Knut Wicksell: Selected Essays in Economics - Vol. 2

By Knut Wicksell; Bo Sandelin | Go to book overview

26

LÉON WALRAS, ÉTUDES D’ÉCONOMIE SOCIALE {STUDIES IN SOCIAL ECONOMY}: THÉORIE DE LA RÉPARTITION DE LA RICHESSE SOCIALE

Lausanne, F. Rouge, 1896

When Walras began to publish his Eléments d’économie politique pure, 23 years ago, he announced his intention of writing two further volumes subsequent to the purely theoretical part of his work. One of these was to treat ‘applied economics, or the theory of the agricultural, industrial and commercial production of wealth’, the other ‘social economics, or the distribution of wealth by property and taxation’. For reasons with which I am not familiar, but which presumably have something to do with the rather scant attention his chief work initially received, this plan was not carried out; at the present time, when Walras’s theoretical system has won recognition in full measure as a work both original in its conception and strictly logical in its execution, the author unfortunately lacks the energy to compose the two parts of his work that are still missing. 1 However, in order to give some indication of what he would have liked to say, he has now brought together a number of shorter essays, some of them previously published, in two volumes, of which the one to be discussed here deals with distribution, and therefore roughly corresponds in content to the third volume of his Eléments, as originally planned.

Although of course it does not form a satisfactory substitute for the exhaustive presentation of the subject that could have been expected from Walras in more favourable circumstances, the book will be welcomed by many readers. In particular, those who have hitherto resisted closer study of Walras on account of his extensive use of mathematics will be pleasantly surprised by the author’s perfectly clear and easily understandable, in places even brilliant exposition in this collection, where with a single exception no calculus is met with.

Originally published in jahrbülcher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, 1898.

-171-

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