Adam Smith and J. B. Say

The Influence Of Smith’s Thought and Its Diffusion J. B. Say

The eighteenth century was essentially a century of levelling down. In Smith's conception of the economic world we have an excellent example of this. Its chief charm lies in the simplicity of its outlines, and this doubtless accounted for his influence among his contem­poraries. The system of natural liberty towards which both their political and philosophical aspirations seemed to point were here deduced from, and supported by, evidence taken direct from a study of human nature—evidence, moreover, that seemed to tally so well with known facts that doubt was out of the question. Smith's work still retains its irresistible charm. Even if his ideas are some day shown to be untenable—a contingency we cannot well imagine—his book will remain as a permanent monument of one of the most important epochs in economic thought. It must still be considered the most successful attempt made at embracing within a single purview the infinite diversity of the economic world.
But its simplicity also constituted its weakness. To attain this simplicity more than one important fact that refused to fit in with the system had to remain in the background. The evidence employed was also frequently incomplete. None of the special themes—price, wages, profits, and rent, the theory of international trade or of capital— which occupy the greater portion of the work, but has been in some way corrected, disputed, or replaced. But the structure loses stability if some of the corner-stones are removed. And new points of view have appeared of which Smith did not take sufficient account. Instead of the pleasant impression of simplicity and security which a perusal of Smith's work gave to the economists of the early nineteenth century, there has been gradually substituted by his successors a conviction of the growing complexity of economic phenomena.

To pass a criticism on the labours of Adam Smith would be to review the economic doctrines of the nineteenth century. That is the best eulogy one can bestow upon his work. The economic ideas of a whole century were, so to speak, in solution in his writings. Friends and foes have alike taken him as their starting-point. The former have developed, extended, and corrected his work. The latter have subjected his principal theories to harsh criticism at every point. All with tacit accord admit that political economy commenced with him. As Gamier, his French translator, put it, "he wrought a complete revolution in the science." To-day, even although the Wealth of Nations may no longer appear to us as a truly scientific treatise on political economy, certain of its fundamental ideas remain incontest­able. The theory of money, the importance of division of labour, the fundamental character of spontaneous economic institutions, the con­stant operation of personal interest in economic life, liberty as the basis of rational political economy—all these appear to us as definite acquisitions to the science.

The imperfections of the work will be naturally demonstrated in the chapters which follow. In order to complete our exposition of Smith's doctrines it only remains to show how they were diffused.

The rapid spread of his ideas throughout Europe and their incon­testable supremacy remains one of the most curious phenomena in the history of ideas. Smith persuaded his own generation and governed the next. History affords us some clue. To attribute it solely to the influence of his book is sheer exaggeration. A great deal must be set to the credit of circumstances more or less fortuitous.

M. Mantoux remarks with much justice that it was the American War rather than Smith's writings which demonstrated the decay of the ancient political economy and compassed its ruin. The War of Independence proved two things: (i) The danger lurking in a colonial system which could goad the most prosperous colonies to revolt; (2) the uselessness of a protective tariff, for on the very morrow of the war English trade with the American colonies was more flourish­ing than ever before. "The loss of the American colonies to England was really a gain to her." So wrote Say in 1803, and he adds: "This is a fact that I have nowhere seen disputed." To the American War other causes must be added: (1) The urgent need for markets felt by English merchants at the close of the Napoleonic Wars; they were already abundantly supplied with excellent machinery. (2) Coupled with this was a growing belief that a high price of corn as the result of agricultural protection increased the cost of hand labour. These two reasons were enough to create a desire for a general lowering of the customs duties.

Subsequent events have justified Smith's attitude on the question of foreign trade. In the matter of domestic trade he has been less fortunate.

The French Revolution, which owed its economic measures to the Physiocrats, gave a powerful impulse to the principle of liberty. The influence of the movement was potent enough on the Continent. Even in England, where this influence was least felt, everybody was in favour of laissez-faire. Pitt became anxious to free Ireland from its antiquated system of prohibitions, and he succeeded in doing this by his Act of Union on 1800. The regulations laid down by the Eliza­bethan Statute of Apprentices, with its limitation of the hours of work and the fixing of wages by justices of the peace, became more and more irksome as industry developed. Every historian of the Industrial Revolution has described the struggle between workers and masters and shown how the former clung in despair to the old legislative measures as their only safeguard against a too rapid change, while the latter refused to be constrained either in the choice of workmen or the methods of their work. They wished to pay only the wages that suited them and to use their machines as long as possible. These repeated attacks rendered the old Statute of Apprentices useless, and Parliament abolished its regulations one after another, so that by 1814 all traces of it were for ever effaced from the Statute Book.

