The difficulties in economic life arise mainly because men forget divine power
The expenses of the royal household, wars, and lavish public building were financed by tolls and the profits of the king's foreign trade monopoly, by conscription of labour and heavy taxation. The results were impoverishment of the masses, alienation of land, and the development of a proletariat.
Ideas appropriate to a past social order have a strange power of influencing thought and action within a later institutional frame work.
Adam Smith himself was under no allusion about the desire of individuals, particularly business men, to create privileged positions for themselves.
Christ, addressing Himself to the labourers of His time, proclaimed for the first time the worthiness both in material and a spiritual sense of all work.
The second difficulty inherent in the contradictory character of the commodity is this: a commodity must have use value, but not for its owner, for if it had, it would cease to be a commodity.
In its origins the utility school was strongly influenced by a desire to strengthen the potentially apologetic character of economics.
Those who claim that Marx invented the ides of the class struggle should read not only his English socialist forerunners, but also a man like Burke.
Ricardo, writing fifty years later than Smith, showed a greater insight into the working of the economic system; but as for the subtlety (whatever demerit there may be in that!) the Scot does not lose by comparison with the Jew.
The whole Marxian system springs from classical political economy as it found expression in Ricardo.
Capitalism had been more revolutionary then any previous social system. It had swept away without scruples old institutions and modes of thought, if they were found to stand in its way.
Robbed of a foundation of political philosophy on which (how ever illegitimately) it had based itself, economics is in great danger of becoming a plaything of demagogy.