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.

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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, […]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Charles Coquelin, Capital (1853)

CAPITAL, a politico-economical term. It may be said, in a general way, that capital is the result of accumulation. It is the sum total of values withdrawn from unproductive consumption, and bequeathed to the present by the past.

This definition is exact enough. and is, strictly speaking, sufficient. It agrees with that of J. B. Say, which is as follows: “Capital, in the broadest sense, is an accumulation of values withdrawn from unproductive consumption.” It differs, however, in some respects—if not in substance, at least as to the number and variety of the objects it embraces—from that given by some other economists, and, in certain cases, from that given by J.B. Say himself.

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Gustave de Molinari, The Free constitution of Nationality (1899)

Gustave de Molinari, The Society of Tomorrow: A Forecast of its Political and Economic Organization, New York, 1904. French version : Esquisse de l’organisation politique et économique de la société future, Paris, 1899 Chapter II The Free Constitution of Nationality The first, and by no means least, advance which will follow the establishment of a State of Peace will be free constitution of nationality. All history attests that it was force, and in no sense a voluntary agreement of both parties, which erected the associations called political States; and at this point it may be useful to recapitulate what we […]

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Joseph Garnier, Laissez-faire, laissez-passer (1853)

French version published in the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique, 2 vols., 1852-1853 ; english version published in Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States (1881). LAISSEZ FAIRE—LAISSEZ PASSER. These two formulas, which are frequently met with in economic, political, social and socialistic discussions, were invented by the physiocrates. By laissez faire they mean simply let work, and by laissez passer, allow exchange; in other words, the physiocrates demand, by these phrases, the liberty of labor, and the liberty of commerce. These two phrases have never been used by economists in any other sense; […]

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