Download The Scope And Method Of Political Economy by John Neville Keynes PDF

By John Neville Keynes

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It is not meant that nothing is wealth unless it is actually bought and sold. For a thing may be potentially exchangeable without being actually made the subject of exchange. Even in a communistic society the criterion would be applicable. It is true that with special reference to such a society, it might more naturally be expressed in another form, the essential characteristic of wealth being described as {he capability of being distributed by fiat of government. The sources of utility capable of being thus distributed would, however, be identical with those that could in a state of economic freedom be acquired by purchase.

With the object of making this clear, political economy may be defined as the science which treats of the phenomena arising out of the economic activities of mankind in society. It is not pretended that this or any other definition can by itself suffice unambiguously to express the nature of economics. The proposed formula must, therefore, be taken subject to the various explanations that have been already given, or that may subsequently be given, in regard to the province of the science, and its relations to other branches of enquiry.

Hence, before deciding to act upon the hypothetical precepts of political economy (so interpreted), it is necessary to enquire how far they are consistent with other social aims, and how far they satisfy the claims of justice. Wherever there is conflict, an appeal must be made to some other and higher authority. This authority must determine to what extent each set of considerations shall be subordinated to the others. It seems a doubtful gain to construct a definite art of political economy in this sense.

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