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LONGFIELD, Mountifort.

Lectures on Political Economy, delivered in Trinity and Michaelmas Terms, 1833.

Dublin: William Curry, Jun. and Company, Longman and Company, London, 1834 Stock Code: 134652
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The first Irish chair in political economy

First edition, the Curry and Longman issue, the other having the imprint Dublin: Richard Milliken and London: B. Fellowes. Longfield was diverted from his interest in economics by a busy and successful career in law, being transferred from the Whately chair of political economy to that of feudal and English law at Trinity the same year as this publication, and serving as a judge and Irish privy councillor in later years. But it is his brief tenure of the first chair in political economy to be founded in Ireland on which his reputation rests today. It was the American economist E. R. A. Seligman who rescued Longfield from obscurity in 1903, publishing two articles in the Economic Journal, "On some neglected British economists", drawing attention to this, Longfield's first, and his two subsequent publications, Four Lectures on Poor Laws, and Three Lectures on Commerce and one on Absenteeism. "Since then it has come to be recognized by economists throughout the world that in these lectures Longfield produced work of outstanding originality In 1833 when Longfield gave his first lectures on political economy the theories of value and distribution developed by David Ricardo and propagated by James Mill dominated the subject. Having shown that he understood these theories better than many contemporary interpreters, Longfield rejected them and presented his own analysis in five lectures. His explanation of value emphasized market prices rather than natural values, stressing utility as of at least equal importance with labour costs in determining value. His theory of distribution was perhaps his most original contribution: in it he put forward a theory of profits as determined by the marginal productivity of physical capital and of wages as determined, not by subsistence, but by the specific productivity of each labourer indeed he really founded a distinctive 'Trinity College Dublin school of value theory'but until Seligman wrote they remained completely unknown to economists outside Ireland, and this state of affairs Longfield himself appears never to have sought to alter" (ODNB). In his later years Longfield maintained an interest in economic and social questions, being a founder member of the Dublin Statistical Society and president of the social economy section of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science.

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Octavo (220 x 138 mm). Original green cloth and drab boards, printed paper label to the spine, preserved in a calf-backed chemise and marbled boards slipcase.


Board edges slightly worn, spine label a little abraded, text leaves very lightly browned with occasional spotting; a very good copy.


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