Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Take a Look at Utopia

In one of the lively and readable economics Blogs available (check our current list of them on the left column), Marginal Revolution (, Tyler Cowen reports that Thomas More (16th century) appears to present an early (if not the earliest) version of the Pareto’s Compensation Principle:

“...another [advisor] advises him to prohibit many practices with heavy fines, especially those that are contrary to the public interest, noting that later he can make a monetary arrangement with those whose interests are hurt by the laws and that thus he can win the gratitude of the people and make a double profit, first from fining those whom greed has led on into his trap and then by selling dispensations to others...”.

He adds: “The book is an early classic of social science, and a precursor of Smith's TMS, but read it from back to front.”

You can order “Utopia” at a most reasonable price for Congratulations to Tyler Cowen for news of this gem. Makes all that reading of Kaldor-Hicks in Welfare Economics worthwhile.


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