Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général Edited with an English Translation and other material By Henry Higgs, C.B.

CANTILLON Richard (1931.)

£350.00  [First Edition]

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First edition in English. 8vo. [10], 394 pp., frontispiece portrait of Cantillon’s wife and one plate, a portrait of his daughter. Original green buckram, spine lettered in gilt, dust jacket (jacket edge worn, with some substantial loss to head of spine panel, affecting a number of letters, otherwise a very good copy with the scarce jacket). London, Macmillan & Co., Ltd. For the Royal Economic Society.

The first complete edition in English of Cantillon’s masterful analysis of trade and economics, his only published economic work and arguably the earliest single work on political economy. A partial translation into English was published in 1759, described by Jevons in an article appended here, 'Richard Cantillon and the Nationality of Political Economy', as "so horribly garbled as to give no idea of the merits of the original work. The so-called Analysis of Trade is a loose translation of portions of the real Essai, omitting usually the best parts of the chapters in order to allow of the insertion of extracts from Hume’s Essays, rodomontades about Oliver Cromwell, and other wholly irrelevant matter" (p. 335). The volume also contains an essay on the life and work of Cantillon by Henry Higgs.

Cantillon’s Essai is notable for its model building, its analysis of market forces and the role of the entrepreneur, its outline of the circular flow of income, and its monetary theory. The Essai had a significant influence in developing Quesnay’s circular flow of income and on Adam Smith’s theory of resource allocation. In distinguishing between market price and intrinsic value and showing how resources moved into those sectors where the market price was above intrinsic value, and away from those sectors where market price was below intrinsic value, Cantillon influenced Adam Smith’s famous distinction between market price and natural price. Cantillon also pre-empted later studies of human population, with a brief but almost complete anticipation of the principles of Malthus.

Blind ownership stamp of Percy L. Greaves to title page.

Stock Code: 235085

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