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Anders Chydenius
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The National Gain

The text
Notes on the text
The original work (in Swedish)


Anders Chydenius went to the Diet of 1765-66 in Stockholm, with the main goal to have foreign trading rights accorded for the towns in Ostrobothnia. Soon after the commencement of the Diet he published a number of political pamphlets at a rapid rate, where he also criticized other faults in the
economical system of Sweden, such as the so called commodity ordinance. As these writings gave rise to an extensive and heated debate, Chydenius wanted to put forward his viewpoint on the basic factors in economic activity. This resulted in The National Gain (Den Nationnale Winsten), which was published in July 1765.

In his essay, Chydenius completely rejects the basic assumptions of mercantilist policy; economic life can not be planned and directed from above. If one wants economic activities to gain the nation as a whole, then the only guiding principle for this should be freedom. When people can advance their own selfish interests and get their livelihood in the way they consider the best, economic activity increases and the "national gain" will grow. When the laws of supply and demand prevailed, it was possible to achieve a natural balance between trades.

The National Gain is a pure treatise of classical liberalism, which is why posterity often has considered it one of Chydenius´most important works. Due to this work, Chydenius has been compared to Adam Smith. The democratic basic view of Chydenius has often been left unnoticed, however. He objected both to the patronage by the state and to monopolistic large-scale entrepreneurship; His view is that freedom in economic life is freedom at grass-root level, the individual´s right to realize his ideas in life.

Notes on the text

Source: Chydenius, Anders, The National Gain. With an introduction by Georg Schauman. London: Ernest Benn Limited 1931. Translator unknown. Also published as a facsimile edition: Chydenius Anders, The National Gain. With an introduction by Georg Schauman and Matti Klinge. 1994. ISBN

The original: Den Nationnale Winsten, Wördsammast öfwerlämnad til Riksens Höglofliga Ständer, Af En Deras Ledamot. Stockholm 1765.

In this context the following alterations have been made in the text :

- in the source, p. 54 (§7), an error has been corrected in the sentence: "Neither is the Ducat ever so red that it will be given for bread, as
our ancestors used to say". , should be "..it will not be given..."
- the italics that are not found in the Swedish original have been removed in the text. Boldface print in the original text is expressed with bold
face, and the quotations with quotation marks.
- In the use of capital initials, the practice of Chydenius has been followed.
the use of different kinds of types concerning foreign loan words for example, has not been applied in the text.
- the editor´s notes (Georg Schauman) have been expressed as links in the html-pages.

If you would like to have the text as a single text file (.DOC or ASCII), you can get it via email. Send your order to: pertti.hyttinen@chydenius.fi