François Quesnay

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François Quesnay
Quesnay Portrait.jpg
François Quesnay, portrait by Heinz Rieter
Born(1694-06-04)4 June 1694
Died16 December 1774(1774-12-16) (aged 80)
NationalityFrench
School Physiocrats

François Quesnay (French:  [fʁɑ̃swa kɛnɛ] ; 4 June 1694 – 16 December 1774) was a French economist and physician of the Physiocratic school. [1] He is known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table) in 1758, which provided the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. [2] This was perhaps the first work attempting to describe the workings of the economy in an analytical way, and as such can be viewed as one of the first important contributions to economic thought. His Le Despotisme de la Chine, written in 1767, describes Chinese politics and society, and his own political support for constitutional despotism. [3]

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Economist professional in the social science discipline of economics

An economist is a practitioner in the social science discipline of economics.

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.

Contents

Life

Quesnay was born at Méré near Versailles, the son of an advocate and small landed proprietor. Apprenticed at the age of sixteen to a surgeon, he soon went to Paris, studied medicine and surgery there, and, having qualified as a master-surgeon, settled down to practice at Mantes. In 1737 he was appointed perpetual secretary of the academy of surgery founded by François Gigot de la Peyronie, and became surgeon in ordinary to King Louis XV. In 1744 he graduated as a doctor of medicine; he became physician in ordinary to the king, and afterwards his first consulting physician, and was installed in the Palace of Versailles. His apartments were on the entresol, whence the Réunions de l'entresol[ clarification needed ] received their name. Louis XV esteemed Quesnay highly, and used to call him his thinker. When he ennobled him he gave him for arms three flowers of the pansy [4] (derived from pensée, in French meaning thought), with the Latin motto Propter cogitationem mentis. [5]

Méré, Yvelines Commune in Île-de-France, France

Méré is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. François Quesnay a Physiocrat and one of the first to attempt to establish a rational science of economics, was born in Méré.

Apprenticeship System of employment

An apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study. Apprenticeships can also enable practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession. Most of their training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their continued labor for an agreed period after they have achieved measurable competencies. Apprenticeship lengths vary significantly across sectors, professions, roles and cultures. People who successfully complete an apprenticeship in some cases can reach the "journeyman" or professional certification level of competence. In others can be offered a permanent job at the company that provided the placement. Although the formal boundaries and terminology of the apprentice/journeyman/master system often do not extend outside guilds and trade unions, the concept of on-the-job training leading to competence over a period of years is found in any field of skilled labor.

François Gigot de la Peyronie French surgeon

François Gigot de la Peyronie was a French surgeon who was born in Montpellier, France. His name is associated with a condition known as Peyronie's disease.

He now devoted himself principally to economic studies, taking no part in the court intrigues which were perpetually going on around him. Around 1750 he became acquainted with Jacques C. M. V. de Gournay (1712–1759), who was also an earnest inquirer in the economic field; and round these two distinguished men was gradually formed the philosophic sect of the Économistes, or, as for distinction's sake they were afterwards called, the Physiocrates. The most remarkable men in this group of disciples were the elder Mirabeau (author of L'Ami des hommes, 1756–60, and Philosophie rurale, 1763), Nicolas Baudeau (Introduction a la philosophie économique, 1771), Guillaume-François Le Trosne  [ fr ] (De l'ordre social, 1777), André Morellet (best known by his controversy with Galiani on the freedom of the grain trade during the Flour War), Lemercier de La Rivière, and du Pont de Nemours. Adam Smith, during his stay on the continent with the young Duke of Buccleuch in 1764–1766, spent some time in Paris, where he made the acquaintance of Quesnay and some of his followers; he paid a high tribute to their scientific services in his Wealth of Nations. [6] [4]

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay, a French economist, became an intendant of commerce. Some historians of economics believe that he coined the phrase laissez faire, laissez passer. Evidence was to be found when the French State parted the West Indies Company privilege - monopoly - on the slave trade. He is also credited with coining the term "bureaucracy". Together with François Quesnay, whose disciple he was, he was a leader of the Physiocratic School.

Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau MARQUIS DE MIRABEAU

Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau was a French economist of the Physiocratic school. He was the father of Honoré, Comte de Mirabeau and is, in distinction, often referred to as the elder Mirabeau.

