Errori popolari intorno all’ economia nazionale, considerati sulle presenti controversie fra i laici e i chierici, in ordine al possedimento de’ beni.

[No place, no printer,] 1771.

4to, pp. [2], viii, 118, [2]; lacking initial blank leaf; a little light foxing, a few small marks, else a good copy, with generous margins, bound in recent quarter-calf with stiff marbled paper boards, flat spine gilt in compartments, red morocco lettering piece, edges sprinkled red.


US $11241€9132

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Very rare first edition of Ortes’ first work, written in defence of the clergy. ‘A Venetian monk, Ortes left his cloister on the entreaties of his mother after his father’s death, but remained in holy orders and was ever a strenuous defender of the clergy ... Ortes is undoubtedly the most eminent of the Venetian economists of the 18th century; his genius, original and sometimes paradoxical, is often opposed to the general tendency of the ideas of his time, and though his researches are occasionally faulty in their method, he has left a deep impress on the history of economic theory. He regards economic laws as immutable, like those of nature; he maintains this in opposition to the opinion usually accepted in his time, which regarded economics only in relation to special interests. Perhaps it is this idea which leads him to distrust the action of the state, considering it is not adapted to promote the wealth of a country.’ (The New Palgrave 3, p. 761).

‘Ortes did not simply and in passing employ mathematical formulae in his economic arguments; he was consciously a fervent supporter of the use of the mathematical method in economics. In the preface of his book Errori popolari intorno all’Economia Nazionale, published anonymously in 1771, he makes a strong plea for the application of the mathematical method to economic analysis; such application does not simply mean counting, weighing and measuring but it implies that, before calculating, one must discover and understand “the reasons, the aims, the motives and the relations according to which those goods consumed by all can increase or diminish in the nations” ... The Errori Poplari itself is an attempt to treat certain economic questions by following the procedure of a geometric treatise. He sets down certain axioms or what he believes are “general truths, derived from immutable and necessary principles from which there is no derivation”, and to these he opposes some of what he thinks are popular errors. From these axioms he proceeds to particular cases which he investigates’ (Theocaris, Early Developments in mathematical economics (1983), p. 36).

Einaudi 4224; Higgs 6703 (unseen); not in Goldsmith’s or Kress, but located at Kress by NUC, the only American location given.

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