Elements of Political Economy (3rd ed. 1844)

Title page

The superior exposition in this classic work goes far in explaining James Mill’s lasting appeal. Most often remembered as an expositor of David Ricardo and as the most unforgettable home-schooling parent of all time - through the eyes of his ultimately more famous son, John Stuart Mill, James Mill’s original work has much to offer. Consider the excellent summaries of diminishing marginal returns in Chapter II, of comparative advantage in Chapter III, Section V, of the quantity theory of money and the market for foreign exchange in Chapter III, Sections VII-XVI, and of the aggregate budget constraint and the relationship between bequests and tax burdens in Chapter IV. James Mill’s exposition of the labor theory of value is so compelling and simple that it stood for over a generation, to much unfortunate misapplication. It still represents a logic so apparently correct that students and laymen alike easily lapse into it.

Elements of Political Economy, 3rd edition revised and corrected (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1844).


The text is in the public domain.

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