Journals Higher Education



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Published: 17 September 2009

368 Pages | 5 black and white halftones


ISBN: 9780199547890

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William Petty

And the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic

Ted McCormick

  • The first comprehensive intellectual biography of William Petty based upon detailed research not only of printed sources but also his extensive unpublished archive
  • The first fully contextualized study of what Petty's crowning achievement, political arithmetic, was originally intended to do
  • Argues that political arithmetic was not only a new way of analysing economy or society but a new 'instrument of government' for the creation of industrious and loyal populations
  • Examines the transformation of Petty's program of social engineering, after his death, into an apparently apolitical form of statistical reasoning

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