Definitions in Political Economy

Thomas Robert MALTHUS

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MALTHUS, Thomas Robert. Definitions in Political Economy, Preceded by an Inquiry into the Rules Which Ought to Guide Political in the Definition and Use of Their Terms; with Remarks on the Deviation from These Rules in Their Writings. London: John Murray, 1827. Octavo, original brown paper boards, partial original printed paper spine label, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

First edition of the last book published in Malthus' lifetime, his controversial analysis of Adam Smith, Ricardo, James Mill, Say and McCulloch in one of the first extended analyses of "the methodology of economics" (New Palgrave), especially scarce in original boards.

"One of the founders of modern economics," renowned for his Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) and Principles of Political Economy (1820), Malthus also sparked great controversy in Definitions in Political Economy, the last work published in his lifetime (PMM). "Definitions is the only book-length work devoted solely to semantics to appear in the classical period… Malthus was primarily concerned to put an end to multiple uses of terminology, which, he was convinced, led to unnecessary differences of opinion among writers." Having established four basic rules for defining and applying terms, Malthus shows how these are "followed or violated by economists, including Smith, Say, Ricardo, James Mill, McCulloch and Bailey. In the penultimate chapter, he offers definitions of 60 key terms in political economy; the final chapter offers a discussion of problems that arise upon application of the definitions" (Redman, Rise of Political Economy, 279, 302-3). "Definitions remains significant as an early contribution to the methodology of economics, and one which repays consideration in times of terminological confusion" (New Palgrave III:284). With scarce half title and final leaf. Goldsmiths 25180. Kress C1924. Early owner signature.

Text very fresh, expert repairs to joints and spine ends, original paper boards with only faint soiling with light edge-wear. Near-fine.

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