James Steuart

Steuart, James

 

Born Oct. 21, 1712, in Edinburgh; died there Nov. 26, 1780. Scottish economist; one of the last representatives of mercantilism.

Steuart’s principal work, Inquiry Into the Principles of Political Economy (1767), was one of the first attempts at a systematic presentation of political economy. While remaining a mercantilist and considering the current balance of foreign trade the source of social wealth, Steuart did not think that exchange at a profit was the only source of profit. He distinguished between real and relative profit. The former arises from an increase in labor, effort, and skills, while the latter is created by selling commodities at prices above their value. Steuart thus came close to solving the problem of the origin of surplus value but did not explain it scientifically.

K. Marx saw Steuart’s contribution as a correct interpretation of the primitive accumulation of capital and noted that Steuart analyzed “the delineation of the conditions of production as the property of a definite class from the labor power” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 26, part 1, p. 11).

Steuart offered a critique of the quantitative theory of money, but in doing so he advanced the erroneous concept of an ideal monetary unit, confusing the function of money as a measure of the value with the price level and separating ideal money from actual money (gold or silver).

WORKS

The Works: Political, Metaphysical and Chronological, vols. 1–6. London, 1805.
Marx, K. “K kritike politicheskoi ekonomii.” K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 13. Chapter 2.
Marx, K. “Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (vol. 4 of Kapital). Ibid., vol.26. Parti, ch. 1.

A. A. KHANDRUEV

References in periodicals archive ?
Also, Tieben makes many interesting remarks on the priority of academic discoveries, such as that the "first ideas concerning economic equilibrium" came from the ancient Greeks, Aristotle was the "first to recognize that traders have a reciprocal benefit from exchange," James Steuart was the first to use the word "equilibrium," and Marshall was the "first to realize the usefulness of equilibrium theory" in studying complex economic phenomena.
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Montesquieu, James Steuart y Adam Smith consideraron el interes como un tipo de pasion benevola que podia dominar o mantener a raya las pasiones malvadas, como la violencia o el despotismo de los gobernantes.
Applying his knowledge of the history of monetary thought, Tom traced the debate from the mercantilist writers John Law and James Steuart to their classical quantity theory critics David Hume and others in the 18th century, to the Bullionist-Antibullionist controversy in the early 19th century, to the Currency School-Banking School debate in the middle decades of that century, to the mid-19th / early 20th century disputes between cost-pushers Thomas Tooke and James Laurence Laughlin and their opponents Knut Wicksell and Irving Fisher, and finally to the German hyperinflation debate of the early-to-mid-1920s.
He partially inherited the ambivalence and inconsistency of his account from Sir James Steuart (1713-80) and Adam Ferguson (1723-1816), who grappled with three issues which pertain to Hegel's exposition: the repercussions of extraterritorial expansion for a commercial society and the social bonds unifying its citizens; the appropriate form of public intervention in a market economy when it deviates from the ideal of free competition and produces poverty; and the social implications of population increase when it outstrips economic growth.
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First, it necessarily entails the omission of recalcitrant, though considerable writers such as the economist James Steuart, as well as a paradoxical presentation of Hume as a central yet 'eccentric' figure.
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