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CANNAN, Edwin.

A History of the Theories of Production and Distribution in English Political Economy from 1776 to 1848.

London, Percival and Co., 1893 Stock Code: 133017

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First edition, first issue, but with the spine stamped Rivington, Percival & Co., (Rivington distributed the book with a cancel title page sharing the imprint in 1894). A pioneering work in the history of economics, the work traces the development of theories of production and distribution from the Wealth of Nations to Mill's Principles of Political Economy. "A work of some scholarship, but even a cursory glance reveals that Cannan's approach was at once more analytical and critical than historical. He eschewed formal and mathematical reasoning, judging his subject matter in terms of current 'good sense', a quality he rarely encountered in his reading of the classical economists. Alfred Marshall, he thought, was too soft on these writers; W. S. Jevons provided the underlying theoretical principles by which all economics, past and present, should be measured. By this standard the classical economists were woefully inadequate, argued Cannan, but as practical responses to contemporary problems their abstractions made more sense. Cannan criticized past economic theory from the standpoint of modern economics, and then used history to account for its shortcomings - the reverse of what one might have expected of a historically inclined economist" (ODNB). Schumpeter recommends the book, "both for study on its own account and for comparison with the argument of this book." (Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, p.645).

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Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt, green endpapers.


Pencilled ownership signature dated 1894 to front free endpaper. Spine a little sunned and nicked at ends, light discolouration and cockling to covers; a very good copy.


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