Um economista historiador, Alain Alcouffe, de uma das listas acadêmicas que sigo, a Societies for the History of Economics, colocou uma questão interessante, vinda de um desconhecido articulista de meados do século XIX (1846) que conforma uma primeira crítica liberal à desigualdade existente entre capitalistas e trabalhadores, o que conforma o exato ambiente no qual se constitui o pensamento marxiano sobre a desigualdade inerente ao capitalismo.
O debate, no entanto, é sobre as diferenças entre riqueza e prosperidade, ou entre prosperidade e felicidade geral da população.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
National Wealth not to be confounded with national Prosperity
Societies for the History of Economics <SHOE@YORKU.CA>
The enigmatic last sentence of Adam Smith's obituary published by the Times (Saturday, 24 July 1790) stressed a distinction between "national wealth" on the one hand and "national prosperity" on the other hand which can be compared with the contemporary contrast between the GDP and the Gross National Happiness.
he [A. Smith] deserves the chief praise, or the chief blame, of propagating a system which tends to confound National Wealth with national Prosperity.
I tried to trace the history of this distinction and found an anonymous article in the Tate's magazine about 'The law of primogeniture', in the Tait's Edinburgh Magazine edited by William Tait, Christian Isobel Johnstone (December 1846, pp. 797-801 (I have taken it from a google book easy to download). It includes some developments about national prosperity versus national happiness.
No name of author is given and I wonder if anybody has an idea about this author. I just cannot find who was this opponent to the law of primogeniture and proponent of the "national happiness" through equality.
- It is a great and vulgar error to confound national prosperity and national happiness. The distribution rather than the amount of wealth among a people, contributes principally to general happiness. There can be no doubt that our country has added to its riches during the present century; but it is very clear that the well-being of the bulk of the community has not increased in a corresponding ratio. Between capital and labour there is a great gulf fixed, and while the one ascends in the social scale, the course of the other is one continued descent. To obtain the greatest happiness for the greatest number ought to be the object of political economy: but while the interests of the many are thus sacrificed to the few, we can hardly expect that the arrangements of society and the distribution of property should be in unison with the spirit of the age, and the march of intellect.
Thanks for any hint or simply guess
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