The paper grew out of discussions with Japanese colleagues about Ricardo’s theory of profits on the occasion of a meeting at Meiji University in September 2009. It is argued that from an early time onwards Ricardo was convinced that the rate of prof- its could be ascertained in purely physical terms, without any question of valuation. Unfortunately, he was not given the time to translate this vision into a coherent and general theory. However, the vision permeates all his consecutive attempts at formu- lating such a theory-from the early ‘corn-ratio theory’ via the Essay on Profits to the Principles. The theory was meant to be general, taking into account all industries of the economy and paying due attention to their relationships. Ricardo understood that when it comes to the determination of the rate of profits, only those industries matter, which directly or indirectly contribute to the production of ‘necessaries,’ or wage goods, whereas industries that produce ‘luxuries’ do not. The concept of ‘corn,’ a com- posite commodity, was designed to reflect the set of industries producing necessaries. The surplus of necessaries over the amounts of them employed in production as capi- tal gives the rate of profits as a physical ratio. Ricardo’s ‘fundamental law of distribu- tion’ expresses the inverse relationship between the general rate of profits, conceived in this way, and real wages. It was Piero Sraffa who finally managed to elaborate a coherent and comprehensive theory of profits that confirmed Ricardo’s vision that the laws of distribution are ‘not essentially connected with the doctrine of value’ and overcame the shortcomings of Ricardo’s analysis.
JEL classification numbers: B 24, D 33, D 51.
One of the most distinguished features of Frank Knightʼs liberal thought seems to be his eco-nomic, political, and ethical criticisms both of the case for and against the free-enterprise com-petitive system. Through this multi-level, poly-angular analysis and on a resignation that the system appears as the best or “least worst” as possible human beings build on earth, Knight continued to identify many defects in the sys-tem, and disclose many absurdities in the way of thinking on which we rest unwittingly. For “menʼs errors,” he believed, “mostly lie in their premises, not in bad logic.”
In this paper, I select the following five top-ics through which Knight repeatedly discussed our premises: （1） uneconomic aspect of compe-tition, （2） normative and conservative character of positive economics, （3） imaginary nature othe idea of natural rights, （4） self-deconstructive tendency of business and the power game, and （5） plural meanings of love in liberal society.This paper proposes that Knightʼs radical yet constructive criticisms aimed to refine, rather than advocate, the free-enterprise competitive system and warn against the fallacy of “absolut-ism: holding that a statement must be either true or false and that, if false, antithesis must be true.” So this essay not only destructs the image of Knight as a neo-classical economist, but also clarifies the differences and similarities between him and later Chicagoans. That is, it illuminates the contrary directions of their perspectives and the identical iconoclastic propensity for disclos-ing implicit postulates.
JEL classification numbers: B 19, B 31, B 41.
This paper aims to grasp the political and socio-economic background of the Union of 1707 and the characteristics of Daniel Defoeʼs social thought through an examination of his major historical work, The History of the Union of Great Britain （1709）.
On the eve of the Union, Defoe served as an English spy among Scottish people and wit-nessed a surge of their anti-English passions firsthand. The works by Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, the most influential contemporary Scot-tish republican writer, embodied these antipa-thies in a very sophisticated manner. Defoe paid close attention to both the republican thought and its vocabulary typically expressed in Fletch-erʼs texts and managed to combine them with the rhetoric of divine providence. This was an intel-lectual activity for the creation of a historical narrative in which the distressed Scottish people could finally find relief. Defoeʼs History of the Union asserted that the conflicts between England and Scotland had been transmuted into peacemaking factors by the leading of providence. Some contemporary affairs were considered as examples: the founda-tion of the Company of Scotland Trading to Af-rica and the Indies, Massacre of Glencoe, Act of Settlement in England, Act of Security in Scot-land, Alien Act in England, and execution of Captain Green after seizing of the ship Worces-ter in Scotland.
While recounting these affairs, the present paper focuses on the nature of the rhetoric to which Defoe appeals. His appeal to “an Invisible Hand” represents a concealing design, that is, to appease the complex feelings held by those liv-ing in North Britain. His History of the Union seems to have been written to persuade them rather than to preserve historical facts them-selves.
JEL classification numbers: B 11, B 31, N 40.
This paper aims to discuss Joseph Priestleyʼs ar-gument regarding antislavery and compare his contention with those of Erasmus Darwin and Adam Smith. Eighteenth-century England wit-nessed numerous arguments over antislavery.
