Saggio sulla natura del commercio in generale. Autore Inglese.

Venice: Carlo Palese, 1767 Stock Code: 118599
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First edition in Italian of Cantillon's Essai sur la nature du commerce en général, first published in French in 1755. This translation, attributed to F. Scottoni who signs the dedication, is extremely scarce, WorldCat locating only the British Library copy.

Richard Cantillon (c.1680-1734) was an Irish-born banker and economist, forced to emigrate to continental Europe by the Williamite confiscations. He honed his financial skills working for the British army's paymaster-general during the latter stages of the War of the Spanish Succession. He next proved his understanding of the market by making fortunes speculating against John Law's Mississippi Company and by purchasing put options (the right to sell at a predetermined price) during the height of the South Sea Bubble. His successful speculations reinforced his view that the monetary system must be based on intrinsically valuable metals.

The Essai is notable for its model building, its analysis of market forces and the role of the entrepreneur, its outline of the circular flow of income, and its monetary theory. The Essai had a significant influence in developing Quesnay's circular flow of income and on Adam Smith's theory of resource allocation in the Wealth of Nations (1776). In distinguishing between market price and intrinsic value and showing how resources moved into those sectors where the market price was above intrinsic value, and away from those sectors where market price was below intrinsic value, Cantillon influenced Adam Smith's famous distinction between market price and natural price. Cantillon also pre-empted later studies of human population, with a brief but almost complete anticipation of the principles of Malthus.

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Duodecimo (161 x 94 mm). Uncut in contemporary carta rustica, manuscript paper spine label.


Printer's device on title.


Head of spine and top edge of lower board skilfully restored, spine label a little chipped; pale damp-mark to gutter of lower margin, final 20 leaves with small stain to upper margin; occasional light spotting, 2 small wormholes to first 2 leaves: a very good copy, entirely uncut.


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