Political Discourses


Category: Economics/Politics

By David Hume

Published in 1779

First Edition. “Political Discourses” by David Hume is a collection of essays on political economy published in 1752. The treaties cover various topics including commerce, money, interest, taxes, credit, trade and various other economic topics. It was very successful upon its first publication.

The essays were incorporated into “Essays Moral, Political and Literary,” published in 1758; along with the treatises published in “Essays Moral and Political,” first published in 1741-1742. The essays appeared in a larger collection of essays in “Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects,” published in 1753.

The new ideas that Hume introduced in “Political Discourses” helped build classical economics in the 18th century. His ideas where thought to be insightful and included thoughts such as: wealth consists of commodities, not money; low interest is a sign of booming trade, not an abundance of money; no nation can continue to export for only bullion; and free trade is mutually beneficial to those nations with special materials and skills.

While Hume did not develop an economic theory, these ideas had a lasting effect on economics and political philosophy that even the famous Scottish economist and author of “The Wealth of Nations, “Adam Smith acknowledged.