Joseph Priestley, known as a prolific writer, also wrote a remarkable book on antislavery, A Sermon of the Slave Trade （1788）, hereafter SST The book, however, has not gained promi-nence. Priestleyʼs argument regarding antislavery also featured in his Lectures on History and General Policy （1788, hereafter LH）. He gave lectures on history, language and grammar, and law and politics at the Warrington Academy from 1761 to 1767 and organized and published them later. In the book, Priestley divided his dis-cussions on slavery on the basis of two aspects, humanitarian and economic, and discussed them briefly. Priestley discussed slavery in great detail in SST. The humanitarian discussions were previously conducted by Darwin. He appealed to the benevolence implanted in human nature. Al-though Priestley did not directly refer to Darwin, their arguments were rather similar. With regard to the economic discussions, Priestley said that he read Smithʼs Wealth of Nations （1776）, wherein he discovered certain general principles illustrated by Smith. Priestley learned considera-bly from Smith and was inspired by him. More-over, Priestleyʼs antislavery debates were influ-enced by Smithʼs arguments.
Both the humanitarian and economic charac-teristics of Priestleyʼs argument coexisted in his books, whether LH or SST. Therefore, Priestley considered not only the economic aspects dis-cussed by Smith but also the humanitarian （or ethical） aspects, which continued to feature in the mainstream after Hutcheson advocated them. Smith had not discussed the latter aspect.
JEL classification numbers: B 12, B 31.
This paper aims to clarify Dugald Stewartʼs view on poverty. He has generally been considered an optimist and admirer of the development of commercial society and unlimited free trade. However, notably, Stewart emphasized the im-portance of poor relief in his influential Lectures on Political Economy （1800―1810）. I will show the significance of his view on the establishment of public granaries related to the Scottish poor relief system, which, historically, had had an enormous effect on the maintenance of the poor. However, Stewart recognized that the Scot-tish poor relief system would augment financial burdens through the annual increase of poor rates. In this paper, I attempt to explain the sig-nificance of Stewartʼs realistic view of the evils of charitable workhouses, factory labor, and so on, focusing mainly on his criticism of poor laws as leading to an increase in poverty. Moreover, I shall highlight the important fact that Stewart indeed proposed various forms of poor relief. The basic components of his poor relief policies can be summarized as follows: （1） possession of property among the lower classes, （2） im-provements in the prison system, and （3） gradu-al advancement of low wages. The first relates to the improvement of morals and the incentive to work; the second, the prevention and correc-tion of crimes; and the third, the improvement of their living conditions through economic devel-opment.
Focusing on his arguments on these poor re-lief policies, I will illuminate the historical sig-nificance of Stewartʼs original view of poor re-lief in the early nineteenth century after Smith.
JEL classification numbers: B 30, B 31, I 31.
This paper aims to review the scholarship on Adam Smithʼs The Wealth of Nations （WN） in the past decade. The publication of The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith （1976―1987） led to the so-called “Adam Smith Renaissance” that has encouraged many scholars from different disciplines to con-duct interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary stud-ies on Smith. In addition to the studies on Scot-tish Enlightenment, the establishment of the In-ternational Adam Smith Society （IASS） in 1995 and the publication of the Adam Smith Review (ASR） in association with the IASS since 2004 further promoted interdisciplinary studies on Smith.
Thus, the interdisciplinary wave of interest in Smithʼs moral philosophy is an outstanding feature of the latest scholarship on Smith. How-ever, as the interdisciplinary studies on Smith have advanced increasingly, there has been a definite waning of interest in his economics con-cerning WN. This phenomenon is indicated straightforwardly in Den Uyl （2008, 4） who mentions that “We can no longer say that WN is somehow the ʻessentialʼ Smith” and in Forman-Barzilai （2008, 219） who affirms that “Smithʼs political economy itself was not the centre on his thought, but rather its place in a lager project of moral philosophy.”
Part I of this paper is a prologue to the man-ner in which the WN was studied in the past dec-ade. Part II discusses two excellent foreign works, Fleischackerʼs On Adam Smithʼs Wealth of Nations （2004） and Aspromourgosʼ The Sci-ence of Wealth （2009）. These two books sharply contrast with each other, because the former has a philosophical approach to WN, while the latter adopts an orthodox style used by economic his-torians. Part III considers the scholarship on the WN in Japan. Inamuraʼs Reconsideration of the system of The Wealth of Nations （2003）, Ta-jimaʼs Adam Smithʼs Institutional Economics (2003）, and Takemotoʼs Across The Wealth of Nations （2005） will be mainly reviewed in this paper. In part III, I aim to ascertain the ortho-doxy of our scholarship on WN and its transfigu-ration in comparison with the scholarship abroad. Part IV, the epilogue, briefly surveys the origin of WN （Smithʼs political economy） in or-der to understand the nature of modern econom-ics.
JEL classification number: B12, B31, A12.