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Francois Quesnay (1694–1774)

Pioneers in Economics series
Edited by the late Mark Blaug, former Professor Emeritus, University of London and Professor Emeritus, University of Buckingham, UK
Francois Quesnay is best known for the Tableau Economique, the proposition that only agriculture generates a positive 'net product' and that industry is ‘sterile’. He recommended a ‘single tax’ on ground rent and invented the slogan ‘laissez faire, laissez passe’. He was the first to found a school of economists called the ‘physiocrats’ which enjoyed an immense vogue in France for about a decade in the 1750s. The practical programme of the physiocrats was to eliminate the vestiges of medieval tolls and restrictions in the countryside, to rationalize the fiscal system, to amalgamate small-holdings into large-scale agricultural estates, to free the corn trade from all mercantilist restrictions – in short to emulate England. Placed in its historical context these were eminently reasonable views but the attempt to provide these reforms with a watertight theoretical argument produced some forced reasoning and slightly absurd conclusions.
Extent: 656 pp
Hardback Price: £238.00 Online: £214.20
Publication Date: 1991
ISBN: 978 1 85278 472 0
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic Psychology
  • History of Economic Thought
Francois Quesnay is best known for the Tableau Economique, the proposition that only agriculture generates a positive ‘net product’ and that industry is ‘sterile’. He recommended a ‘single tax’ on ground rent and invented the slogan ‘laissez faire, laissez passe’. He was the first to found a school of economists called the ‘physiocrats’ which enjoyed an immense vogue in France for about a decade in the 1750s. The practical programme of the physiocrats was to eliminate the vestiges of medieval tolls and restrictions in the countryside, to rationalize the fiscal system, to amalgamate small-holdings into large-scale agricultural estates, to free the corn trade from all mercantilist restrictions – in short to emulate England. Placed in its historical context these were eminently reasonable views but the attempt to provide these reforms with a watertight theoretical argument produced some forced reasoning and slightly absurd conclusions.
28 articles, dating from 1892 to 1988
Contributors include: T. Barna, S. Bauer, A.I. Bloomfield, S.J. Brandenburg, R.V. Eagly, W.A. Eltis, V. Foley, L. Herlitz, I . Hishiyama, J. Johnson, S. Malle, L.A. Maverick, R.L. Meek, A.L. Müller, T.P. Neill, A. Philips, I. Ross, W.J. Samuels, J.J. Spengler, G. Vaggi, N.J. Ware, R.M. Will
Contents:
Volume I
Introduction
1. S. Bauer (1895), 'Quesnay's Tableau Économique'
2. A.I. Bloomfield (1938), 'The Foreign-Trade Doctrines of the Physicrats'
3. J.J. Spengler (1945), 'The Physiocrats and Say's Law of Markets. I'
4. J.J. Spengler (1945), 'The Physiocrats and Say's Law of Markets. II'
5. R.L. Meek (1951), 'Physiocracy and Classicism in Britain'
6. I Hishiyama (1960), 'The Tableau Économique of Quesnay'
7. W.J. Samuels (1961), 'The Physiocratic Theory of Property and State'
8. W.J. Samuels (1962), 'The Physiocratic Theory of Economic Policy'
9. R.M. Will (1965), 'Ecomic Thought in the Encyclopédie'
10. J. Johnson (1966), 'The Role of Spending in Physiocratic Theory'
11. R.V. Eagly (1969), 'A Physicratic Model of Dynamic Equilibrium'
12. V. Foley (1973), 'An Origin of the Tableau Économique'
13. W.A. Elits (1975), 'Francois Quesnay: A Reinterpretation. 1.'
14. W.A. Elits (1975), 'Francois Quesnay: A Reinterpretation. 2.'
15. A.L. Müller (1978), 'Quesnay's Theory of Growth: A Comment'
16. T. Barna (1976), 'Quesnay's Model of Economic Development'

Volume II
1. S.J. Brandenburg (1931), 'The Place of Agriculture in British National Economy Prior to Adam Smith'
2. N.J. Ware (1931), 'The Physiocrats: A Study in Economic Rationalization'
3. L.A. Maverick (1938), 'Chinese Influences Upon the Physiocrats'
4. T.P. Neill (1949), 'The Physiocrats' Concept of Economics'
5. A. Philips (1955), 'The Tableau Économique as Simple Leontiev Model'
6. R.L. Meek (1960), 'The Interpretaion of the "Tableau Économique"
7. L. Herlitz (1961), 'The Tableau Économique and the Doctrine of Sterility'
8. T. Barna (1975), 'Quesnay's Tableau in Modern Guise'
9. S. Malle (1979), 'Marx on Physicocracy'
10. I Ross (1984), 'The Physiocrats and Adam Smith'
11. G. Vaggi (1985), 'The Role of Profits in Physiocratic Economics'
12. W. Elitis (1988), 'The Contrasting Theories of Industrialization of Francois Quesnay and Adam Smith.'