On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.

"Nothing contributes so much to the prosperity and happiness of a country as high profits": EXCEEDINGLY RARE FIRST EDITION OF RICARDO’S On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.



Item Number: 108367

London: John Murray, 1817.

First edition of David Ricardo’s most important work, a cornerstone of economic theory— one of only 750 copies printed. Octavo, bound in three quarter leather over contemporary marbled boards, morocco spine labels. In near fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

“David Ricardo is without doubt the greatest representative of classical political economy. He carried the work begun by Adam Smith to the farthest point possible… Ricardo, writing 50 years later than Smith, showed a greater insight into the working of the economic system… In the opinion of his own contemporaries at home and abroad, Ricardo was acknowledged the leader of the science… His most important work is On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, first published in 1817” (Roll, History of Economic Thought, 155-6). Ricardo had made a fortune for himself on the London Stock Exchange by the age of 25. “He now began to interest himself in scientific and mathematical studies, but after reading The Wealth of Nations he decided to devote himself to political economy… The fundamental groundwork of the Principles is based on the theory that, given free competition in trade, the exchange value of commodities will be determined by the amount of labor expended in production… [a thesis] which was given new force by the theory of distribution with which Ricardo reinforced it… Ricardo was, in a sense, the first ‘scientific’ economist… [His work] has proved of lasting value” (Printing and the Mind of Man 277).

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