Today I started A Treatise on Political Economy by Jean-Baptiste Say. The more I read and learn the more dismayed I am to see how much wisdom and understanding has been ignored and neglected over the years.
From the Introduction, in a section explaining how those in the government and the public at large need to understand the political economy, Say footnotes this statement:
A nation, in order to enjoy the advantages of a good system of political economy, must not only possess statesmen capable of adopting the best plans, but the population must be in a situation to admit of their application.
I here suppose the higher orders of society to be actuated by a sincere desire to promote the public good. When this feeling, however, does not exist, when the government is faithless and corrupt, it is of still greater importance that the people should become acquainted with the real state of things, and comprehend their true interests. Other wise, they suffer without knowing to what causes their distresses ought to be attributed, or indeed, by attributing them to erroneous causes, the views of the public are distracted, their efforts disunited, and individuals, thus deprived of general support, fail in resolution, and despotism is strengthened; or what is still worse, where the people are so badly governed as to become desperate, they listen to pernicious counsels, and exchange a vicious order of things for one still worse.
It speaks for itself.