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CHERBULIEZ, Antoine Elisée.

Riche ou pauvre. Exposition succincte des causes et des effets de la distribution actuelle des richesses sociales.

Paris & Geneva: Librairie d'Ab. Cherbuliez et Ce, 1840 Stock Code: 105364
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First edition of a work to which Karl Marx devoted an entire chapter in his Theorien über den Mehrwert (Theories of surplus value), writing that this book, together with George Ramsay's Essay on the distribution of wealth, is the only one to have made the distinction (of great importance to Marx) between "constant" and "variable" capital (i.e. wage and non-wage capital). As Marx saw it: "It is an incontrovertible fact that, as capitalist production develops, the portion of capital invested in machinery and raw materials grows, and the portion laid out in wages declines. This is the question with which both Ramsay and Cherbuliez are concerned. For us, however, the main thing is: does this fact explain the decline in the rate of profit?" (Theories of surplus value, book III).

In 1835 Cherbuliez, a Swiss lawyer, succeeded Rossi as professor of public law and political economy at the University of Geneva, moving to Paris in 1848, to later return to Switzerland, where he held the professorship of economics at the University of Lausanne before Walras. In political economy he was a follower of Sismondi, with elements of Ricardo, steadfastly conservative and antisocialist. Admired by Mill, Cossa, and Cairnes, his Précis de la science économique et ses practicales applications, a masterpiece of erudition, is described by Schumpeter as "one of the best textbooks of 'classic' economics" (R. F. Hébert in The New Palgrave).

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Octavo (192 x 125 mm). Contemporary marbled boards, flat roan spine ruled and lettered gilt, sprinkled edges.


Library stamp of the VSK library to title and free endpaper. Board edges lightly rubbed; a crisp, clean copy.


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