The Foundation of Scientific EconomicsDavid Ricardo. On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation. London: John Murray, 1817. First edition, second issue (with the last line of page 589 reading "different" instead of "differently") Approximately 8.5 x 5 inches. Octavo. viii, 589, [1, errata], [13, index], [1, blank] pages. Modern full brown calf, smooth spine double-ruled, with a red morocco gilt lettering label, new endleaves and blanks. Library bookplate, ink "Withdrawn" stamps on recto and verso of title-page, as well as a perforated stamp near the margin, a few small library ink stamps throughout, page viii trimmed a bit on the margin. Some minor foxing in text. Overall, a very good copy of this now extremely scarce cornerstone of political economy.
First edition of a major classic in the history of political economy and Ricardo's magnum opus, of which about 500 copies were printed. By 1817, through the publication of a number of pamphlets, Ricardo had become a respected authority. Urged by James Mill and others to set down a systematic account of his theories, he produced this book. His work is based on older and accepted theories of relations between rent, labour and production, but a new emphasis was provided by his theory of distribution. Ricardo's exact mathematical approach and deductive methods have influenced succeeding generations of economists, especially in the fields of currency and banking. "Ricardo was, in a sense, the first 'scientific economist'...Ricardo saw the study of economics as a pure science whose abstractions were capable of quasi-mathematical proof. Although his theorems remain hypothetical, his deductive methods have proved of great use in the elementary analysis of economic problems, and in the subjects which are capable of his rigid analysis, currency and banking, it has proved of lasting value" (Printing and the Mind of Man).
Goldsmiths' 21734. Kress B.7029. Printing and the Mind of Man 277. From the James and Deborah Boyd Collection.
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