- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; 5.12.2004 edition (June 11, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486434613
- ISBN-13: 978-0486434612
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation Paperback – June 11, 2004
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Ricardo's ideas on political economy, especially on labor value, rent and comparative advantage, were extremely influential in the evolution of classical economics and deserve careful reading. However Ricardo's initial discussion of labor value contained some significant issues, and Ricardo made considerable revisions to this section in the 3rd Edition, as well as other scattered changes. For a modern reader trying to understand Ricardo's ideas, it is probably best to start with the 3rd Edition, as best representing his final position.
The Maestro Edition also contains some significant typos in tables in the first and second chapters. This causes conflicts between the tables and the text.
After realizing these issues with the Maestro/CreateSpeace version, I switched to the Liberty Fund version, which is based on a scholarly UK edition sponsored by the Royal Economic Society. That text is based on Ricardo's 3rd Edition, but also includes footnotes or appendices with the text from earlier editions for any revised sections.
Based on what I've seen, I'd definitely recommend the Liberty Fund version as the better text.
I am VERY glad that I read Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" before I read this book. Ricardo constantly refers back to it. He also refers to Malthus, Buchannan and Say alot. I did learn a great deal in this book-and he proved very effectively some points that seemed counter-intuitive to me. There are a few things that I still don't agree with, but I recognize this as a the next step down the road to modern economics.
The language in this book was more "modern english" than "The Wealth of Nations" but still not what I would consider entirely modern. Another thing that made this book a little more readable was the lack of long digressions on various things. Ricardo's examples were short and very illustrative. "The Wealth of Nations" was laced with Enlightenment philosophy which really made my little libertarian heart flood with joy. There was none of that, here. Very much more like a text book.
The reason I knocked off a star was Ricardo's habit of taking great pains to explain in great detail how this or that would happen under this or that circumstance...and then in 1 paragraph at the end explain why this would never actually happen, or explain why he didn't really mean what it sounded like he was saying. Frustrating.
Overall, a good and very worthwhile read. Don't expect to be entertained-but expect to learn something.
the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Ricardo states that value
is a function of effort and not the price paid for labor. He
reminded us that labor plus the tools to assist labor affected
the creation of value. Therefore; increases in value were in
direct proportion to increments in labor. Value was also a
function of the time it took to bring the goods to market.
Surprisingly, the cultivation of inferior land resulted in a
higher exchangeable value of raw produce because more labor
was required in its production. If we become more efficient in
land cultivation, rents will go down because more can be
cultivated with less land. In addition, the exchangeable value
of commodities is undisturbed by natural or accidental causes.
Laborers derive their greatest pleasure when the market price
of labor exceeds the natural price. Therefore; wages will
increase in response to increases in the demand for labor.
Rises in rent are accompanied by increments in the share of
produce because landlords want more rent when harvests are
greater. Accordingly, the price of corn is a function of the labor to produce it. If wages go down, then prices must fall.
As the price of labor goes down, profits increase but the
price of the commodity may not go down. Taxes on profits
tend to increase the price of a commodity . If money is not
taxed, then all commodities will be subject to price increases.
Ultimately, a tax on land begets a tax on produce. In addition,
a tax on labor will raise its price. In addition, the price of
provisions determine the price paid to the worker. If money
decreases in value, all commodities will be subject to steep
price increases. This was seen in modern times with the
fluctuation of the Russian currency. Ultimately, bounty
lowers the price to foreigners because the government subsidizes
the bounty paid to the local merchants to stimulate trade.
The theory of rent transfers value but does not create it.
Ultimately, wages are determined by the price of food and
cost of production.
This theory of wages differs from Adam Smith who said that
wages were a function of the ease or hardship to do work, the
difficulty or expense of learning a trade, the constancy
of employment, the trust reposed in the workmen, the probability
of success or failure of the venture or the fear of misfortune.
David Ricardo's work is an important milestone in the theory
of economics and comparison to the work of Adam Smith.