But Smith did not foresee these things. He did not write with a view to pleasing either merchants or manufacturers. On the contrary, he was never weary of denouncing their monopolistic tendencies. But by the force of circumstances manufacturers and merchants became his best allies. His book supplied them with arguments, and it was his authority that they always invoked.

His authority never ceased growing. As soon as the Wealth of Matrons appeared, men like Hume, and Gibbon, the historian, expressed to Smith or to his friends their admiration of the new work. In the following year the Prime Minister, Lord North, borrowed from him the idea of levying two new taxes—the tax on malt and the tax on inhabited houses. Smith was yet to make an even more illustrious convert in the person of Pitt. Pitt was a student when the Wealth of Nations appeared, but he always declared himself a disciple of Smith, and as soon as he became a Minister he strove to realize his ideas. It was he who signed the first Free Trade treaty with France—the Treaty of Eden, 1786. When Smith came to London in 1787 Pitt met him more than once and consulted him on financial matters. The story is told that after one of these conversations Smith exclaimed: "What an extraordinary person Pitt is! He understands my ideas better than myself."

While Smith made converts of the most prominent men of his time, his book gradually reached the public. Four editions in addition to the first appeared during the author's lifetime. The third, in 1784, presents important differences in the way of additions and corrections as compared with the first. From the date of his death in 1790 to the end of the century three other editions were published.

Similar success attended the appearance of the work on the Conti­nent. In France he was already known through his Theory of Moral Sentiments. The first mention of the Wealth of Nations in France appears in the Journal des Savants in the month of February 1777. Here, after a brief description of the merits of the work, the critic gives expression to the following curious opinion:

Some of our men of letters who have read it have come to the conclusion that it is not a book that can be translated into our language. They point out, among other reasons, that no one would be willing to bear the expense of publishing because of the uncertain return, and a bookseller least of all. They are bound to admit, however, that the work is full of suggestions and of advice that is useful as well as curious, and might prove of benefit to statesmen.

In reality, despite the opinion of those men of letters, several transla­tions of the work did appear in France, as well as elsewhere in Europe. In little more than twenty years, between 1779 and 1802, four transla­tions had appeared. This in itself affords sufficient proof of the interest which the book had aroused.

Few works have enjoyed such complete and universal success. But despite admiration the ideas did not spread very rapidly. Faults of composition have been burdened with the responsibility for this, and it is a reproach that has clung to the Wealth of Nations from the first. Its organic unity is very pronounced, but Smith does not seem to have taken the trouble to give it even the semblance of outward unity. To discover its unity requires a real effort of thought. Smith whimsi­cally regarded it as a mere discourse, and the reading occasionally gives the impression of conversation. The general formulae which summarize or recapitulate his ideas are indifferently found either m the middle or at the end of a chapter, just as they arose. They repre­sent the conclusions from what preceded as they flashed across his mind. On the other hand, a consideration of such a question as money is scattered throughout the whole work, being discussed on no less than ten different occasions. As early as April I, 1776, Hume had expressed to Smith some doubts as to the popularity of the book, seeing that its reading demanded considerable attention. Sartorius in 1794 attributed to this difficulty the slow progress made by Smith's ideas in Germany. Germain Gamier, the French translator, gave an outline of the book in order to assist his readers. It was generally agreed that the work was a strildng one, but badly composed and difficult to penetrate owing to the confused and equivocal character of some of the paragraphs. When Say referred to it as "a chaotic collection of just ideas thrown indiscriminately among a number of positive truths,"1 he expressed the opinion of all who had read it.

But a complete triumph, so far as the Continent at least was con­cerned, had to be the work of an interpreter. Such an interpreter must fuse all these ideas into a coherent body of doctrines, leaving useless digressions aside. This was the task that fell into the hands of J. B. Say. Among his merits (and it is not the only one) is that of popu­larizing the ideas of the great Scots economist on the Continent, and of giving to the ideas a somewhat classical appearance. The task of discrediting the first French school of economists and of facilitating the expansion of English political economy fell, curiously enough, to the hands of a Frenchman.

