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The Power of a Single NumberA Political History of GDP$
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Philipp Lepenies

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231175104

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231175104.001.0001

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William Petty and Political Arithmetic

William Petty and Political Arithmetic

The Origins of GDP

(p.9) 2 William Petty and Political Arithmetic
The Power of a Single Number

Philipp Lepenies

, Jeremy Gaines
Columbia University Press

Describes how in the 17th century, the Englishman William Petty proposed the idea of "political arithmetic" - i.e. the notion that rulers should base their political decisions on numbers and statistics; highlights how the idea of political arithmetic and national income was received and underlines, that for many centuries no government was convinced that numbers and statistic mattered.

Keywords:   Political Arithmetic, William Petty, History of National Income Analysis in Economics and Politics

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