30 April 2008
RICARDO, David (1772-1823). On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: J. M'Creery for John Murray, 1817.
8° (231 x 145 mm). With 2 leaves of advertisements (Title repaired at inner margin, some spotting mostly to deckle edges, tear in 2O6.) Uncut and mostly unopened, original boards, printed paper label on spine (spine chipped and worn, some loss to the label, joints splitting, front endpaper repaired).
FIRST EDITION, UNCUT IN THE ORIGINAL BOARDS, OF RICARDO'S FUNDAMENTAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS. Ricardo is credited with the first systematic and scientific approach to economics; his exact mathematical approach and careful deductive methods provided a model for future texts in the field. Ricardo's interest in political economy was aroused in 1799 by a chance reading of Adam Smith. While he enjoyed cordial relations with Malthus, his economic views were decidedly anti-Malthusian. In 1815 he was urged by James Mill and others to set out a systematic account of his own theories. This led to the publication of the Principles, the result of little more than six months sustained work on his part. The 'principal problem in political economy' as he defines it, is the 'laws' which regulate 'the natural course of rent, profits and wages' over time. However, his book covered not only those laws but also a newly developed labour theory of value, the theory of international comparative advantage, monetary theory, the influence of taxation, and strictures on the writings of his predecessors and contemporaries. Kress B7029; Goldsmith 21734; Printing and the Mind of Man 277.
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