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Friedrich List: Excerpt from National System of Political Economy (1841)

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To preserve, to develop, and to improve itself as a nation is consequently, at present, and ever must be, the principal object of a nation's efforts. There is in that nothing false or selfish; it is a reasonable tendency, agreeing perfectly with the real interests of humanity; for it leads naturally to universal association, which is an advantage to men, so far as nations have reached the same degree of culture and power, and, consequently, so far as it may be realized, by way of association or confederation.

A universal association, proceeding from the overbearing influence and wealth of a single nation, based, consequently, upon the subjection and dependence of all others, would result in the annihilation of separate nationalities, and national emulation; it would hurt the interests and wound the feelings of nations which deem themselves on the way to independence and the attainment of great wealth, as well as of high political importance; such an association would be only a repetition of what has already occurred in the attempt to subjugate the world, made by the Romans; an attempt that would be more successful in our days, by means of manufactures and commerce, instead of, as formerly, by the sword; though either mode would restore the world to barbarism.

The civilization, political education and power of nations, depend chiefly on their economical condition and reciprocally; the more advanced their economy, the more civilized and powerful will be the nation, the more rapidly will its civilization and power increase, and the more will its economical culture be developed.

In the economical development of nations, it is necessary to distinguish the following principal stages: the savage state, the pastoral state, the agricultural state, the agricultural and manufacturing state, and finally, the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial state.

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