An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth, and into the Means and Causes of its Increase.

LAUDERDALE James Maitland, Eighth Earl of (1804.)

£975.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. 8vo. [8], 482 pp., with folding letterpress table at rear. Without the half title. Contemporary half calf with marbled paper covered boards, sprinkled edges (some occasional minor spotting, extremities lightly rubbed, front joint just starting to split, but firmly holding, overall an excellent copy). Edinburgh, Arch. Constable; London, T.N. Longman & O. Rees.


Lauderdale "has been hailed as a forerunner of Keynes, in as much as he argued that over-saving was a distinct possibility and that public spending was required to offset private thrift if stagnation was to be asserted" (Blaug). In the present work Lauderdale provides an important commentary on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, particularly questioning his theory of the relationship between labour and value, maintaining that wealth was a compound of labour, land, and capital, and value was a compound of utility and scarcity. He argued that capital was capable of harnessing productive labour to make profits by meeting market demand, and that such profits resulted only when there were no legislative restraints on commerce and no burdens, such as Pitt’s sinking fund to redeem the national debt. "Lauderdale’s importance in the history of economics lies, not in his conclusions, but in the fact that he was the first in England to consider systematically the fundamental conceptions on which the science is based. In this respect alone he is in advance of Adam Smith" (Palgrave II, p. 574).

Einaudi 3628; Goldsmiths’ 8801; Kress B.4816; McCulloch, pp. 15–16.

Stock Code: 239580

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