Page:Cournot Theory of Wealth (1838).djvu/21

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RESEARCHES

INTO

THE MATHEMATICAL PRINCIPLES

OF

THE THEORY OF WEALTH



CHAPTER I


OF VALUE IN EXCHANGE OR OF WEALTH IN GENERAL


1. The Teutonic root Rik or Reich, which has passed into all the Romance languages, vaguely expressed a relation of superiority, of strength, or of power. Los ricos hombres is still used in Spain for distinguished noblemen and eminent men, and such is also the force of the words riches hommes in the French of de Joinville. The idea which the word wealth presents to us to-day, and which is relative to our state of civilization, could not have been grasped by men of Teutonic stock, either at the epoch of the Conquest, or even at much later periods, when the feudal law existed in full vigour. Property, power, the distinctions between masters, servants and slaves, abundance, and poverty, rights and privileges, all these are found among the most savage tribes, and seem to flow necessarily from the natural laws which preside over aggregations

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