J. B. Say was twenty-three years of age in 1789. At that time he was Clavieres's secretary. Clavieres became Minister of Finance in 1792, but at this period he was manager of an assurance company, and was already a disciple of Smith. Say came across some stray pages of the Wealth of Nations, and sent for a copy of the book.1 The impression it made upon him was profound. "When we read this work," he writes, "we feel that previous to Smith there was no such thing as political economy." Fourteen years afterwards, in 1803, appeared Le Traite d'economie politique. The book met with immediate success, and a second edition would have appeared had not the First Consul inter­dicted it. Say had refused to support the Consul's financial recom­mendations, and the writer, in addition to having his book proscribed, found himself banished from the Tribunate. Say waited until 1814 before republishing it. New editions rapidly followed, in 1817, 1819, and 1826. The treatise was translated into several languages. Say's authority gradually extended itself; his reputation became European; and by these means the ideas of Adam Smith, clarified and logically arranged in the form of general principles from which conclusions could be easily deduced, gradually captivated the more enlightened section of public opinion.

It would, however, be unjust to regard Say as a mere popularizer ofSmith's ideas. With praiseworthy modesty, he has never attempted to conceal all that he owed to the master. The master's name is men­tioned in almost every line, but he never remains content with a mere repetition of his ideas. These are carefully reconsidered and reviewed with discrimination. He develops some of them and emphasizes others. Amid the devious paths pursued by Smith, the French economist chooses that which most directly leads to the desired end. This path is so clearly outlined for his successors that "wayfaring men, though fools, could not err therein." In a sense he may be said to have filtered the ideas of the master, or to have toned his doctrines with the proper tints. He thus imparted to French political economy its distinctive character as distinguished from English political economy, to which at about the same time Malthus and Ricardo were to give an entirely new orientation. What interests us more than his borrowing is the personal share which he has in the work, an estimate of which we must now attempt.

(i) In the first place, Say succeeded in overthrowing the work of the Physiocrats.

The work of demolition was not altogether useless. In France there were many who still clung to the 'sect.' Even Germain Gamier, Smith's translator, considered the arguments of the Physiocrats theoretically irrefutable. The superiority of the Scots economist was entirely in the realm of practice. "We may," says he, "reject the Economistes' theory [meaning the Physiocrats'] because it is less useful, although it is not altogether erroneous." Smith himself, as we know, was never quite rid of this idea, for he recognized a special productive­ness of land as a result of the co-operation of nature, and doctors, judges, advocates, and artists were regarded as unproductive. But Say's admission was the last straw. Not in agriculture alone, but everywhere, "nature is forced to work along with man," and by the funds of nature was to be understood in future all the help that a nation draws directly from nature, be it the force of wind or rush of water. As to the doctors, lawyers, etc., how are we to prove that they take no part in production? Gamier had already protested against their exclusion. Such services must no doubt be classed as immaterial products, but products none the less, seeing that they possess exchange value and are the outcome" of the co-operation of capital and industry. In other respects also—e.g., in the pleasure and utility which they yield—services are not very unlike commodities. Say's doctrine meets with some opposition on this point, for the English economists were unwilling to consider a simple service as wealth because of its un­endurable character, and the consequent fact that it could not be considered as adding to the aggregate amount of capital. But he soon wins over the majority of writers. Finally Say, like Gondillac, discovered a decisive argument against Physiocracy in the fact that the production of material objects does not imply their creation. Man never can create, but must be content with mere transformation of matter. Production is merely a creation of utilities, a furthering of that capacity of responding to our needs and of satisfying our wants which is possessed by commodities; and all work is productive which achieves this result, whether it be industry, commerce, or agriculture. The Physiocratic distinction falls to the ground, and Say refutes what Smith, owing to his intimacy with his adversaries, had failed to disprove.

(2) On another point Say carries forward Smith's ideas, although at the same time superseding them. He subjects the whole conception of political economy and the role of the economist to a most thorough examination.

We have already noticed that the conception of the 'natural order' underwent considerable modification during the period which inter­vened between the writings of the Physiocrats and the appearance of the Wealth of Nations. The Physiocrats regarded the 'order' as one that was to be realized, and the science of political economy as essen­tially normative. For Smith it was a self-realizing order. This spon­taneity of the economic world is analogous to the vitality of the human body, and is capable of triumphing over the artificial barriers which Governments may erect against its progress. Practical political economy is based upon a knowledge of the economic constitution of society, and its sole aim is to give advice to statesmen. According to Say, this definition concedes too much to practice. Political economy, as he thinks, is just the science of this "spontaneous economic constitu­tion," or, as he puts it in 1814, it is a study of the laws which govern wealth.2 It is, as the title of his book suggests, simply an exposition of the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. It must be distinguished from politics, with which it has been too frequently confused, and also from statistics, which is a simple description of particular facts and not a science of co-ordinate principles at all.

