The Theory of Political Economy


The term ‘political economy’ was initially applied for studying trade and production along with the interactions and relations that they had with other factors. The term was developed in the eighteenth century and stems from moral philosophy. In modern world application, political economy is synonymous to many for economics, along with relevancy to other things. The Theory of Political Economy is a book by author and mathematician William Stanley Jevons.

The Theory of Political Economy was published several times in several editions, most notably in 1871, and is Jevons’ individual view of the political economy, with expansion and narrative of other previous theories. Authors Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, and T.R Malthus accompany their theories in this work. Jevons’ work has been released in several different editions, all with newly offered concepts and studies. Jevons opens by expressing that if political economy were to truly be a science, then it would have to involve mathematics.

Jevons’ work was written previously and formed into a curt paper for the British Association at the Cambridge meeting in 1862, however all points made were not noted. The theory of utility played a key role in Jevons’ publication later on, as one of the main elements of the subject. This work is a contributor to the theory of marginal utility in economics and has been regarding as a revolutionary work as far as economic thought is concerned.

Jevons published and strived for revolution in economic thought, and in the preface of the book he so insinuates when he states that those who are viewing his book that feel as though economics, as they know it, is perfected, are not ready to not only read his work and theories, but accept them as well. He addresses the steps made by men such as Adam Smith, J.s. Mill, and Malthus, but implores readers to keep an open mind and further examine these theories to address future changes or doctrines.

Jevons attended University College London, Owens College, and is known for the marginal utility theory, still prominently taught in economics to this day. He was a noted logician and economist in England, and published a variation of work on economics and logic, in form of both article and book.

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