contribute, for some little time, to support its 
consumption in adversity. The exportation 
of gold and silver is, in this case, not the cause, 
but the effect of its declension, and may even, 
for some little time, alleviate the misery of 
that declension
The quantity of money, on the contrary
must in every country naturally increase as 
the value of the annual produce increases
The value of the consumable goods annually 
circulated within the society being greater
will require a greater quantity of money to circulate 
them. A part of the increased produce
therefore, will naturally be employed in purchasing
wherever it is to be had, the additional 
quantity of gold and silver necessary for circulating 
the rest. The increase of those metals 
will, in this case, be the effect, not the 
cause, of the public prosperity. Gold and silver 
are purchased everywhere in the same 
manner. The food, clothing, and lodging, the 
revenue and maintenance, of all those whose 
labour or stock is employed in bringing them 
from the mine to the market, is the price paid 
for them in Peru as well as in England. The 
country which has this price to pay, will never 
be long without the quantity of those metals 
which it has occasion for; and no country 
will ever long retain a quantity which it has 
no occasion for. 
Whatever, therefore, we may imagine the 
real wealth and revenue of a country to consist 
in, whether in the value of the annual produce 
of its land and labour, as plain reason 
seems to dictate, or in the quantity of the precious 
metals which circulate within it, as vulgar 
prejudices suppose; in either view of the matter
every prodigal appears to be a public enemy
and every frugal man a public benefactor. 
The effects of misconduct are often the 
same as those of prodigality. Every injudicious 
and unsuccessful project in agriculture, 
mines, fisheries, trade, or manufactures, tends 
in the same manner to diminish the funds destined 
for the maintenance of productive labour
In every such project, though the capital is 
consumed by productive hands only, yet as, 
by the injudicious manner in which they are 
employed, they do not reproduce the full value 
of their consumption, there must always 
be some diminution in what would otherwise 
have been the productive funds of the society
It can seldom happen, indeed, that the circumstances 
of a great nation can be much affected 
either by the prodigality or misconduct 
of individuals; the profusion or imprudence 
of some being always more than compensated 
by the frugality and good conduct of others. 
With regard to profusion, the principle 
which prompts to expense is the passion for 
present enjoyment; which, though sometimes 
violent and very difficult to be restrained, is in 
general only momentary occasional. But 
the principle which prompts to save, is the 
desire of bettering our condition; a desire 
which, though generally calm and dispassionate
comes with us from the womb, and never 
leaves us till we go into the grave. In the 
whole interval which separates those two moments, 
there is scarce, perhaps, a single instance
in which any man is so perfectly and 
completely satisfied with his situation, as to be 
without any wish of alteration or improvement 
of any kind. An augmentation of fortune 
is the means by which the greater part 
of men propose and wish to better their condition
It is the means the most vulgar and 
the most obvious; and the most likely way of 
augmenting their fortune, is to save and accumulate 
some part of what they acquire, either 
regularly and annually, or upon some extraordinary 
occasion. Though the principle of 
expense, therefore, prevails in almost all men 
upon some occasions, and in some men upon 
almost all occasions; yet in the greater part of 
men, taking the whole course of their life at 
an average, the principle of frugality seems 
not only to predominate, but to predominate 
very greatly
With regard to misconduct, the number of 
prudent and successful undertakings is everywhere 
much greater than that of injudicious 
and unsuccessful ones. After all our complaints 
of the frequency of bankruptcies, the 
unhappy men who fall into this misfortune
make but a very small part of the whole number 
engaged in trade, and all other sorts of 
business; not much more, perhaps, than one 
in a thousand. Bankruptcy is, perhaps, the 
greatest and most humiliating calamity which 
can befal an innocent man. The greater part 
of men, therefore, are sufficiently careful to 
avoid it. Some, indeed, do not avoid it; as 
some do not avoid the gallows. 
Great nations are never impoverished by 
private, though they sometimes are by public 
prodigality and misconduct. The whole, or 
almost the whole public revenue is, in most 
countries, employed in maintaining unproductive 
hands. Such are the people who compose 
a numerous and splendid court, a great ecclesiastical 
establishment, great fleets and armies
who in time of peace produce nothing, and in 
time of war acquire nothing which can compensate 
the expense of maintaining them, even 
while the war lasts. Such people, as they 
themselves produce nothing, are all maintained 
by the produce of other men's labour. 
When multiplied, therefore, to an unnecessary 
number, they may in a particular year consume 
so great a share of this produce, as not 
to leave a sufficiency for maintaining the productive 
labourers, who should reproduce it 
next year. The next year's produce, therefore, 
will be less than that of the foregoing
and if the same disorder should continue, that 
of the third year will be still less than that of 
the second. Those unproductive hands who 
should be maintained by a part only of the