"When Hume and Adam Smith prophesied that a little increase of national debt beyond the then amount of it, would probably occasion bankruptcy; the main cause of their error was the very natural one, of not being able to see the vast increase of productive power to which the nation would subsequently attain. An expenditure, which would have absolutely crushed the country in 1770, might be little more than what was necessary to call forth its prodigious powers of production in 1816. But just in proportion to this power of production, and to the facility with which a vast consumption could be supplied, consistently with a rapid accumulation of capital, would be the distress felt by capitalists and labourers upon any great and sudden diminution of expenditure."
- Principles of Political Economy
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