whole population, Raymond shows how most of the economic solutions elaborated by his predecessors aimed at favouring only a part of the population, often subordinating the activity of real production to mere exchange or speculation. Raymond further identifies government as the only agent capable of supervising the road to national prosperity by maintaining an equilibrium between different economic applications of productive power and assuring a fair distribution of the national income.


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Author Information

Daniel Raymond (1786–1849) was one of America’s first economists.

Allen Kaufman (1947–2007) was a professor of business, government and society at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics where he held the Hubbard Chair of Strategic Management.

Erik S. Reinert is professor of Technology Governance and Development Strategies at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia as well as Founder and Chairman of the Other Canon Foundation.


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Table of Contents

Introduction by Francesca L. Viano; Charles Patrick Neill’s (1896) essay ‘Daniel Raymond: An Early Chapter in the History of Economic Theory in the United States’; THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL ECONOMY: Preface; PART I; Introduction; National Wealth, What?; Some Theories and Definitions of National Wealth Examined; Labour; Standard of Value; The Source and Cause of National Wealth; The Comparative Advantages of Agricultural and Manufacturing Labour; An Examination of some Prevalent Theories on the Comparative Advantages of Agricultural and Manufacturing Labour; The Mercantile System; Unproductive Occupations; Private Economy—Luxury; PART II; Introduction; Equality; Pauperism; Stimulants to National Identity—War—Expenditure of Public Money; Banking System; Labour Saving Machines; Monopolies—Colonial Systems; Protecting Duties; National Debt; Corporations; Slavery; Conclusion; Index

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