Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter II.: ON THE DEFINITION OF WEALTH BY THE FRENCH ECONOMISTS. - Definitions in Political Economy
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Chapter II.: ON THE DEFINITION OF WEALTH BY THE FRENCH ECONOMISTS. - Thomas Robert Malthus, Definitions in Political Economy 
Definitions in Political Economy (London: John Murray, 1827).
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ON THE DEFINITION OF WEALTH BY THE FRENCH ECONOMISTS.
It will not be worth while to advert to the misnomers of the mercantile system; but the system of the French Economists was a scientific one, and aimed at precision. Yet it must be acknowledged that their definition of wealth violated the first and most obvious rule which ought to guide men of science, as well as others, in the use of terms. Wealth and riches are words in the commonest use; and though all persons might not be able at once to describe with accuracy what they mean when they speak of the wealth of a country, yet all, we believe, who intend to use the term in its ordinary sense, would agree in saying that they do not confine the term either to the gross raw produce, or the neat raw produce of such country. And it is quite certain that two countries, with both the same gross raw produce, and the same neat raw produce, might differ most essentially from each other in a great number of the most universally acknowledged characteristics of wealth, such as good houses, good furniture, good clothes, good carriages, which, in the one case, might be possessed only by a few great landlords, and a small number of manufacturers and merchants; and in the other case, by an equal, or greater proportion of landlords, and a much greater number of manufacturers and merchants. This difference might take place without any difference in the amount of the raw produce, the neat produce, or the population, merely by the conversion of idle retainers and menial servants into active artisans and traders. The result, therefore, of comparing together the wealth of different countries, according to the sense of that term adopted by the Economists, and according to the sense in which it is generally understood in society, would be totally different. And this circumstance detracts in a very great degree from the practical utility of the works of the Economists.