Systematic Statement of Cournot’s Theory
Principes de la théorie des richesses.
Paris: Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1863.
First edition. Octavo. , IV, 527, [1, blank] pp.
Early russet morocco-grain cloth lettered in gilt on spine. Lower corner of half-title renewed, gathering 11 (pp. 161-176) repaired in the gutter, affecting a few letters on pp. 161/162, a few additional leaves with gutter repairs. Occasional light foxing. Generally, a very clean copy. Partially unopened. Housed in a custom brown cloth clamshell case.
Cournot was the first “to visualize the general interdependence of all economic quantities and the necessity of representing this cosmos by a system of equations” (Schumpeter, p. 467). In 1838 he published Recherches sur les principes mathématiques de la théorie des richesses. Perhaps because he was primarily a mathematician and his work contained technicalities to which economists had been previously unaccustomed, it went almost unnoticed until its significance was recognized by Marshall, Walras, and Jevons.
The present work states his theory without the mathematics and develops it into a systematic doctrine. Because in the Recherches he “treated only questions where mathematical analysis was applicable...the product was not a complete treatise on political economy but a selection of contributions to various specific topic” (Theocharis, Early Developments in Mathematical Economics, p. 200). In the Principes the results are united.