Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter X.: DEFINITIONS IN POLITICAL ECONOMY. - Definitions in Political Economy
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Chapter X.: DEFINITIONS IN POLITICAL ECONOMY. - Thomas Robert Malthus, Definitions in Political Economy 
Definitions in Political Economy (London: John Murray, 1827).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
DEFINITIONS IN POLITICAL ECONOMY.
1.The material objects necessary, useful or agreeable to man, which have required some portion of human exertion to appropriate or produce.
2. The quality of being serviceable or beneficial to mankind. The utility of an object has generally been considered as proportioned to the necessity and real importance of these services and benefits.
All wealth is necessarily useful; but all that is useful is not necessarily wealth.
3. Has two meanings—value in use, and value in exchange.
VALUE IN USE,
4. Is synonimous with Utility. It rarely occurs in political economy, and is never implied by the word value when used alone.
VALUE, OR VALUE IN EXCHANGE.
5. The relation of one object to some other, or others in exchange, resulting from the estimation in which each is held. When no second object is specified, the value of a commodity naturally refers to the causes which determine this estimation, and the object which measures it.
Value is distinguished from wealth in that it is not confined to material objects, and is much more dependent upon scarcity and difficulty of production.
6. The creation of objects which constitute wealth.
7. The portion of wealth created by production.
SOURCES OF WEALTH.
8. Land, labour, and capital. The two original sources are land and labour; but the aid which labour receives from capital is applied so very early, and is so very necessary in the production of wealth, that it may be considered as a third source.
9. The soil, mines, waters, and fisheries of the habitable globe. It is the main source of raw materials and food.
10. The exertions of human beings employed with a view to remuneration. If the term be applied to other exertions, they must be particularly specified.
11. The labour which is so directly productive of wealth as to be capable of estimation in the quantity or value of the products obtained.
12. All labour which is not directly productive of wealth. The terms productive and unproductive are always used by political economists in a restricted and technical sense exclusively applicable to the direct production or non-production of wealth.
13. The exertion of the human faculties and powers to accomplish some desirable end. No very marked line is drawn in common language, or by political economists, between industry and labour; but the term industry generally implies more superintendance and less bodily exertion than labour.
14. Accumulated wealth, either reserved by the consumer for his consumption, or kept, or employed with a view to profit.
15. That portion of the stock of a country which is kept or employed with a view to profit in the production and distribution of wealth.
16. That portion of stock employed with a view to profit which yields such profit while it remains in the possession of the owner.
17. That portion of stock employed with a view to profit which does not yield such profit till it is parted with.
18. That portion of stock or wealth which the possessor may annually consume without injury to his permanent resources. It consists of the rents of land, the wages of labour, and the profits of stock.
ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL.
19. The employment of a portion of revenue as capital. Capital may therefore increase without an increase of stock or wealth.
20. In modern times, implies the accumulation of capital, as few people now lock up their money in a box.
RENT OF LAND.
21. That portion of the produce of land which remains to the owner after all the outgoings belonging to its cultivation are paid, including the ordinary profits of the capital employed.
MONEY-RENT OF LAND.
22. The average rent of land as before defined, estimated in money.
GROSS SURPLUS OF THE LAND.
23. That portion of the produce of land which is not actually consumed by the cultivators.
WAGES OF LABOUR.
24. The remuneration paid to the labourer for his exertions.
25. The wages which the labourer receives in the current money of the country.
26. The necessaries, conveniencies, and luxuries of life which the wages of the labourer enable him to command.
THE RATE OF WAGES.
27. The ordinary wages paid to the labourer by the day, week, month, or year, according to the custom of the place where he is employed. They are generally estimated in money.
THE PRICE OF LABOUR,
28. Has generally been understood to mean the average money-price of common day-labour, and is not therefore different from the rate of wages, except that it more specifically refers to money.
THE AMOUNT OF WAGES.
29. The whole earnings of the labourer in a given time, which may be much more or much less than the average rate of wages, or the price of common day-labour.
THE PRICE OF EFFECTIVE LABOUR.
30. The price in money of a given quantity of human exertion of a given strength and character, which may be essentially different from the common price of day-labour, or the whole money-earnings of the labourer in a given time.
31. The labour worked up in the raw materials and tools applied to the production of other commodities.
PROFITS OF STOCK.
32. When stock is employed as capital in the production and distribution of wealth, its profits consist of the difference between the value of the capital advanced, and the value of the commodity when sold or used.
THE RATE OF PROFITS.
33. The per centage proportion which the value of the profits upon any capital bears to the value of such capital.
THE INTEREST OF MONEY.
34. The net profits of a capital in money separated from the risk and trouble of employing it.
THE PROFITS OF INDUSTRY, SKILL, AND ENTERPRISE.
35. That portion of the gross profits of capital, independent of monopoly, which remains after deducting the net profits, or the interest of money.
