The Distribution of Wealth: A Theory of Wages, Interest and Profits

John Bates Clark, from the Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection
Clark, John Bates
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New York: The Macmillan Company
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The text of this edition is in the public domain. Picture of John Bates Clark courtesy of The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University.
About this Book

This 1908 edition is the third reprinting of Clark's path-breaking, yet widely under-read, 1899 textbook, in which he developed marginal productivity theory and used it to explore the way income is distributed between wages, interest, and rents in a market economy. In this book Clark made the theory of marginal productivity clear enough that we take it for granted today. Yet, even today, the power of his methodical development of what seems obvious at first glance clarifies and demolishes inaccurate theories that linger on. His work remains illuminating because of its classic explanations of the mobility of capital via its recreation while it wears out, the difference between static and dynamic models, the equivalence of rent and interest, the inability of entrepreneurs to "exploit" (meaning, underpay) labor (or capital) in a competitive market economy, the flaws of widely-quoted existing theories such as the labor theory of value and the irrelevance of rent on land, and, in a famous footnote, why von Thünen's concept of final productivity didn't go far enough.

The work is reproduced here in full with the exception of Clark's textbook-style marginal notes and his "chapter overviews" in the Table of Contents.

Lauren Landsburg
Editor, Library of Economics and Liberty
June, 2001