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THE STUDY OF POLITICAL ECONOMY.

A large mound near the chambered mounds was also opened, and in this no chambers were found. Neither had the bodies been burned. This mound proved remarkably rich in large flint implements, and also contained well-made pottery, and a peculiar "gorget" of red stone. The connection of the people who placed the ashes of their dead in the stone chambers with those who buried their dead in the earth-mounds is, of course, yet to be determined.

 

THE STUDY OF POLITICAL ECONOMY[1]
By HENRY GEORGE.

I TAKE it that these lectures are intended to be more suggestive than didactic, and in what I shall have to say to you my object will be merely to induce you to think for yourselves. I shall not attempt to outline the laws of political economy, nor even, where my own views are strong and definite, to touch upon unsettled questions. But I want to show you, if I can, the simplicity and certainty of a science too generally regarded as complex and indeterminate, to point out the ease with which it may be studied, and to suggest reasons which make that study worthy of your attention.

Of the importance of the questions with which political economy deals it is hardly necessary to speak. The science which investigates the laws of the production and distribution of wealth concerns itself with matters which among us occupy more than nine tenths of human effort, and perhaps nine tenths of human thought. In its province are included all that relates to the wages of labor and the earnings of capital; all regulations of trade; all questions of currency and finance; all taxes and public disbursements—in short, everything that can in any way affect the amount of wealth which a community can secure, or the proportion in which that wealth will be distributed between individuals. Though not the science of government, it is essential to the science of government. Though it takes direct cognizance only of what are termed the selfish instincts, yet in doing so it includes the basis of all higher qualities. The laws which it aims to discover are the laws by virtue of which states wax rich and populous, or grow weak and decay; the laws upon which depend the comfort, happiness, and opportunities of our individual lives. And as the development of the nobler part of human nature is powerfully modified by material conditions, if it does not absolutely depend upon them, the laws sought for by political economy are the laws which at last control the mental and moral as well as the physical states of humanity.

Clearly, this is the science which of all sciences is of the first importance to us. Useful and sublime as are the sciences which open to

  1. Lecture before the students of the University of California, April, 1877.