De Viti in Ten Minutes

In what's left my spare time, I've been reading Antonio De Viti De Marco's First Principles of Public Finance, translated from the Italian in 1936 -- though his ideas were already welded together by 1900. He's trying to integrate public finance into economics, while setting out just what PF is. So in the first 50 pages, he's outlining a methodology, and setting up polar theories of how individuals relate to the state: meaning that either the producers of the public goods are identical with the consumers, as we have in a participatory democracy, or they're not, as we have with despotism. And rather fortunately, De Viti didn't have to deal with the current public goods requirements of rivalry and exclusion; instead, for him, public goods are basically what the government produces, but "collective needs" are those goods and services useful for supporting social interaction. It's messy, but at least he's trying to separate the actual economic product of the government from what we find it efficient for the goverment to prduce.

My ten minutes are up.


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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on January 6, 2006 7:38 AM.

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