of metal, which had been originally contained 
in their coins. The Roman as, in the latter 
ages of the republic, was reduced to the 
twenty-fourth part of its original value, and, 
instead of weighing a pound, came to weigh 
only half an ounce. The English pound and 
penny contain at present about a third only; 
the Scots pound and penny about a thirty-sixth
and the French pound and penny about 
a sixty-sixth part of their original value. By 
means of those operations, the princes and sovereign 
states which performed them were 
enabled, in appearance, to pay their debts and 
fulfil their engagements with a smaller quantity 
of silver than would otherwise have been 
requisite. It was indeed in appearance only; 
for their creditors were really defrauded of a 
part of what was due to them. All other 
debtors in the state were allowed the same 
privilege, and might pay with the same nominal 
sum of the new and debased coin whatever 
they had borrowed in the old. Such 
operations, therefore, have always proved favourable 
to the debtor, and ruinous to the 
creditor, and have sometimes produced
greater and more universal revolution in the 
fortunes of private persons, than could have 
been occasioned by a very great public calamity
It is in this manner that money has become, 
in all civilized nations, the universal instrument 
of commerce, by the intervention of 
which goods of all kinds are bought and sold
or exchanged for one another. 
What are the rules which men naturally 
observe, in exchanging them either for money
or for one another, I shall now proceed to 
examine. These rules determine what may 
be called the relative or exchangeable value 
of goods
The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has 
two different meanings, and sometimes expresses 
the utility of some particular object
and sometimes the power of purchasing other 
goods which the possession of that object conveys
The one may be called 'value in use;' 
the other, 'value in exchange.' The things 
which have the greatest value in use have frequently 
little or no value in exchange; and, 
on the contrary, those which have the greatest 
value in exchange have frequently little or 
no value in use. Nothing is more useful 
than water; but it will purchase scarce any 
thing; scarce any thing can be had in exchange 
for it. A diamond, on the contrary, 
has scarce any value in use; but a very great 
quantity of other goods may frequently be had 
in exchange for it. 
In order to investigate the principles which 
regulate the exchangeable value of commodities
I shall endeavour to shew, 
First, what is the real measure of this exchangeable 
value; or wherein consists the 
real price of all commodities
Secondly, what are the different parts of 
which this real price is composed or made up. 
And, lastly, what are the different circumstances 
which sometimes raise some or all of 
these different parts of price above, and sometimes 
sink them below, their natural or ordinary 
rate; or, what are the causes which 
sometimes hinder the market price, that is, 
the actual price of commodities, from coinciding 
exactly with what may be called their 
natural price
I shall endeavour to explain, as fully and 
distinctly as I can, those three subjects in the 
three following chapters, for which I must 
very earnestly entreat both the patience and 
attention of the reader: his patience, in order 
to examine a detail which may, perhaps, in 
some places, appear unnecessarily tedious
and his attention, in order to understand 
what may perhaps, after the fullest explication 
which I am capable of giving it, appear still 
in some degree obscure. I am always willing 
to run some hazard of being tedious, in 
order to be sure that I am perspicuous; and, 
after taking the utmost pains that I can to be 
perspicuous, some obscurity may still appear 
to remain upon a subject, in its own nature 
extremely abstracted
Every man is rich or poor according to the 
degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries
conveniencies, and amusements of 
human life. But after the division of labour 
has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a 
very small part of these with which a man's 
own labour can supply him. The far greater 
part of them he must derive from the labour 
of other people, and he must be rich or poor 
according to the quantity of that labour 
which he can command, or which he can afford 
to purchase. The value of any commodity
therefore, to the person who possesses it, 
and who means not to use or consume it himself, 
but to exchange it for other commodities
is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables 
him to purchase or command. Labour 
therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable 
value of all commodities. 
The real price of every thing, what every 
thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire 
it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring 
it. What every thing is really worth to the 
man who has acquired it and who wants to 
dispose of it, or exchange it for something