Political economy in the hands of J. B. Say became a purely theoreti­cal and descriptive science. The role of the economist, like that of the savant, is not to give advice, but simply to observe, to analyse, and to describe. "He must be content to remain an impartial spectator," he writes to Malthus in 1820. "What we owe to the public is to tell them how and why such-and-such a fact is the consequence of another. Whether the conclusion be welcomed or rejected, it is enough that the economist should have demonstrated its cause; but he must give no advice."

In this way Say broke with the long tradition which, stretching from the days of the Canonists and the Cameralists to those of the Mercantilists and the Physiocrats, had treated political economy as a practical art and a guide for statesmen and administrators. Smith had already tried to approach economic phenomena as a scientist, but there was always something of the reformer in his attitude. Say's only desire was to be a mere student; the healing art had no attraction for him, and so he inaugurates the true scientific method. He, moreover, instituted a comparison between this science and physics rather than between it and natural history, and in this respect also he differed from Smith, for whom the social body was essentially a living thing. Without actually employing the term 'social physics,' he continually suggests it by his repeated comparison with Newtonian physics. The principles of the science, like the laws of physics, are not the work of men. They are derived from the very nature of things. They are not established; they are discovered. They govern even legislators and princes, and one never violates them with impunity. Like the laws of gravity, they are not confined within the frontiers of any one country, and the limits of State administration, which are all-important for the student of politics, are mere accidents for the economist. Political economy is accordingly based on the model of an exact science, with laws that are universal. Like physics, it is not so much concerned with the accumulation of particular facts as with the formulation of a few general principles from which a chain of consequences of greater or smaller length may be drawn according to circumstances.

A delight in uniformity, love of universality, and contempt for isolated facts, these are the marks of the savant. But the same qualities in men of less breadth of view may easily become deformed and result in faults of indifference or of dogmatism, or even contempt for all facts. And are not these very faults produced by the stress which he lays upon these principles? Was not political economy placed in a vulnerable position for the attacks of Sismondi, of List, of the Historical school, and of the Christian Socialists by this very work of Say? In his radical separation of politics and economics, in avoiding the ' practical' leanings of Adam Smith, he has succeeded in giving the science a greater degree of harmony. But it also acquired a certain frigidity which his less gifted successors have mistaken for banality or crudity. Rightly or wrongly, the responsibility is ascribed to Say.

(3) We have just seen the influence which the progress of the physical sciences had upon Say's conception of political economy; but he was also much influenced by the progress of industry. Between 1776, the date of the appearance of the Wealth of Nations, and the year 1803, when Say's treatise appeared, the Industrial Revolution had taken place. This is a fact of considerable importance for the history of economic ideas.

When Say visited England a little before 1789 he found machine production already in full swing there. In France at the same date manufactures were only just beginning. They increased rapidly under the Empire, and the progress after 1815 became enormous. Chaptal in his work De I'Industrie frangaise reckons that in 1819 there were 220 factories in existence, with 922,200 spindles consuming 13 million kilograms of raw cotton. This, however, only represented a fifth of the English production, which twenty years later was quad­rupled. Other industries were developing in a similar way. Everybody was convinced that the future must be along those lines—an indefinite future, it is true, but it was to be one of wealth, work, and well-being. The rising generation was intoxicated at the prospect. The most eloquent exposition of this debauchery will be found in Saint-Simonism.

Say did not escape the infection. While Smith gives agriculture the premier place, Say accords the laurels to manufactures. For many years industrial problems had been predominant in political economy, and the first official course of lectures given by Say himself at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers was entitled "A Course of Lectures on Industrial Economy."
In that hierarchy of activities which Smith had drawn up accord­ing to the varying degree of utility each possessed for the nation Smith had placed agriculture first. Say preserved the order, but placed alongside of agriculture "all capital employed in utilizing any of the productive forces of nature. An ingenious machine may pro­duce more than the equivalent of the interest on the capital it has cost to produce, and society enjoys the benefit in lower prices." This sentence is not found in the edition of 1803, and appears only in the second edition. Say in the meantime had been managing his factory at Auchy-les-Hesdins, and he had profited by his experience. This question of machinery, which was merely touched on by Smith in a short passage, finds a larger place in every successive edition of Say's work. The general adoption of machinery by manufacturers both in England and France frequently incited the workers to riot. Say does not fail to demonstrate its advantages. At first he admits that the Government might mitigate the resulting evils by confining the em­ployment of machinery at the outset to certain districts where labour is scarce or is employed in other branches of production. But by the beginning of the fifth edition he changed his advice and declared that such intervention involved interference with the inventor's property, admitting only that the Government might set up works of public utility in order to employ those men who are thrown out of employ­ment on account of the introduction of machinery.

