Auguste Ott on Commercial Crises and Distributive Justice: An Early Input-Output Scheme

written with Giorgio Colacchio


In 1851 the French Social economist Auguste Ott discussed the problem of gluts and commercial crises, together with the issue of distributive justice between workers in co-operative societies. He did so by means of a ‘simple reproduction scheme’ sharing some features with modern intersectoral transactions tables, in particular in terms of their graphical representation. The paper presents Ott’s theory of crises (which was based on the disappointment of expectations) and the context of his model, and discusses its peculiarities, supplying a new piece for the reconstruction of the prehistory of input-output analysis.