Del prezzo delle cose tutte mercatabili. Trattato legale-economico ove incidentemente si additano i veri principj della moneta …

Bologna, Ulisse Ramponi, 1806.

8vo, pp. [2], xxvi, 190, [3] diagrams, [1] copyright + errata leaf; occasional very light offsetting, but a very good, crisp copy in recent vellum, gilt-lettering piece to spine; boards bowed.


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Scarce first edition. ‘Valeriani (1758–1828) was something of a polyhistor and much admired in his time and country. The little steam he reserved for economics was put to good use, however, in his theory of prices (Del prezzo delle cose tutte mercatabili, 1806), which could have taught Senior and Mill how to handle supply and demand functions’ (Schumpeter, p. 511n).

‘Economic thinking had advanced much by 1806, when Valeriani published his Del prezzo delle cose tutte mercatabili, from the time when Verri and Frisi had expressed their view that the price is simply in compound proportion to the numbers of sellers and buyers … Valeriani attempted to “put sense” into [Frisi’s formula] by substituting for the numbers of sellers and buyers, the supply and demand of the good.

‘Valeriani distinguishes between “value in genere or in the abstract” of a good and its “specific value”. The “value in genere” is nothing else but the “total utility” of a good … But while “value in the abstract” is always equal to the need, the specific value of a good depends not only on the “value in genere” of the good but also on its quantity. Valeriani is thus grappling with the problem of utility and its relation to the quantity of the good, though for Valeriani the value of a good is not determined by marginal utility but by the average utility: it is in other words the quotient of total utility “in the abstract” divided by the quantity of the good. But as value in the abstract is directly proportional to the need for the good and this need may be expressed by the demand for the good, the specific value, argues Valeriani, may be expressed by the quotient of the demand for the good by its supply or by

p = i/o

where p is the specific value, i the demand and o the supply’ (Theocharis, p. 36f).

Einaudi 5808; Goldsmiths’ 19277; Kress Italian 765; OCLC locates the Chicago copy only.

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