The Korean Economic Review
Rethinking the Notion of the Natural in Classical Political Economy
Hoon HongYear 2006Vol. 22No. 2
This paper intends to clarify and evaluate the notion of the natural whichconstitutes the basis for explanation and justification of a market-basedsociety in classical political economy. This notion is primarily detected insuch concepts as natural price, natural wage and differential rent. Thenotion of the natural which is implicated in these concepts is characterizedby the following features: the role of self-interest and instincts on the level ofagency, the working of processes of competition and procreation under theconstraint of diminishing fertility of land, the inevitability and beneficence ofsocial outcome of these processes. The basic contention of this paper is thatthe classical notion of the natural is based on what may be dubbed theuniversally natural and the capitalistically natural which are not easilyintegrable.