Le commerce et le gouvernement, considérés relativement l’un à l’autre.

Amsterdam, et se touve à Paris, chez Jombert et Cellot, 1776.

Two vols, 12mo, pp. [iv], 273, [1]; [iv], 180; one or two minute rust spots, but a very good, crisp copy, in contemporary full marbled sheep, flat spines tooled in gilt, contrasting morocco lettering-pieces, all edges red, marbled end-papers, very minor and sympathetic restorations to spine extremities and corners.


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One of the three editions to appear in the year of the first edition, this is the one produced in two volumes with separate pagination, and without the errata, with errors partially corrected in the text. The other two editions, including the first, were published in a single volume.

The only work on political economy published by Condillac, Jevons described it as ‘original and profound’ and ‘a charming philosophic work [because] in the first few chapters … we meet perhaps the earliest distinct statement of the true connections between value and utility’ (quoted in The New Palgrave).

Condillac, a lifelong friend of Rousseau and Turgot, here demonstrates a ‘markedly arithmetical undercurrent beneath his arguments but … no mathematics and no reference to mathematical method’ (Theocaris, p. 62). ‘The impetus for Condillac’s writing Le commerce et le gouvernement has been ascribed to a desire to assist his friend Turgot in the difficulties he faced in 1775 as finance minister over the grain riots induced by his restoration of the free trade in grain … this fits with the work’s unqualified support for free trade in general and the grain trade in particular (1776, esp. pp. 344-5, which seems directly inspired by the Paris events of 1775). Writing the book may also be explained as a return favour for Turgot’s assistance in getting published’ (New Palgrave) In this work Condillac isolates value, exchange and price as basic notions and constructs a theory of value derived from individual utility and of exchange derived from a comparison of individual utilities.

Einaudi 1209; Goldsmiths’ 11373; this edition not in Kress; see INED 1162; Kress 7200; Mattioli 741; Tchemerzine II, 484 for first edition.

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