C. L. Simonde de. Nouveaux principes d’économie politique, ou de la richesse dans ses rapports avec la population ... Tome premier [- second].

Paris, Delaunay, Treuttel & Wurtz, 1819.

Two vols, 8vo, pp. [4], VIII, 437, [1]; [4], 442, [2, advertisements]; very light occasional foxing, but a very good, clean copy in contemporary half sheep, flat spines filleted in gilt, gilt lettering-pieces; spine extremities and joints worn, with small chips to the head of spines; armorial bookplate of Daniel Cresswell to the front paste-down.


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First edition. ‘A number of concepts and theories that later became important in the history of economics first appeared in the writings of the Swiss economist J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi … Sismondi developed the first aggregrate equilibrium income theory and the first algebraic growth model. Yet both concepts had to be rediscovered and redeveloped by others before they entered the mainstream of economics, long after Sismondi’s time’ (The New Palgrave IV, 348 ff).

‘An early work, De la richesse commerciale (1803), was a perfectly traditional exposition of the doctrines of Adam Smith … [His] Nouveaux principes …, untranslated into English to this day, marked his turn-around to a more critical attitude to free trade, laissez-faire and industrial capitalism. Convinced that the new industrial system was doomed to suffer recurrent depressions and a chronic tendency towards under-consumption, he was particularly struck by the labour-saving bias of technical progress to which he saw no answer except government intervention of a far-reaching kind, including a guaranteed minimum wage in and out of work, a ceiling on hours of work, a floor and ceiling on the age of work, and the introduction of profit-sharing schemes.

‘Sismondi met Ricardo, Malthus and Say, was cited by Malthus, McCulloch, Torrens and John Stuart Mill, but only to be generally condemned by everyone except Malthus. As a matter of fact, it is evident that the Nouveaux principes had a profound influence on Malthus’s own Principles of political economy (1820) … Indeed, the Keynesian flavour is even stronger in Sismondi than in Malthus, and it is he and not Malthus whom Keynes should have hailed as his forerunner’ (Blaug).

‘In many ways Sismondi also anticipated Marx. Sismondi’s emphasis on “the proletarians”, on an increasing concentration of capital, recurring business cycles, technological unemployment and economic dynamics in general all reappeared (without credit) in Marx’s writings’ (The New Palgrave IV, 350).

Einaudi 5306; Goldsmiths’ 22333; Kress C.427; de Salis II, 62; see Blaug, Great Economists before Keynes, p. 228f, and Schumpeter, pp. 493–6.

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