1st, It being admitted that man has wants which he can satisfy from the world around him, and which he desires to satisfy as fully and easily as possible, we are first led to inquire in what manner this can be done most effectively,— how the forces at his command may be most advantageously employed; in other words, what are the laws which govern the Production Of Wealth.

2d, Since men have different capacities and tastes,— since they are placed in a variety of circumstances as to soil, climate, and civilization, — their products will be various; and yet, since all men desire nearly the same objects, an interchange of their respective commodities will become a necessity. Hence arises that department of industry called exchange, the laws of which it is the province of political economy to investigate.

4th, As all commodities created by human exertion are designed for use, and as such use implies consumption more or less rapid, and as upon this depends the power and disposition for reproduction, the question of consumption has a scientific place among the objects of our inquiry, and will be found to possess a practical importance second only to that of production.

These are the four great questions which suggest the general divisions of our subject; viz., production, exchange, distribution, and consumption of wealth.

Exchange might not improperly be regarded as belonging to the first general division, since it contributes largely in the actual production of wealth: yet, as it also greatly facilitates and increases consumption, and has influence throughout the whole domain of human industry, it seems desirable to regard it as a separate department; and it has often been treated as such by writers on the general subject.