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TORRENS, Robert.

An Essay on the Production of Wealth.

Published: London: Longman, Hurst [& 3 others in London], 1821

Stock code: 107502

Price: £2,000

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First edition of this important work by one of the first economists to attribute the production of wealth to the joint action of three instruments of production: land, labour, and capital. Spiegel writes that “Torrens’s theory of value contains both a critique, one of the earliest, of Ricardo’s labor theory of value, and as a positive contribution a value theory of his own. He denied the validity of the labour theory value in a multifactor economy and, as Lauderdale had done before and as Bailey was to do again shortly, refused to participate in the search of an invariable measure of value. To him, value is a more relation between goods, not between the quantities of labor embodied in them but between the quantities of capital, including the outlay for wages, invested in their production. If competition equates the rates of profit throughout the economy, then, so Torrens argued, goods must exchange in proportion to the capital invested in them, with an adjustment to take account of the different durability of capital” (The Growth of Economic Thought, p. 347). Torrens (1780?–1864) was born in Ireland; he wrote around ninety books and pamphlets on economics, politics, and social questions, including Thoughts on the Catholic Question (1808) in which he supported Catholic emancipation, and An Essay on the External Corn Trade (1815), in which he “discovered the principle of comparative advantage in international trade and shared with Ricardo and Malthus the discovery of the law of diminishing returns” (ODNB).

Octavo (212 134 mm). Bound in modern half tan morocco, marbled sides, brown label to spine lettered gilt, motifs to spine gilt, marbled sides. Former library copy with the withdrawal stamp of Rosenburg Library, Galveston. Occasional light spotting to contents, an excellent copy.

Bibliography: Goldsmiths' 23151; Kress C.795.

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