The Common Sense of Political Economy
By Philip H. Wicksteed
Philip H. Wicksteed (1844-1927) wrote the
The Common Sense of Political Economy, Including a Study of the Human Basis of Economic Law (Macmillan and Co., Limited, St. Martin’s Street, London) in 1910.The edition presented here is the first edition, which was widely used as an economics textbook in classrooms in the United Kingdom and the United States, and probably elsewhere as well.A few corrections of obvious typos were made for this website edition. We also added occasional parentheses or square brackets to mathematical expressions for clarity [this was necessary in cases where the requirements of browsers to print fractions with a solidus (“/”) causes potential confusion when the entire fraction is to be multiplied by a subsequent factor:
e.g., to distinguish (1/2
x) versus (1/2)
x]. However, because the original edition was so internally consistent and carefully proofread, we have erred on the side of caution, allowing some typos to remain lest someone doing academic research wishes to follow up. We have changed some small caps to full caps for ease of using search engines.Editor
Library of Economics and Liberty
First Pub. Date
London: Macmillan and Co.
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
Philip H. Wicksteed, M.A.
The Common Sense of Political Economy
Including a Study of the Human Basis of Economic Law
NECNON ET ALIIS QUIBUSDAM
URBI FORSITAN ET ORBI PAENE IGNOTIS
TIBI SALTEM ET MIHI
LIBRUM HUNC QUALEMCUNQUE
This book is intended primarily as a popular but systematic exposition of the “marginal” theory of Economics. The Introduction will make it clear that the author makes no claim to originality or priority with respect to anything that it contains. It is not a history; and the question it is concerned with is not who first made any given application of the “marginal” theory to Economics, but what are the main applications of that theory inevitably demanded by the facts. The general absence of references or acknowledgments, therefore, must not in any case be regarded as an implied claim on the author’s part to a special property in the argument or illustration in question.
But whereas this general explanation will, I hope, clear me from the charge of ingratitude, or worse, with reference to the great masters and the published works on Economics, it cannot absolve me from the duty of registering some few of the personal obligations under which I have from time to time been laid during the many years over which the direct and indirect preparations for this work have extended.
To Mr. Graham Wallas, to Mr. H. H. Cunynghame, and to several members of my own family, I owe criticisms or suggestions which they may well have forgotten, but which have been of decisive importance to the development of my own thought. To very many friends, of whom I will only mention Mr. H. T. Gerrans of Worcester College, Oxford, Professor Kuenen of Leiden, Mr. James Rigg of the Royal Mint, Mr. H. R. Beeton of the Stock Exchange, and Mr. S. H. Davies of York, I owe help and information ungrudgingly given on special points. To Professor Foxwell I am grateful for encouragement and support that have never failed since I first began the study of Political Economy, and to Professor Steffen of Gothenburg I owe a like debt of almost as long standing. To Professor Lees Smith I have to offer my very special thanks for his kindness in reading the manuscript of the First Book and giving me valuable suggestions about it. I need hardly add that not one of these gentlemen is either directly or indirectly responsible for any arguments or conclusions contained in this work.
Other obligations, not less deeply felt, I am, for one cause or another, precluded at present from expressly acknowledging.