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Condillac: Commerce and Government
Considered in Their Mutual Relationship
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 recognised 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.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'... fine translation of Condillac's book prepared by Shelagh Eltis... the translation is crisp, elegant and, of particular importance, accurately reflects Condillac's meaning in so far as any translation can do so. To this high quality translation can be added an equally high quality introduction in which the translator is joined by Walter Eltis, the noted commentator on French eighteenth century economics.' -- Peter Groenewegen, The Economic Journal 'Shelagh Eltis provides an excellent translation and a thoroughly researched biographical introduction, while Walter Eltis adds a valuable discussion of Condillac's economics.' -- Anthony Brewer, History of Economic Thought Newsletter 'A classic work which makes the jargon of economics clearer than a mountain spring ... devotees of the subject applaud a masterpiece.' -- Louise D'Epinay to Ferdinando Galiani, March 1776 ' ... a genuine contribution to scholarship ...The translation from the French is very impressive, faithfully capturing Condillac's philosophical vision as well as his lightness of touch ...a very revealing book.' -- Richard Whatmore, European Journal in the History of Economic Thought