‘STARTLINGLY ORIGINAL’

Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices. Read April 27, 1892. [in:] Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. Volume IX.

New Haven, by the Academy, 1892.

8vo, pp. [iv], 542, with 15 lithographic plates at the end (Fisher: pp. 1-124); lower outer corner of one leaf repaired far from text (p. 57, very probably to remove a black marker’s line, which has left a light trace on the facing page), the faint evidence of a removed stain in the lower margin of p. 53, still a very good copy, in modern green half morocco, marbled sides, spine filleted in gilt with gilt contrasting lettering-pieces.

£5500

Approximately:
US $6954€6423

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Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices. Read April 27, 1892. [in:] Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. Volume IX.

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First appearance of Fisher’s ‘startlingly original PhD thesis’ (Blaug) which contained, among other things, the design of a machine to illustrate general equilibrium in a multi-market economy. This work expounds his monetary theories and established his international reputation.

‘Fisher’s aim in his Mathematical Investigations was to present a general mathematical model of the determination of value and prices. He claimed to have specified the equations of general economic equilibrium for the case of independent goods (chapter 4, sec. 10), although the only mathematical economist whose work he had consulted was Jevons. With commendable honesty he recognizes the priority of Walras’s Eléments d’économie politique pure (1874) as far as the equations of the general equilibrium are concerned and likewise the priority of Edgeworth’s Mathematical Psychics (1881) as regards the concept of utility surfaces. It appears that, although only a student, Fisher had independently developed a theory of general economic equilibrium that was identical to part of Walras’s and included the concept of the indifference surface, one of the fundamental bases of modern economic theory’ (IESS).

Fisher’s paper, here on pp. 1-124, was subsequently offprinted, for presentation.

Blaug, Great Economists before Keynes, pp. 77-81; Fisher E-8.

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