Political and Economic Theory
Kames was called a “political economist” by his biographer, as well as lawyer, philosopher and critic — and he might have added “improver.” The term may not have had quite the same connotations then that it has for us today; and even today we do not always distinguish clearly between economic policy and economic analysis in the study of wealth phenomena. But in any event, the term does suggest the propriety of discussing his political theory and his economic theory in the same chapter. While Kames was perhaps more original in discussing the latter than the former, he did indeed give considerable attention to both, in their separate and distinctive character and in their relationship to one another.
KeywordsEconomic Theory Body Politic Economic Subject Favorable Balance American Coloni
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- 16.These “sketches” (Sketches,Book I, Sketches 1, 2 and 3, and Book II, Sketch 8, Secs. 1–7) are the nearest Kames anywhere comes to a systematic treatment of economic theory.Google Scholar
- 17.Sir James Steuart-Denham, Principles of Political Economy,(Edinburgh, 1767), vol. I, Book I, esp. Chs. III-VI.Google Scholar
- 36.Karnes does not, of course, pretend to a systematic treatment of economic theory; yet the “sketches” drawn upon in the above analysis do constitute a gesture in that direction and therefore deserve comparison with the works of other contributors to the development of economic doctrine. The writings in English that particularly come into question here, beside Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations,are the following: a few discussions here and there in Locke’s political writings; Hume’s essays on money, interest, “the balance of trade,” “the jealousy of trade,” taxes and related subjects in his Political Discourses,first published in 1748 and later somewhat revised; Bishop Josiah Tucker’s Brief Essay on the Advantages and Disadvantages which Respectively Attend France and Great Britain with Regard to Trade (London, 1750), and also his Four Tracts... on Political and Commercial Subjects (Glocester, 1774), and some of the letters addressed to Lord Kames and published by Tytler as Appendix I (pp. 3–17) to Volume II of the Memoirs; Sir James Steuart-Denham’s Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy,and perhaps also Berkeley’s Queries. Kames was, as already noted, also familiar with the writings on economic subjects of Turgot, Quesnay and the French Physiocrats generally.Google Scholar