I have felt, the need of rendering determinate by symbols familiar to them, an analysis which is generally indeterminate and often obscure, in authors who have thought fit to confine themselves to the resources of ordinary language. In thinking that they may be led by their reflexions to enter upon this path, I hope that my book may be of some use to them, and may lessen their labour.
In the remarks on the first notions of competition and the mutual relations of producers, they may possibly notice certain relations, which are very curious from a purely abstract standpoint, without reference to proposed applications.
I have not set out to make a complete and dogmatic treatise on Political Economy; I have put aside questions, to which mathematical analysis cannot apply, and those which seem to me entirely cleared up already. I have assumed that this book will only fall into the hands of readers who are familiar with what is found in the most ordinary books on these topics.
I am far from having thought of writing in support of any system, and from joining the banners of any party; I believe that there is an immense step in passing from theory to governmental applications; I believe that theory loses none of its value in thus remaining preserved from contact with impassioned polemics; and I believe, if this essay is of any practical value, it will be chiefly in making clear how far we are from being able to solve, with full knowledge of the case, a multitude of questions which are boldly decided every day.