The influence of these same circumstances must be accounted responsible for the stress which is laid by Say upon the role of an individual whom Smith had not even defined, though Gantillon had already emphasized that role, and who is henceforth to remain an important personage in the economic world, namely, the entrepreneur.3 At the beginning of the nineteenth century the principal agent of economic progress was the industrious, active, well-informed individual, either an ingenious inventor, a progressive agriculturist, or an ex­perienced business man. This type became quite common in every country where mechanical production and increasing markets became the rule. It is he rather than the capitalist properly so called, the landed proprietor, or the workman, who is "almost always passive," who directs production and superintends the distribution of wealth. "The power of industrial entrepreneurs exercises a most notable in­fluence upon the distribution of wealth," says Say. "In the same kind of industry one entrepreneur who is judicious, active, methodical, and willing makes his fortune, while another who is devoid of these qualities or who meets with very different circumstances would be ruined." Is it not the master spinner of Auchy-les-Hesdins who is speaking here? We are easily convinced of this if we compare the edition of 1803 with that of 1814, and we can trace the gradual growth and develop­ment of this conception with every successive edition of the work.

Say's classic exposition of the mechanism of distribution is based upon this very admirable conception, which is altogether superior to that of Smith or the Physiocrats. The entrepreneur serves as the pivot of the whole system. The following may be regarded as an outline of his treatment.

Men, capital, and labour furnish what Say refers to as productive services. These services, when brought to market, are given in ex­change for wages, interest, or rent. It is the entrepreneur, whether mer­chant, manufacturer, or agriculturist, who requires them, and it is he who combines them with a view to satisfying the demand of con­sumers. "The entrepreneurs, accordingly, are mere intermediaries who set up a claim for those productive services which are necessary to satisfy the demand for certain products." Accordingly there arises a demand for productive services, and the demand is "one of the factors determining the value of those services."

On the other hand, the agents of production, both men and things, whether land, capital, or industrial employees, offer their services in greater or less quantities according to various motives, and thus constitute another factor which determines the value of these same services.

In this fashion the law of demand and supply determines the price of services, the average rate of interest, and rent. Thanks to the entre­preneur, the value produced is again distributed among these "various productive services," and the various services allotted according to need among the industries. This theory of distribution is in complete accordance with the theory of exchange and production.

Say's very simple scheme of distribution constitutes a real progress. In the first place, it is much more exact than the Physiocrats', who conceived of exchange as taking place between classes only, and not between individuals. It also enables us to distinguish the remunera­tion of the capitalist from the earnings of the entrepreneur, which were confounded by Adam Smith. The Scots economist assumed that the entrepreneur was very frequently a capitalist, and confused the two functions, designating his total remuneration by the single word 'profit,' without ever distinguishing between net interest of capital and profit properly so called. This regrettable confusion was followed by other English authors, and remained in English economic theory for a long time. Finally, Say's theory has another advantage. It gave to his French successors a clear scheme of distribution which was wanting in Smith's work, just at the time when Ricardo was attempting to overcome the omission by outlining a new theory of distribution. According to Ricardo, rent, by its very nature and the laws which give rise to it, is opposed to other revenues, and the rate of wages and of profits must be regarded as direct opposites, so that the one can only increase if the other diminishes—an attractive but erroneous theory, and one which led to endless discussion among English econo­mists, with the result that they abandoned it altogether. Say, by showing this dependence, which becomes quite clear if we regard wages and profits from the point of view of demand for commodities, and by his demonstration that rent is determined by the same general causes—viz-, demand and supply—as determine the exchange value of other productive services, saved political economy in France from a similar disaster. It was he, also, who furnished Walras with the first outlines of his attractive conception of prices and economic equili­brium. This explains why he never attached to the theory of rent the supreme importance given to it by English economists. In this respect he has been followed by the majority of French economists. On the other hand, and for a similar reason, he never went to the opposite extreme of denying the existence of rent altogether by regarding it merely as the revenue yielded by capital sunk in land. In this way he avoided the error which Carey and Bastiat attempted to defend at a later period.

