Are we to wait for the end of the war? Pierre de Boisguilbert and the opportunity of laissez-faire (1707) by Benoît Malbranque Foreword Laissez-faire (let things be) is an ideal which presents itself in various forms in French literature prior to the 17th century, and first and foremost in the writings of Rabelais and Montaigne, but whose first greatest advocate in economics is Pierre de Boisguilbert (1646–1714). This man, for sure, is a curious fellow, with a peculiar way of writing. English readers until now have never experienced his writings, for his main economic works have appeared in […]
“When the Church has no enemies to fight, and sails on a calm sea, no one thinks of preparing for battle, nor of forestalling the pitfalls from which one might expect wreckage during the storm. The Church necessarily falls as soon as she speculates that she can no longer fall, the cause probably being the neglect that follows this claim, for one hardly thinks of digging deep into the matters of a religion that no one is challenging.”
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.
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.
Marquis d’Argenson, Letter to the author of the Journal, concerning the Dissertation upon commerce (1751)
A Letter to the author of the Journal, concerning the Dissertation upon commerce, by the Marquis Belloni In Selected essays on Commerce, agriculture, mines, fisheries, and other useful subjects, London, 1754, p228-335 SIR, In your journal for March, 1751, you have inserted a Dissertation upon trade, by the Marquis Belloni, which I have read several times, as an excellent piece; the substance of all the best remarks which have been made by our modern politicians on that subject, containing advice to sovereigns touching the direction of commerce, manufactures and the circulation of money. But ought not he first to […]
M. de Gournay found it equally strange that, in a kingdom in which the order of succession was determined simply by custom, and in which the question of applying the death sentence to certain crimes was still left to the discretion of the courts, the government should have deigned to regulate by special legislation the length and breadth of each piece of cloth, the number of threads it was to contain, and to hallow with the seal of the legislature four volumes in quarto filled with these important details, and in addition innumerable statutes, dictated by the spirit of monopoly, the whole purpose of which were to discourage industry, to concentrate trade within the hands of a few people by multiplying formalities and charges, by subjecting industry to apprenticeships and journeymanships (compagnonnages) often years in some trades which can be learned in ten days, by excluding those who were not sons of masters, or those born outside a certain class, and by prohibiting the employment of women in the manufacture of cloth, etc., etc.
Pierre de Boisguilbert (1646-1714) Hazel Van Dyke Roberts, Boisguilbert: economist of the reign of Louis XIV, New York, Columbia University Press, 1935 “Boisguilbert: An Early French Economist“, 1873, Westminster Review Vauban (1633-1707) A Project for a Royal Tythe, or General Tax, which by suppressing all the ancient funds and later projects for raising the public revenues, and for ever abolishing all exemptions, unequal assessments, and all rigours and oppressive distraining of people, will furnish the government a fixt and certain revenue, sufficient for all its exigencies and occasions, without oppressing the subjects, London, 1708 (see also the 1710 edition) Richard […]