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BOTERO, Giovanni.

Della Ragion di Stato, Libri Dieci.

All'illustris. e reverendis. sig. il sig. Volfango Teodorico, Arcivescovo e Prencipe di Salczburg.&c.

Appresso I Gioliti, Venice , 1589 Stock Code: 126573
£6,500.00
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Notes

First edition of a neglected masterpiece in the history of economics. Schumpeter writes: "Divested of nonessentials, the 'Malthusian' Principle of Population sprang fully developed from the brain of Botero in 1589: populations tend to increase, beyond any assignable limit, to the full extent made possible by human fecundity (the virtus generativa of the Latin translation); the means of subsistence, on the contrary, and the possibilities of increasing them (the virtus nutritiva) are definitely limited and therefore impose a limit on that increase, the only one there is; this limit asserts itself through want, which will induce people to refrain from marrying (Malthus's negative check, prudential check, 'moral restraint') unless numbers are periodically reduced by wars, pestilence, and so on (Malthus's positive check). This path-breaking performance - the only performance in the whole history of the theory of population to deserve any credit at all - came much before the time in which its message could have spread: it was practically lost in the populationist wave of the seventeenth century. But about two hundred years after Botero 1540-1617, Malthus really did no more than repeat it, except that he adopted particular mathematical laws for the operation of the virtus generativa and the virtus nutritiva: population was to increase 'in geometric ratio or progression'" (pp. 254-5).

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Description

Quarto (208 x 144 mm). 18th-century vellum over paste paper boards, spine lettered gilt, blue green edges.

Illustrations

Woodcut initials, headpieces and tailpeices.

Condition

Engraved bookplate of Franz Pollack Parnau to front pastedown, with his armorial stamp to title verso. Occasional contemporary marginal markings and "finis" added to the end of most books in ink. Occasional light spotting, more severe in places; a very good copy.

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