(4) So far it is Say's brilliant power of logical reasoning that we have admired. But has he contributed anything which is entirely new to the science?

His theory of markets was for a long time considered first-class work. "Products are given in exchange for products." It is a happy phrase, but it is not in truth very profound. It simply gives expression to an idea that was quite familiar to the Physiocrats and to Smith, namely, that money is but an intermediary which is acquired only to be passed on and exchanged for another product. "Once the exchange has been effected it is immediately discovered that products pay for products." Thus goods constitute a demand for other goods, and the interest of a country that produces much is that other countries should produce at least as much. Say thought that the outcome of this would be the advent of the true brotherhood of man. " The theory of markets will change the whole policy of the world," said he. He thought that the greater part of the doctrine of Free Trade could be based upon this principle. But to expect so much from such a vague, self-evident formula was to hope for the impossible.

Still more interesting is the way in which he applied this "theory of markets" to a study of over-production crises, and the light which that sheds upon the nature of Say's thought. Gamier had already pointed out that a general congestion of markets was possible. As crises multiplied this fear began to agitate the minds of a number of thinkers. "Nothing can be more illogical," writes Say. "The total supply of products and the total demand for them must of necessity be equal, for the total demand is nothing but the whole mass of com­modities which have been produced: a general congestion would consequently be an absurdity." It would simply mean a general increase of wealth, and "wealth is none too plentiful among nations, any more than it is among individuals." We may have an inefficient application of the means of production, resulting in the over-produc­tion of some one commodity or other—i.e., we may have partial over-production. Say wishes to emphasize the fact that we need never fear general over-production, but that we may have too much of some one product or other. He frequently gave expression to this idea in the form of paradoxes. We might almost be led to believe that he denies the existence of crises altogether in the second edition of his work. In reality he was very anxious to admit their existence, but he wished to avoid everything that might prove unfavourable to an extension of industry.

He thought that crises were essentially transient, and declared that individual liberty would be quite enough to prevent them. He was extremely anxious to get rid of the vague terrors which had haunted those people who feared that they would not be able to consume all this wealth, of a Malthus who thought the existence of the idle rich afforded a kind of safety-valve which prevented over-production, of a Sismondi who prayed for a slackening of the pace of industrial progress and a checking of inventions. Such thoughts arouse his indignation, especially, as he remarks, when it is remembered that even among the most flourishing nations "seven-eighths of the population are without a great number of products which would be regarded as absolute necessities, not by a wealthy family, but even by one of moderate means." The inconvenience—and he is never tired of repeating it—is not the result of over-production, but is the effect of producing what is not exactly wanted. Produce, produce all that you can, and in the natural course of events a lowering of prices will benefit even those who at first suffered from the extension of industry.

In this once-famous controversy between Say, Malthus, Sismondi, and Ricardo (the last sided with Say) we must not expect to find a clear exposition of the causes of crises. Indeed, that is nowhere to be found. All we have here is the expression of a sentiment which is at bottom perfectly just, but one which Say wrongly attempted to state in a scientific formula.

J. B. Say plays a by no means negligible part in the history of doc­trines. Foreign economists have not always recognized him. Diihring, who is usually perspicacious, is very unjust to him when he speaks of "the labour of dilution" to which Say devoted his energies. His want of insight frequently caused him to glide over problems instead of attempting to fathom them, and his treatment of political economy occasionally appears very superficial. Certain difficulties are veiled with pure verbiage—a characteristic in which he is very frequently imitated by Bastiat. Despite Say's greater lucidity, it is doubtful whether Smith's obscurity of style is not, after all, more stimulating for the mind. Notwithstanding all this, he was faithful in his trans­mission of the ideas of the great Scots economist into French. Happily his knowledge of Turgot and Gondillac enabled him to rectify some of the more contestable opinions of his master, and in this way he avoided many of the errors of his successors. He has left his mark upon French political economy, and had the English economists adopted his con­ception of the entrepreneur earlier, instead of waiting until the appear­ance of Jevons, they would have spared the science many useless discussions provoked by the work of a thinker who was certainly more profound but much less judicious than Say, namely, David Ricardo.