Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)

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Life and Works of Jean-Baptiste Say

Daire et Horace, Say Paris: Guillaumin, Hart, David M. PrincetonUniversity Press, Life and Works of Jean-Baptiste Say 0. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University. Say was the leading French political economist in the first third of the 19th century. Before becoming an academic political economist quite late in life, Say had worked at a broad range of occupations including an apprenticeship in a commercial office following in the family tradition , working for a life insurance company, journalist, soldier, politician, cotton manufacturer, and writer.

The major reason for his constantly changing career were the political and economic upheavals his generation had to endure: the French Revolution, the Revolutionary Wars, the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, economic warfare with Britain, and eventually the fall of the Empire and the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. But the honeymoon between Bonaparte and ideologues did not last long. The intellectuals in the Tribunate, led by Benjamin Constant, wary of the growing dictatorship, soon formed a locus of political opposition to the new regime.

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Although Say survived Napoleon's purge of the Tribunate, he grew disenchanted with the direction things were heading, in particular the rising taxes, public debt and gradual abandonment of free trade principles by the Bonapartist regime. Already in his essay, Olbie , which was written and submitted to a contest run by the Institut de France, before he became tribune, Say had emphasized the importance of education in political economy, and lamented the lack of an good treatise that would make economics accessible to the general public p.

  • A Bloody Good Winner;
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It became a very successful treatise, arguably the first popular textbook on economics. It would go through several editions , , , , , etc. Say's treatise is frequently but unfairly characterized as merely a popularization of Adam Smith 's economics. This is partly because of the clarity and simplicity of Say's writing style, which has led critics to accuse him of superficiality or vulgarization.

The old Physiocrat Dupont de Nemours , writing to Say in , believed it consonant to his own work. Say's distinctive economics was an outcome of a muddled marriage of Condillac 's utility theory of demand and Adam Smith 's cost theory of supply. Value, Say claimed with some inconsistency , was the outcome of the interaction of these two. In this respect, it departs considerably from the Classical School , where value is determined purely from the cost side.

Say's approach would be later taken up by French Liberal School and he can be considered a precursor of the Marginalist Revolution. Like Cantillon before him and the Austrian School after him, Say also placed great emphasis on the risk-taking entrepreneur and even tried to include him as the "fourth" factor of production in his analysis. It was also in the Treatise that Say outlined his famous "Law of Markets". Roughly stated, Say's Law claims that total demand in an economy cannot exceed or fall below total supply in that economy or as James Mill was to restate it, "supply creates its own demand.

When the producer has put the finishing hand to his product, he is most anxious to sell it immediately, lest its value should diminish in his hands. Nor is he less anxious to dispose of the money he may get for it; for the value of money is also perishable. But the only way of getting rid of money is in the purchase of some product or other. Thus the mere circumstance of creation of one product immediately opens a vent for other products.

Say, p. The radical laissez-faire notions expounded in the Treatise caught the attention of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Summoning Say to a private meeting, Napoleon demanded that Say rewrite parts of the Treatise to conform with his attempt at creating a war economy, built on protectionism and regulation.

Life and Works of Jean-Baptiste Say - Econlib

Say refused. Napoleon proscribed the Treatise and had Say ousted from the Tribunate in Although offered another government post in the taxation bureaucracy as compensation, Say was too disgusted by the imperial regime to consider it, and decided to strike out as private entrepreneur. In July , Say set about establishing a cotton-spinning mill at Maubuisson Abbey in the Val d'Oise northwest of Paris , then, before the end of the year, decided to move to northern France to set up a larger cotton mill with an associate at Auchy-les-Hesdins near Pas-de-Calais.

Say and his family would remain in Auchy for the next few years, concentrating on his business and growing fabulously rich. Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Say's Law (Jean-Baptiste Say) Explained in One Minute: Aggregate Supply = Aggregate Demand?

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Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)
Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)
Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)
Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)
Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)
Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition) Oeuvres de Jean-Baptiste Say (French Edition)

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