Chapter

Sir James Steuart: Principles of Political Economy 

Andrew Stewart Skinner

in A System of Social Science

Second edition

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198233343
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191678974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198233343.003.0012
Sir James Steuart: Principles of Political Economy 

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The lives of James Steuart and Adam Smith, their careers, and their perspectives on political economy could hardly have been more different. Reading Steuart's book Principles of Political Economy in 1767, Smith could hardly fail to appreciate Steuart's scientific purpose, his concern with the emergence of the ‘present establishments in Europe’, the successful deployment of the ‘theory of stages’ which Smith himself had used in his Lectures, or the interest shown in the relationship between the mode of subsistence and the patterns of authority and subordination. In terms of economic analysis, Smith would have confronted a sophisticated theory of population, an advanced theory of the determination of prices, and the same clear grasp of the interdependence of economic phenomena that marked his own early work in the Lectures on Jurisprudence. Other and more general parallels are to be observed in Steuart's awareness of the potential for economic growth and in his appreciation of the contribution made to the process by international trade.

Keywords: James Steuart; Adam Smith; political economy; theory of population; mode of subsistence; authority; subordination; prices; economic growth; international trade

Chapter.  15996 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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