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Value and Riches

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  • B12 - Classical (Includes Adam Smith)
  • B0 - General


The distinction between ‘value’ and ‘riches’ was first highlighted by Ricardo in Chapter XX, ‘Value and Riches, their distinctive Properties’, of his Principles (1821). Ricardo’s aim was to clear up Smith’s famous statement that “every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life” (1776, Bk.I, Ch.V). The paper argues that Ricardo's criticism of Smith's statement is as inaccurate as Smith's peculiar way of developing by such a statement his crucial distinction between the wealth of an individual and the wealth of a society as well as his analysis of the mechanisms by which the search for increasing the former (via the notion of "exchangeable values") results in an actual increase of the latter (via the notion of "use values").

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