Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Count Pietro Verri

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Economist, b. at Milan, Dec., 1728; d. there, 29 June, 1797. After studying at Monza, Rome, and Parma, he entered the Austrian army. Returning home, he devoted himself to the study of administration and political economy. He became vice- president (1772), and then president (1780), of the Chamber of Counts; but retired to private life in 1786. With his brother Alessandro (1741-1816), the philosopher Beccaria, and other, Verri founded the "Società del Caffè", in which the chief problems of philosophy, economy, and literature were discussed. His chief works are: "Meditazioni sull' economia politica" (Leghorn, 1771), translated into French and German; "Discorsi sull' indole del piacere e del dolore, sulla felicità e sulla economia politica" (Milan, 1781); "Riflessioni sulle leggi vincolanti principalmente nel commercio dei grani" (Milan, 1796); "Memorie storiche sull' economia politica nelo stato di Milano" (published after the author's death in Custodi's collection); and some memoranda on coinage in the Milanese territory. He also wrote small dramatic works. His economic theories are midway between Physiocratism and the theories of Smith. He advocated the breaking up of large estates in favour of small holdings. His greatest merit is to have formulated and expounded the theory of demand and supply, in defence of which he carried on a controversy with Melchiorre Gioia. His works have been printed in Custodi's "Scrittori classici italiani di economia politica" (Milan, 1803-16) and, in part, in Ferrara's "Biblioteca del' Economista" (Turin, 1852).

BIANCHI, Elogio storico di P. Verri (Cremona, 1803); CUSTODI, Notizie sulla vita del P. Verri (Milan, 1843); BOUVY, Le comie P. Verri (Paris, 1889); PECCHIO, Hist. de l'economie politique en Italie, tr. GALLOIS (Paris, 1830); MCCULLOCH, Literature of Political Ecomony (London, 1845); Nouveau dict. d'economie politique, s.v. Verri.

U. BENIGNI