By Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy
The forget of Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy (17541836) within the heritage of political economic climate is either unusual and tragic. He used to be, in spite of everything, Thomas Jefferson's #1, favourite economist, the philosopher who motivated him and, arguably, laid the ideological starting place of the yankee economy as Jefferson understood it.
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Observation. These two precautions are necessary, the first to assemble, as far as possible, all the elements which really appertain to the idea in question, the second to separate from it in like manner all those which are foreign to it, and which might mingle themselves with it, and alter it, without our perceiving it. APHORISM TENTH. After these two necessary preliminaries, if we are still in doubt as to the judgment we are to form, the most useful expedient of which we can avail ourselves, is to make an enumeration the most complete possible of the elements composing the idea, which is the subject of the judgment, and principally of those which have relation to the idea which we propose to attribute to it, that is to say, to the attribute of the contemplated judgment.
And it is a theft which injures even him who commits it. A theft of greater magnitude, and still more ruinous, is the making of paper money. It is greater, because in tills money there is absolutely no real value. It is more ruinous, because by its gradual depreciation, during all the time of its existence, it produces the effect which would be produced by an infinity of successive deteriorations of the coins. All these iniquities are founded on the false idea that money is but a sign, while it is value and a true equivalent of that for which it is given.
W e have then no other effectual means of avoiding error, but to assure ourselves well of the comprehension of the idea of which we judge, that is to say, of the elements of which it is composed. Observation. That is not possible, unless we commence by well determining the extension of this idea, for it contains many elements in certain degrees of its extension, which it does not in others, that is to say, it is not exactly similar to itself, it is not rigorously the same idea in their different degrees of extension.