Letter from Dupont (de Nemours) to G.-F. Le Trosne July 24th, 1766

Letter from Dupont (de Nemours) to G.-F. Le Trosne July 24th, 1766  translated by Benoît Malbranque [Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Winterthur Manuscripts, W2-5.] To Mr. Le Trosne 24 July 1766 You have very distressing affairs, Sir, for those who would have a thousand reasons to wish to spend a little more time with you. You left my house when I had barely started to tell you half of the things that I had to say; I must finish relieving my heart by continuing my speech to you. Let me repeat, Sir, that there is no one whom I desire to […]

Continue Reading

Molinari’s failed election of 1859, by Dries Van Thielen

Unlike some French economists who centered around the Journal des Economistes (notably Louis Wolowski and Frederic Bastiat), Gustave De Molinari never was a politician. However, this does not mean that he never ran for office. In this short overview, Dries van Thielen presents De Molinari’s failed attempt to join the ranks of the liberal party in 1859.

Continue Reading

Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement” (1849)

Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement”, in Report of the proceedings of the second general Peace Congress, held in Paris on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of august 1849, London, 1849, p. 49-52 M. Frederic Bastiat, member of the French National Assembly, spoke as follows:— Gentlemen, our excellent and learned colleague, M. Coquerel, spoke to us a little while since, of a cruel malady with which French society is afflicted, namely, skepticism. This malady is the fruit of our long dissensions, of our revolutions which have failed to bring about […]

Continue Reading

Gustave de Molinari, The Economic and Socialist Conceptions of the Society of the Future (1899)

The political and economic organisation of society has, hitherto, varied according to the mental equipment of the individual, the risks of destruction threatening each society, the comparative development of production—the conditions of existence, in fine. These conditions have been profoundly modified, particularly during the last century, by the progress which has transformed the arts of production and destruction, until a political and economic organisation suitable to the past is no longer adapted to modern needs. This lack of adaptability may be considered as the first cause of modern socialist propaganda, since it has precipitated a crisis whose effects have chiefly fallen on the class which subsists on the product of its daily toil.

Continue Reading

Frédéric Bastiat, A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles (1845)

A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles, inserted in the Sophismes économiques (1845). A Petition From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting. To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Open letter to the French Parliament, originally published in 1845. Gentlemen: You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and have little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, […]

Continue Reading

Turgot, Why the inequality in the division of property is inevitable (1766)

A man of greater strength, more laborious, more attentive about the future, would occupy more than a man of a contrary character. He, whose family is the most numerous having greater wants and more hands, extends his possessions further; this is a first cause of inequality.—Every piece of ground is not equally fertile; two men with the same extent of land, may reap a very different harvest; this is a second source of inequality. Property in descending from fathers to their children, divides into greater or less portions, according as the descendants are more or less numerous, and as one generation succeeds another, sometimes the inheritances again subdivide, and sometimes re-unite again by the extinction of some of the branches; this is a third source of inequality. The difference of knowledge, of activity, and, above all, the oeconomy of some, contrasted with the indolence, inaction, and dissipation of others, is a fourth principle of inequality, and the most powerful of all: the negligent and inattentive proprietor, who cultivates badly, who in a fruitful year consumes in frivolous things the whole of his superfluity, finds himself reduced on the least accident to request assistance from his more provident neighbour, and to live by borrowing.

Continue Reading

Richard Cantillon, On the utility of a National Bank (1755)

A national Bank in the Capital of a great Kingdom or State must, it seems, contribute less to the utility of circulation because of the distance of its Provinces, than in a small State. And when money circulates there in greater abundance than among its neighbours a national Bank does more harm than good. An abundance of fictitious and imaginary money causes the same disadvantages as an increase of real money in circulation, by raising the price of Land and Labour, or by making works and manufactures more expensive at the risk of subsequent loss. But this furtive abundance vanishes at the first gust of discreet and precipitates disorder.

Continue Reading

Hazel Van Dyke Roberts, Boisguilbert: economist of the reign of Louis XIV (Preface)

The writings of Boisguilbert should have a peculiar interest for all students of the social sciences. For the political scientist there is an intimate view of the working of a political system. In a world in which it has become fashionable to decry the ineptitude of democracy, it is not amiss to see set forth the indifference to the general welfare and the corruption of absolutism and the depths to which it can sink. At the same time, principles of government are enunciated which are yet to be put into practice.

The sociologist may find a contemporary record of much of the life and poverty of the masses, a life in which the amenities of the community were disrupted by suspicion and hatred toward one’s neighbors. He may find an ideal of voluntary submission of the individual to the group, not for the purpose of subordinating the individual to the State, but to prevent the oppression of any class.

Continue Reading

François Quesnay, Tableau économique (1758)

THE productive Expenditures are employed in agriculture, meadows, pastures, forests, mines, fishing, etc. to perpetuate riches in the form of grain, beverages, wood, cattle, raw materials for the handicrafts, etc.

The sterile Expenses are made upon handicraft products, housing, clothing, interest on money, servants, commercial expenses, foreign commodities, etc.

The sale of the net product which the Cultivator has produced during the preceding year, by means of the annual Advances of 600 livres employed in agriculture by the Farmer, furnishes the proprietor a revenue of 600 livres.

Continue Reading