Volumes 4 and 5 bring together a rich collection of Mill’s writing on politics and the economy over the course of his intellectual career.Volume 4 includes, most significantly, “Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.” Here, Mill grapples with issues related to foreign trade and the balancing of government’s goal of promoting free trade with its interest in raising revenues from import duties and tariffs. Also included in these volumes are such early essays as “The Silk Trade” and “The Nature, Origin, and Progress of Rent” and such later works as Mill’s petition on free trade and “Chapters on Socialism” (posthumously published).
SOCIALIST OBJECTIONS TO THE PRESENT ORDER OF SOCIETY
As in all proposals for change there are two elements to be considered—that which is to be changed, and that which it is to be changed to—so in Socialism considered generally, and in each of its varieties taken separately, there are two parts to be distinguished, the one negative and critical, the other constructive. There is, first, the judgment of Socialism on existing institutions and practices and on their results; and secondly, the various plans which it has propounded for doing better. In the former all the different schools of Socialism are at one. They agree almost to identity in the faults which they find with the economical order of existing society. Up to a certain point also they entertain the same general conception of the remedy to be provided for those faults; but in the details, notwithstanding this general agreement, there is a wide disparity. It will be both natural and convenient, in attempting an estimate of their doctrines, to begin with the negative portion which is common to them all, and to postpone all mention of their differences until we arrive at that second part of their undertaking, in which alone they seriously differ.
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), British philosopher, economist, moral and political theorist, and administrator, was the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. His views are of continuing significance, and are generally recognized to be among the deepest and certainly the most effective defenses of empiricism and of a liberal political view of society and culture. The overall aim of his philosophy is to develop a positive view of the universe and the place of humans in it, one which contributes to the progress of human knowledge, individual freedom and human well-being. His views are not entirely original, having their roots in the British empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume, and in the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham. But he gave them a new depth, and his formulations were sufficiently articulate to gain for them a continuing influence among a broad public.