20 Pages



It is not easy to give a satisfactory definition of the term “ political economy ”,1 The conception itself is, indeed, somewhat vague-a natural state of affairs in the infancy of a science. Literally, the name indicates national housekeeping or the theory of national housekeeping. Yet, at any rate nowadays, a nation has no common housekeeping, but every individual manages his own affairs. The State itself constitutes a management of some affairs in common and the same is true of the local units ; the housekeeping of those units is dealt with by the science of public finance, which, though it must be regarded as a part (and an important part) of political economy, is by no means the whole. In modern times, moreover, it has become customary to treat public finance as a distinct science.