chapter
34 Pages

"The influences

Sir Sydney Chapman's one negative reference to inheritance has been noticed already.

All these references are meagre enough, but we have now to notice further that a considerable number of distinguished writers make no reference whatever to inheritance. There is no reference to it, as we have already seen, in either of Professor Clark's two books on distribution. None of Professor Edgeworth's articles on distribution contain any mention of it, nor does Professor Carver's Distribution of Wealth (1904), nor Professor Hadley's Economics (18g6), nor Mr. Wicksteed's Commonsense of Political Economy (1910). Professor Pareto ignores it in his Cours d'Economie Politique (1896}, and thereby falls into a startling positive error, concerning which more will be said shortly. Mr. ]. A. Hobson never mentions it either in his Evolution of Modern Capitalism (1906), his Economics of Distribution (1907) or his Industrial System (rgog). Always eager to criticise orthodox economists, Mr. Hobson here missed a golden opportunity. 2

§II. The French Revolution, as has already been noticed, terrified Bentham into opposition to any great change in the existing law of property, and his influence over his contemporaries deadened all fruitful speculation upon this subject. For new ideas are asphyxiated in an atmosphere of nervous caution. Again we have seen that " Ricardo, as became a stockbroker, took" private property "for granted,"1 and that, with the exception of J. S. Mill and Sidgwick, most English economists meekly followed his example throughout the nineteenth century. 2 After Sidgwick thought on this subject seems to fade away like a stream in the midst of desert sand. other economists and that its persistent reiteration by Mr. Hobson bas tended to divert attention from othl'>r contributions made by him to economic thought. Among these there may be noticed, from our present point of view, his distinction between costs, productive surplus and unproductive surplus, developed at length in his Industrial System. But, though interesting and suggestive, this distinction is not very logically handled by its author.