(VERRI, P.) Meditazioni sulla economia politica. Prima Edizione Napoletana. Napoli, Nella Stamperia di Giovanni Gravier, 1771. With title-vignette, title printed within engraved border. (8), 212 pp. 8vo. Later boards.
Kress 6828; Goldsmiths 10722 (edition without place or publisher); not in Einaudi (listing three other editions from 1771); Higgs 5167; Mattioli 3734-36, all different editions, not this one; Kress, Italian Economic Literature, i, 406; Carpenter, Economic Bestsellers before 1850, xxv/2.
One of four editions from 1771: the Livorno edition is the first, in the listing by Carpenter and in the Italian Economic Literature this Napels edition is given as the second in the sequence and is followed by the other 1771 editions.
The work was an immediate succes and went through some 6 editions in a short period; Verri’s publishing history outside Italy was remarkable — four French editions, two in German, at least one, perhaps two in Dutch, and a partial Russian translation (Carpenter), and more recently, into English. “Verri’s Meditazioni (Meditations on Political Economy) is a complete treatise on political economy, reminiscent of Turgot’s work (1766) with its tight, logical framework and division into fairly short sections. The work was highly appreciated when it appeared and could be found, for example, in the library of Adam Smith. His work, though now largely ignored, may therefore have exerted greater influence than is generally believed” (New Palgrave, volume iv, p. 807).
“This work (the Meditazioni) firmly embraces free trade, and anticipates (especially the concept of money as a universal commodity, the theory of value, and the dynamics of the laws of the marketplace) the Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith” (Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, vol. 4, p. 221).
Pietro Verri (1728-1797) was an Italian economist, administrator and philosopher. His work includes several anti-Physiocratic views: for example on tax issues and on the importance of agriculture. His work contains a number of original contributions. Not only did he do historical research of importance, but he also was a true econometrician. Schumpeter states: “Count Pietro Verri …… would have to be included in any list of the greatest economists.” Verri also belonged to the ‘Illuministi” of Italy and founded the important but short-lived periodical ‘Il Caffé’, together with Beccaria and others. – Somewhat browned and spotted throughout, in a contemporary hand written onto title “del c. verri milanese”, rather thick lettering.