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Commerce and Government: Considered in Their Mutual Relationship

Commerce and Government: Considered in Their Mutual Relationship

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This book is the first English language edition of Le Commerce et le Gouvernement by the distinguished eighteenth century economist and philosopher Condillac. It was one of the most original contributions to French economics in the eighteenth century. In this edition the editors provide an English translation of the original and a comprehensive account of Condillac's life and contribution to economics. In the late eighteenth century Condillac used the clarity and precision of thought of a leading philosopher to derive a fundamental set of economic principles and their implications for policy. He arrived at the same free trade conclusions as Adam Smith, and Le Commerce et le Gouvernement was published in the same year as The Wealth of Nations. Condillac's economics was initially condemned by the physiocrats because in his utility-based analysis, industry and commerce and not just agriculture contributed to the wealth of France. The original French edition was quickly dismissed by those in positions of power in France who preferred dirigism to competition, while across the Channel the British were unaware of its existence. The importance of Condillac's contribution to economics was recognized after the marginal revolution of the 1870's. In the eighteenth century Condillac won the respect of Voltaire and Rousseau, and the high regard of the King and the Church. His work has since been admired by Allais, Hayek, Menger and Weulersse, while Jevons believed that it provided the first distinct statement of the true connection between value and utility. Commerce and Government will be of special interest to historians of economic thought and those interested in the economic history of the eighteenth century.