William Petty

(Sir William Petty)

William Petty
William Petty
  • Born: May 26, 1623
  • Died: December 16, 1687
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Economist









Quote Topics Cited
Among the general Causes is, First, the unwillingness of the people to pay them [taxes]; arising from an opinion, that by delay and reluctancy they may wholly avoid them, with a suspicion that what is imposed is too much, or that what is collected is embezzled or ill expended, or that it is unequally levied and assessed. Taxes
Among the general Causes is, First, the unwillingness of the people to pay them [taxes]; arising from an opinion, that by delay and reluctancy they may wholly avoid them, with a suspicion that what is imposed is too much, or that what is collected is embezzled or ill expended, or that it is unequally levied and assessed…. Moreover, the peoples believing that Forms of Government shall in a few years produce any considerable alteration as to the wealth of the Subject; that the Form which is most ancient and present is not the best for the place; that any established family or person is not better then any new pretender, or even then the best Election that can be made; that Sovereignty is invisible, and that it is not certainly annexed unto some certain person or persons …. Causes of Civil War are also, that the Wealth of the Nation is in too few mens’ hands … the allowing Luxury in some, whilst others starve. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance ;Social Sciences
As for Physicians, it is not hard by the help of the observations which have been lately made upon the Bills of Mortality, to know how many are sick in London by the number of them that dye, and by the proportions of the City to find out the same of the Country; and by both, by the advice of the learned College of that Faculty to calculate how many Physicians were requisite for the whole Nation; and consequently, how many Students in that are art to permit and encourage; and lastly, having calculated these numbers, to adopt a proportion of Chyrurgeons [doctors], Apothecaries, and Nurses to them, and so by the whole to cut off and extinguish that infinite swarm of vain pretenders unto, and abusers of that God-like Faculty Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Social Sciences
As wiser Physicians tamper not excessively with their Patients, rather observing and complying with the motions of nature, then contradicting it with vehement Administrations of their own; so in Politicks and Economics the same must be used; Policy & Policy Making ;Social Sciences
Fewness of people, is real poverty; and a Nation wherein are Eight Millions of people, are more than twice as rich as the same scope of Land wherein are but Four Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If a great multitude of men should call one of their number King, unless this instituted Prince, appear in greater visible splendor then others, can reward those that obey and please him, and do the contrary to others; his Institution signifies little, even although he chance to have greater corporal or mental faculties, than any other of the number Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
If we consider how easy it is to elude the Laws of man, to commit unproveable crimes, to corrupt and divert Testimonies, to wrest the sense and meaning of the Laws, etc. there follows a necessity of contributing towards a public Charge, wherewith to have men instructed in the Laws of God, that take notice of evil thoughts and designs, and much more of secret deeds, and that punisheth eternally in another world, what man can but slightly chastise in this. Religion & God
In the case of Fornications, most of the punishments not made by pecuniary mulcts and commuted, are but shame. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Ireland is a place which must have so great an Army kept up in it, as may make the Irish desist from doing themselves or the English harm by their future Rebellions Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
It is unjust to let any starve, when we think it just to limit the wages of the poor, so as they can lay up nothing against the time of their impotency and want of work. Poverty
Labour is the father and active principle of wealth, as lands are the mother. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Let the Tax be never so great, if it be apoportionable unto all, then no man suffers the loss of any Riches by it. Taxes
Lottery men do also tax themselves in the general, though out of hopes of Advantage in particular: A Lottery therefore is properly a Tax upon unfortunate self-conceited fools; men that have good opinion of their own luckiness, or that have believed some Fortune-teller or Astrologer, who had promised them great success about the time and place of the Lottery …. Now because the world abounds with this kinde of fools, it is not fit that every man that will may cheat every man that would be cheated; but it is rather ordained, that the Sovereign should have the Guardianship of these fools, or that some Favourite should beg the Sovereigns right of taking advantage of such men’s folly, even as in the case of Lunaticks and Idiots. Taxes
Mutilations of parts of Fingers, are proper to disable such as have abused their dexterous use of them, by Pocket-picking, Counterfeiting of Seals and Writings, etc. Mutilations of other parts, may serve to punish and prevent Adulteries, Rapes, Incests, etc. And the smaller Corporal pains, serve to punish those, who can pay no pecuniary mulcts. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Plenty of people must also cause cheapness in wages, which cause cheapness in manufacture. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
That all Superfluities tending to Luxury and sin, might be loaded with so much Impost, as to serve instead of a sumptuary Law to restrain the use of them. But here also care is to be had that it be not better to smuggle then to pay. Taxes
That which angers men most, is to be taxed Taxes
The cause of the rebellion [Irish Rebellion of 1641] was the desire of the Romanists to recover the Church Revenues, worth about 110,000 per annum, and of the common Irish to get back all the Englishmen's estates, and of the ten or twelve grandees to get the empire of the whole. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The employing the Beggars in England about mending the High-wayes, and making Rivers Navigable will make the Wool and Cattle of Ireland vend the better. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
There is nothing in the Lawes or Customes of England, which excludes any the meanest man’s Childe, from arriving to the highest Offices in the this Kingdom Equality & Equal Opportunity
Those who labour in this publick Service, must also be maintained in a proportionable splendour; and must withall have the means to allure men with some kinde of reward, even in this life; forasmuch, as many heretofore followed even Christ himself, but for the Loaves he gave them. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
To prohibit the Exportation of Money, in that it is a thing almost impracticable, it is almost nugatory and vain. Regulation & Deregulation
Tythes [tax revenues] increase within any territory as the labor of that country increases, and labor does, or ought to, increase as the people do. Development & Growth
Why should not insolvent Thieves be rather punished with slavery then death? so as being slaves they may be forced to as much labour, and as cheap fare, as nature will endure, and thereby become as two men added to the Commonwealth, and not as one taken away from it; Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
A thousand acres that can feed a thousand souls is better than ten thousand acres of no more effect.
An house is of a double nature, viz., one, wherein it is a way and means of expence, the other as it is an instrument and tool of gain. Nature
Causes of Civil War are also, that the Wealth of the Nation is in too few mens hands, and that no certain means are provided to keep all men from a necessity either to beg, or steal, or be Souldiers. War & Peace
Every seaman is not only a navigator, but a merchant and also a soldier.
Here we are to remember that in consequence of our opinion that labor is the Father and active principle of wealth, as lands are the Mother, that the state by killing, mutilating, or imprisoning their members do withal punish themselves.
I hope no man takes what I said about the living and dieing of men for mathematical demonstration. Hope
Money is the best rule of commerce. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Money, Coins & Minting
No man pays double or twice for the same thing, forasmuch as nothing can be spent but once.
That some are poorer than others, ever was and ever will be: And that many are naturally querulous and envious, is an Evil as old as the World.
The trade of banks is the buying and selling of interest and exchange.
Wherefore the race being not to the swift, etc. but time and chance happening to all men, I leave the Judgement of the whole to the Candid, of whose correction I shall never be impatient. Time
Wherefore when a man giveth out his money upon condition that be may not demand it back until a certain time to come, he certainly may take a compensation for this inconvenience which he admits against himself. Time ;Money, Coins & Minting