When Oliver Cromwell’s British forces invaded Ireland in the 1650s, a slight problem emerged: how to partition the spoils among the victors or, more precisely, what were the spoils? The task of surveying Ireland and assessing its riches was given to a physician which had accompanied the British army, Sir William Petty. Thus, the first ‘econometrician’ was born.
Petty’s work on Ireland is found in his 1672 Political Anatomy of the country.
A pupil of Thomas Hobbes, Petty was a Mercantilist in his policies, but one can find rudiments of the labor theory of value. He was particularly influential upon Davenant and John Locke.
Major Works of Sir William Petty
– A Treatise on Taxes and Contributions, 1662
– Verbum Sapienti, 1664
– Political Anatomy of Ireland, 1672
– Quantulumque Concerning Money, 1682
– Discourse on Political Arithmetic, 1690