selective physiocracy

Principes sur la liberté du commerce des grains.

Amsterdam and Paris, Desaint, 1768.

8vo, pp. iv, 162; with 3 folding tables; a fine, crisp copy in contemporary mottled calf, panelled spine gilt with fleurons, red morocco lettering-piece; some surface abrasions to sides, corners and spine extremities rubbed.


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First edition. Louis Paul Abeille, inspector of manufactures and later secretary of the bureau of commerce, was initially an early supporter of Quesnay and an ardent Physiocrat for many years. He pleads here for free trade in corn, arguing that this would lead to increased production, increased revenue and thereby greater salaries. From the late 1760s Abeille, who had embraced almost exclusively the liberal, free-market aspects of physiocratic doctrines, became increasingly less involved with the group of economistes close to Quesnay, prepared to accept his all-encompassing philosophy. Like Condillac, whose fundamental belief in probability as a tool for understanding economic dynamics grated with Quesnay’s assumptions, Abeille was eventually ejected from the inner circle of Physiocrats.

Goldsmiths’10425; Higgs 4730; INED 10; Kress 6513.

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