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Issues Issue 14 pdf Download. Issue 15 pdf Download. Issue 16 pdf Download. Issue 18 pdf Download. Marshall made a similar observation a century later. Galiani also recognized the existence of a relationship between the price of a good and the demand for it.
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Rich people can afford a good that poorer people cannot. As the price of a good decreases, people from the less-affluent income categories begin to purchase it, thus increasing total demand. If the price rises, some of these people will stop buying it.
The rich make some purchases because it is fashionable to do so, even though the good purchased has little or no utility. It is fashionable to purchase diamonds, and unfashionable to purchase water or air. That is one reason why diamonds have a high price and water and air have a low price or no price. This example also shows that there is a difference between value and utility. He realized that value is not intrinsic but subjective. A good's price varies with the taste and purchasing power of each individual. Galiani was also aware of the law of diminishing marginal utility.
When Davanzati stated that a living calf is both nobler and cheaper than a golden calf, and that a pound of bread is more useful than a pound of gold, Galiani replied that "useful" and "less useful" are relative concepts, and depend on individual circumstances. For someone who is in need of both gold and bread, bread is more useful.
Choosing gold over bread in this case would lead to starvation.
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But once the individual has eaten his fill of bread, gold would be chosen over more bread. A single egg would be valued more highly by a starving man than all the gold in the world, and would be valued much less by the same man who had just finished eating. Thus, Galiani was aware of the ranking of goods, substitution of goods, and diminishing marginal utility, topics discussed by Gossen, Walras, Jevons, and Menger one hundred years later.
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Menger was aware of Galiani's views, as evidenced by his citation of Galiani in his Principles of Economics. According to Galiani, interest equalizes present and future money. It is a means to compensate for the palpitations of the heart that a creditor must endure until the money is returned.
It is a just payment to a creditor for the risk taken. This payment is for the convenience of the debtor, and compensates the creditor for the inconvenience that is incurred by not having the money for a certain period of time. The values are subjectively equal, but numerically different because they are separated by time.
Galiani believed that government generally should not interfere in the natural workings of the economy. A government that attempts to stimulate all sectors of the economy, agricultural and industrial, stimulates nothing. Stimulation means that a particular sector is given preference over the other sectors, and how can one sector be given preference over another if all sectors are stimulated?
Another aspect of his economic-policy theory is that an economic policy must be formulated by taking time and place into account; an economic policy that may be appropriate in one country or at one time may be inappropriate in another. Unlike the physiocrats, Galiani argued that agriculture need not always be viewed as supreme.
The view that economic models must be adjusted for time and place later became a basic principle of the German Historical School, the school that later debated the validity of Carl Menger's methodology.