- 季刊経済理論 (ISSN:18825184)
- vol.49, no.4, pp.78-87, 2013
The aim of this paper is to show John Stuart Mill's first prospect for the stationary state. The stationary state is one of the famous terms in political economy, which means a state of human society where the wealth of a nation does not increase nor decrease. It is well known that Mill celebrates it in his treatise Principles of Political Economy. Our conclusion is that Mill's first prospect for the stationary state is one which does not suppose a realization of this state. Previous studies offer an interpretation that Mill regards a practice of associations as a process of realizing the ideal stationary state. For the 3rd and subsequent editions of Mill's Principles, we maintain that this interpretation is appropriate. However, this is only true with regard to these editions. The construction of this paper is as follows: First, it is shown that whereas he considers a progressive state of national wealth the best option for the time being, Mill thinks that an ideal of human society is the kind of stationary state in which people have no intention of increasing wealth. From this, a question arises as to how this ideal stationary state can be realized. Then we compare the theory of associations in the 1st and 2nd editions of Mill's Principles with that in the 3rd and subsequent editions. We conclude that in former editions, a prospect that the ideal stationary state can be realized through a practice of associations is not proposed; Mill judges a practice of associations not to be realistic at present and scarcely refers to changes in society to which it will give occasion. As described above, a realization of the ideal is not proposed in the 1st and 2nd editions of Mill's Principles. However, we can seek, even in these editions, the meaning of the theory of the stationary state: to change attitudes of legislators. Based on this theory, Mill proposes to legislators that they ought to put the greatest importance not on the mere increase of production but on the improvement of distribution, "as the true desideratum."