36. The profits which arise from the employment of capital where the competition is not free.
CONDITIONS OF THE SUPPLY OF COMMODITIES.
37. The advance of the quantity of accumulated and immediate labour necessary to their production, with such a per centage upon the whole of the advances for the time they have been employed as is equivalent to ordinary profits. If there be any other necessary conditions of the supply arising from monopolies of any description, or from taxes, they must be added.
ELEMENTARY COSTS OF PRODUCTION.
38. An expression exactly equivalent to the conditions of the supply.
MEASURE OF THE CONDITIONS OF THE SUPPLY, OR OF THE ELEMENTARY COSTS OF PRODUCTION.
39. The quantity of labour for which the commodity will exchange, when it is in its natural and ordinary state.
THE VALUE, MARKET VALUE, OR ACTUAL VALUE, OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE OR TIME.
40. The estimation in which it is held at that place and time, determined in all cases by the state of the supply compared with the demand, and ordinarily by the elementary costs of production which regulate that state.
THE NATURAL VALUE OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE AND TIME.
41. The estimation in which it is held when it is in its natural and ordinary state, determined by the elementary costs of its production, or the conditions of its supply.
MEASURE OF THE MARKET OR ACTUAL VALUE OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE OR TIME.
42. The quantity of labour which it will command or exchange for at that place and time.
MEASURE OF THE NATURAL VALUE OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE AND TIME.
43. The quantity of labour for which it will exchange at that place and time, when it is in its natural and ordinary state.
THE PRICE, THE MARKET PRICE, OR ACTUAL PRICE OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE AND TIME.
44. The quantity of money for which it exchanges at that place and time, the money referring to the precious metals.
THE NATURAL PRICE OF A COMMODITY AT ANY PLACE AND TIME.
45. The price in money which will pay the elementary costs of its production, or the money conditions of its supply.
SUPPLY OF COMMODITIES.
46. The quantity offered, or ready to be immediately offered, for sale.
DEMAND FOR COMMODITIES,
47. Has two distinct meanings: one, in regard to its extent, or the quantity of commodities purchased; and the other, in regard to its intensity, or the sacrifice which the demanders are able and willing to make in order to satisfy their wants.
DEMAND IN REGARD TO ITS EXTENT.
48. The quantity of the commodity purchased, which generally increases with the increase of the supply, and diminishes with the diminution of it. It is often the greatest when commodities are selling below the costs of production.
DEMAND IN REGARD TO ITS INTENSITY.
49. The sacrifice which the demanders are able and willing to make in order to satisfy their wants. It is this species of demand alone which, compared with the supply, determines prices and values.
EFFECTUAL DEMAND, IN REGARD TO ITS EXTENT.
50. The quantity of a commodity wanted by those who are able and willing to pay the costs of its production.
EFFECTUAL DEMAND, IN REGARD TO ITS INTENSITY.
51. The sacrifice which the demanders must make, in order to effectuate the continued supply of a commodity.
MEASURE OF THE INTENSITY OF THE EFFECTUAL DEMAND.
52. The quantity of labour for which the commodity will exchange, when in its natural and ordinary state.
EXCESS OF THE DEMAND ABOVE THE SUPPLY.
53. The demand for a commodity is said to be in excess above the supply, when, either from the diminution of the supply, or the increase of the effectual demand, the quantity in the market is not sufficient to supply all the effectual demanders. In this case the intensity of the demand increases, and the commodity rises, in proportion to the competition of the demanders, and the sacrifice they are able and willing to make in order to satisfy their wants.
EXCESS OF THE SUPPLY ABOVE THE DEMAND, OR PARTIAL GLUT.
54. The supply of a commodity is said to be in excess above the demand, or there is a partial glut, when, either from the superabundance of supply, or the diminution of demand, the quantity in the market exceeds the quantity wanted by those who are able and willing to pay the elementary costs of production. It then falls below these costs in proportion to the eagerness of the sellers to sell; and the glut is trifling, or great, accordingly.
55. A glut is said to be general, when, either from superabundance of supply or diminution of demand, a considerable mass of commodities falls below the elementary costs of production.
A GIVEN DEMAND.
56. A given demand, in regard to price, is a given quantity of money intended to be laid out in the purchase of certain commodities in a market; and a given demand, in regard to value, is the command of a given quantity of labour intended to be employed in the same way.
VARIATIONS OF PRICES AND VALUES.
57. Prices and values vary as the demand directly and the supply inversely. When the demand is given, prices and values vary inversely as the supply; when the supply is given, directly as the demand.
58. The destruction wholly or in part of any portions of wealth.
59. The consumption or employment of wealth by the capitalist, with a view to future production.
UNPRODUCTIVE CONSUMPTION, OR SPENDING.
60. The consumption of wealth, as revenue, with a view to the final purpose of all production—subsistence and enjoyment; but not with a view to profit.