“THE FIRST AND GREAT DESIRE OF MAN IS THAT OF MAINTAINING AND IMPROVING HIS CONDITION”
CAREY, Henry. The Past, The Present, and The Future. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1848. Octavo, original blind-stamped green cloth. $1500.
First English edition of this important economic treatise by “the American apostle of optimism” (Roll, 275).
Although Carey began his career in political economy as a die-hard supporter of the free market, in 1844, “he renounced his belief in laissez-faire for good in his book Past, Present and Future (1848) despite the fact that during this era the idea of free trade was gathering considerable momentum worldwide” (ANB). A founder of the so-called “nationalist school,” Carey’s ideology came to resemble the Utopian European social reform school so popular in the Scandinavian countries and Western Europe. “In his Past, Present, and Future, Carey announced a law of production from land the exact reverse of Ricardo’s. With a great wealth of illustration, he laid down the principle that, in the progress of society, men first till the easily worked and poorer solids, and descend upon the richer lands as capital and numbers increase, so that with the advance of the community the rate of return from the land rises instead of falling” (Palgrave I:226). The work was so controversial that John Stuart Mill wrote Principles of Political Economy to refute it. With publisher’s catalogue. The first American edition was published the same year. Early owner inscription. Bookseller’s ticket. Binder’s ticket.
Slight dampstaining to endpapers, a few finger smudges to text, faint spotting to rear board, and toning and a bit of wear to extremities of original cloth. An extremely good copy.