Two Essays in Economics
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1890. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... WEALTH. I., DEFINITION AND UNIT. According to the common and general opinion anything is wealth which admits of ownership and has a money value. If a man possesses anything which has no money value; or, in common parlance is not worth a cent, it is not wealth. But if he can sell it, he infers that it is wealth although he may be ignorant of the cause of its value. As for instance, one may gather ginseng and sell it, and therefore regard it as wealth, although he may have no knowledge of its virtues--if indeed it has any. The word wealth as commonly used is the name given to each one of a class of objects, which answer to the above definition separately, and also, to the entire class collectively. As the word is often used it implies abundance, affluence, opulence, riches; but quantities are comparative, and under the definition (Webster) is quoted the expression, I have little wealth to lose (Shaks). Therefore, it is proper to use the word to designate a thing as wealth, or as belonging to a class of objects so called, whether the quantity or value of the article is great or small. The above definition requires that all objects, which are entitled to be called wealth, must possess a value common to them all, and which is called money value. This definition, although it i.s directly deducible from the actual use of the word, wealth, demands for its elucidation an explanation of the word value, and especially of money value, Anything which is either necessary, useful, or agreeable to a man has value to him. It has utility to him--utility being the state or quality of being useful (Webster). The man has a desire, or want (a demand) and the thing has a capacity to satisfy it (a supply). Therefore, the thing has utility to him; it p...
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