Traces the formative history up to 1767 of the concept of economic or social surplus as a fundamental determinant of a range of economic phenomena, especially income distribution and commodity exchange values, for which it remained the dominant framework until the latter half of the 19th century. Focuses on the work of William Petty (1623-87) and how it contributed to Adam Smith's 1776 Wealth of Nations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
1. Introduction, 2.The Life of Petty in Relation to His Economics, 3.Economic Surplus and the Social Division of Labour, 4.Methodological and the Political Bases of Petty's Economics, 5.The Theory of Production and Distribution in Cantillon's Essai, 6.The Significance of Value and Parity in Petty and Cantillon, 7.Petty-Cantillon-Quesnay: the formation of the surplus approach, 8. Wages, Prices and Economic Surplus in Steuart's Principles, 9.Developments in the Theory of Distribution and Value, 1662-1767, 10.Adam Smith and After.