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SAY, Jean-Baptiste.

Cours complet d'économie politique pratique.

Paris: Rapilly, 1828-29 Stock Code: 107508
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First edition of Say's lectures. Though Say ranks with Sismondi and Cournot in the originality of his contributions to economics, his reputation has suffered from his being put down primarily as an exponent of Adam Smith. Schumpeter, who calls his work "the most important of the links in the chain that leads from Cantillon and Turgot to Walras" offers convincing arguments to prove that Say does indeed belong to the French tradition. "Jean-Baptiste Say's Cours complet d'économie politique pratique was designed to 'place these economic abstractions within the reach of everyone' and teemed with practical illustrations of how trade restrictions increased the cost of items such as Jamaican rum, ploughs, bed sheets or curtains... Another notable feature of the Cours complet was the confirmation of Say's reappraisal of the British model since his condemnation of Britain's colonial and economic policies in De l'Angleterre et des Anglais (1815). The book reproduced nearly in extensio Say's 1824 article in defence of British rule in India... The print run of the first four volumes of the Cours complet was 2,300, and the first volume sold 700 copies in three months. These figures were respectable. But Say was disappointed, and it is noteworthy that a second edition had to wait until 1840. Despite the lucidity of Say's prose, the price - nearly 40 francs for the six volumes - and the length - nearly 3,000 pages - limited its impact as an instrument of popularization" (David Todd, Free Trade and its Enemies in France, 1814-1851, Cambridge 2015).

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6 volumes, octavo (200 x 121 mm). Contemporary French calf, spines decoratively tooled in gilt and black (labels renewed), single-line gilt border on sides enclosing blind roll-tool border, marbled edges and endpapers.


Sides a little rubbed, spine of volume VI chipped at head. An attractive set in a period binding.


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