| The National Gain
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
- 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
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.
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