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William Stanley Jevons (1835 – 1882)


English economist and logician.
William Stanley Jevons
In this work I have attempted to treat economy as a calculus of pleasure and pain, and have sketched out,almost irrespective of previous opinions, the form which the science,as it seems to me, must ultimately take.
Jevons quotes
Economists can never be free of from difficulties unless they will distinguish between a theory and the application of a theory.
Jevons
There is no such thing as absolute cost of labour; it is all a matter of comparison. Every one gets the most which he can for his exertions; some can get little or nothing, because they have not sufficient strength, knowledge or ingenuity; others get much, because they have, comparatively speaking, a monopoly of certain powers.




"we often observe that there is abundance of capital to be had at low rates of interest, while there are also large numbers of artisans starving for want of employment."
Jevons William Stanley
You will perceive that economy, scientifically speaking, is a very contracted science; it is in fact a sort of vague mathematics which calculates the causes and effects of man's industry, and shows how it may be best applied. There are a multitude of allied branches of knowledge connected with mans condition; the relation of these to political economy is analogous to the connexion of mechanics, astronomy, optics, sound, heat, and every other branch more or less of physical science, with pure mathematics.
One pound invested for five years gives the same result as five pounds invested for one year, the product being five pound years.
William Stanley Jevons
The theory which follows is entirely based on a calculus of pleasure and pain; and the object of economics is to maximize happiness by purchasing pleasure, as it were, at the lowest cost of pain.
Thus monopoly is limited by competition, and no owner, whether of labour, land or capital, can, theoretically speaking,obtain a larger share of produce for it than what other owners of exactly the same kind of property are willing to accept.
Jevons
Previous to the time of Pascal, who would have thought of measuring doubt and belief? Who could have conceived that the investigation of petty games of chance would have led to the most sublime branch of mathematical science - the theory of probabilities?
Jevons William Stanley
The difficulties of economics are mainly the difficulties of conceiving clearly and fully the conditions of utility.
William Stanley Jevons
I used to think I should like to be a bookbinder or bookseller it seemed to me a most delightful trade and I wished or thought of nothing better. More lately I thought I should be a minister, it seemed so serious and useful a profession, and I entered but little into the merits of religion and the duties of a minister. Every one dissuaded me from the notion, and before I arrived at any age to require a real decision, science had claimed me.




In any case I hold that there must arise a science of the development of economic forms and relations.
William Stanley Jevons
When quite young I can remember I had no thought or wish of surpassing others. I was rather taken with a liking of little arts and bits of learning. My mother carefully fostered a liking for botany, giving me a small microscope and many books, which I yet have. Strange as it may seem, I now believe that botany and the natural system, by exercising discrimination of kinds, is the best of logical exercises. What I may do in logic is perhaps derived from that early attention to botany.
Jevons quotes
The whole result of continued labour is not often consumed and enjoyed in a moment; the result generally lasts for a certain length of time. We must then conceive the capital as being progressively uninvested.
Jevons William Stanley
Property is only another name for monopoly.
Capital simply allows us to expend labour in advance.
William Stanley Jevons
To me it is far more pleasant to agree than to differ; but it is impossible that one who has any regard for truth can long avoid protesting against doctrines which seem to him to be erroneous. There is ever a tendency of the most hurtful kind to allow opinions to crystallise into creeds. Especially does this tendency manifest itself when some eminent author, enjoying power of clear and comprehensive exposition, becomes recognised as an authority. His works may perhaps be the best which are extant upon the subject in question; they may combine more truth with less error than we can elsewhere meet. But "to err is human," and the best works should ever be open to criticism. If, instead of welcoming inquiry and criticism, the admirers of a great author accept his writings as authoritative, both in their excellences and in their defects, the most serious injury is done to truth. In matters of philosophy and science authority has ever been the great opponent of truth. A despotic calm is usually the triumph of error. In the republic of the sciences sedition and even anarchy are beneficial in the long run to the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
We shall never have a science of economics unless we learn to discern the operation of law even among the most perplexing complications and apparent interruptions.
William Stanley Jevons
It was during the year 1851, while living almost unhappily among thoughtless, if not bad companions, in Gower Street a gloomy house on which I now look with dread it was then, and when I had got a quiet hour in my small bedroom at the top of the house, that I began to think that I could and ought to do more than others. A vague desire and determination grew upon me. I was then in the habit of saying my prayers like any good church person, and it was when so engaged that I thought most eagerly of the future, and hoped for the unknown. My reserve was so perfect that I suppose no one had the slightest comprehension of my motives or ends. My father probably knew me but little. I never had any confidential conversation with him. At school and college the success in the classes was the only indication of my powers. All else that I intended or did was within or carefully hidden. The reserved character, as I have often thought, is not pleasant nor lovely. But is it not necessary to one such as I? Would it have been sensible or even possible for a boy of fifteen or sixteen to say what he was going to do before he was fifty? For my own part I felt it to be almost presumptuous to pronounce to myself the hopes I held and the schemes I formed. Time alone could reveal whether they were empty or real ; only when proved real could they be known to others.
Jevons William Stanley
Over-production is not possible in all branches of industry at once, but it is possible in some as compared to others.


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