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LAUNHARDT, Wilhelm.

Mathematische Begründung der Volkswirtschaftslehre.

Mit 16 Holzschnitten.

Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1885 Stock Code: 136984
£4,250.00
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His major work

First edition of Launhardt's major work, "Germany's most important and in fact only significant contribution to the 'marginal revolution' in the last three decades of the nineteenth century" (The New Palgrave).

Like Dupuit, Launhardt began his professional life as a civil engineer, working for the public road administration. A professor of roads, railways and bridges at the Technische Hochschule (now the University) in Hanover, of which he later became director, Wilhelm Launhardt (1832-1918) was "a pioneer of mathematical economics, an important early contributor to the pure theory of welfare economics, a major figure in the history of location theory, and one of the few German engineer-economists of his day to carry on the tradition of German Classical Economics" (Blaug, Great Economists before Keynes, p. 122).

Although written in the light of the second edition of Jevons's Theory of Political Economy (1879) and Walras's Mathematische Theorie der Preisbestimmung wirtschaftlicher Güter (1881), "we must accept Launhardt's claim to independent discovery 'of a similar approach'" (Schumpeter). "Two other books by Walras, sent by the author, arrived too late to be of use, nor was Launhardt acquainted with Cournot at that time. He reports that the copy he finally obtained from a library had apparently never been read, and Gossen could nowhere be found (because virtually no copies had been sold). Launhardt shows what a competent engineer with an economic turn of mind and a little calculus could do" (The New Palgrave).

"His treatment presents several original points that are all of them to its credit. But his almost ruthless use of particular forms of function - by which he produces results of almost disconcerting definiteness - should be studied and improved rather than condemned a limine" (Schumpeter, p. 948n).

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Description

Octavo (211 x 129 mm). Late 20th-century blue half cloth, spine lettered in gilt, marbled sides. With the original wrappers bound in.

Illustrations

16 woodcut charts and figures in the text.

Condition

Some pencilled annotations towards rear. Binding in fine condition; light toning to endpapers and minor soiling to wrappers, minor crease to pp. 3/4. An excellent copy.

Bibliography

Mattioli 1930; Menger, col. 83; not in Einaudi; on the importance of Launhardt and his writings, see The New Palgrave III, 140-2.

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