Quesnay was married in 1718 to a woman named Marianne Woodsen, and had a son and a daughter; his grandson by the former was a member of the first Legislative Assembly. He died on 16 December 1774, having lived long enough to see his great pupil, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, in office as minister of finance. [4]

Works

Tableau economique Quesnay Tableau.jpg
Tableau économique

His economic writings are collected in the 2nd vol. of the Principaux économistes, published by Guillaumin, Paris, with preface and notes by Eugène Daire; also his Oeuvres économiques et philosophiques were collected with an introduction and note by August Oncken (Frankfort, 1888); a facsimile reprint of the Tableau économique, from the original MS., was published by the British Economic Association (London, 1895). His other writings were the article "Évidence" in the Encyclopédie, and Recherches sur l'évidence des vérites geometriques, with a Projet de nouveaux éléments de géometrie, 1773. Quesnay's Eloge was pronounced in the Academy of Sciences by Grandjean de Fouchy (see the Recueil of that Academy, 1774, p. 134). See also F.J. Marmontel, Mémoires; Mémoires de Mme. du Hausset; H. Higgs, The Physiocrats (London, 1897). [4]

French Academy of Sciences learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research

The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is one of the earliest Academies of Sciences.

Jean-François Marmontel French historian and writer, a member of the Encyclopediste movement

Jean-François Marmontel was a French historian and writer, a member of the Encyclopédistes movement.

Economics

Tableau economique, 1965 Quesnay - Tableau economique, 1965 - 5891137.tif
Tableau economique, 1965

In 1758 he published the Tableau économique (Economic Table), which provided the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. This was perhaps the first work to attempt to describe the workings of the economy in an analytical way, and as such can be viewed as one of the first important contributions to economic thought. [7]

Tableau économique

The Tableau économique or Economic Table is an economic model first described by French economist François Quesnay in 1758, which laid the foundation of the Physiocratic school of economics.

The publications in which Quesnay expounded his system were the following: two articles, on "Fermiers" (Farmers) and on "Grains", in the Encyclopédie of Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1756, 1757); [8] [4] a discourse on the law of nature in the Physiocratie of Dupont de Nemours (1768); Maximes générales de gouvernement economique d'un royaume agricole (1758), and the simultaneously published Tableau économique avec son explication, ou extrait des économies royales de Sully (with the celebrated motto, Pauvres paysans, pauvre royaume; pauvre royaume, pauvre roi); Dialogue sur le commerce et les travaux des artisans; and other minor pieces. [4]

The Tableau économique, though on account of its dryness and abstract form it met with little general favor, may be considered the principal manifesto of the school. It was regarded by the followers of Quesnay as entitled to a place amongst the foremost products of human wisdom, and is named by the elder Mirabeau, in a passage quoted by Adam Smith, [6] as one of the three great inventions which have contributed most to the stability of political societies, the other two being those of writing and of money. Its object was to exhibit by means of certain formulas the way in which the products of agriculture, which is the only source of wealth, would in a state of perfect liberty be distributed among the several classes of the community (namely, the productive classes of the proprietors and cultivators of land, and the unproductive class composed of manufacturers and merchants), and to represent by other formulas the modes of distribution which take place under systems of Governmental restraint and regulation, with the evil results arising to the whole society from different degrees of such violations of the natural order. It follows from Quesnay's theoretic views that the one thing deserving the solicitude of the practical economist and the statesman is the increase of the net product; and he infers also what Smith afterwards affirmed, on not quite the same ground, that the interest of the landowner is strictly and indissolubly connected with the general interest of the society. A small edition de luxe of this work, with other pieces, was printed in 1758 in the Palace of Versailles under the king's immediate supervision, some of the sheets, it is said, having been pulled by the royal hand. Already in 1767 the book had disappeared from circulation, and no copy of it is now procurable; but, the substance of it has been preserved in the Ami des hommes of Mirabeau, and the Physiocratie of Dupont de Nemours. [4]

Orientalism and China

Quesnay is known for his writings on Chinese politics and society. His book Le Despotisme de la Chine, written in 1767, describes his views of the Chinese imperial system. [3] He was supportive of the meritocratic concept of giving scholars political power, without the cumbersome aristocracy that characterized French politics, and the importance of agriculture to the welfare of a nation. The phrase laissez-faire , coined by fellow Physiocrat Vincent de Gournay, is postulated to have come from Quesnay's writings on China. [3] Gregory Blue writes that Quesnay "praised China as a constitutional despotism and openly advocated the adoption of Chinese institutions, including a standardized system of taxation and universal education." Blue speculates that this may have influenced the 1793 establishment of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal by the British Empire. [9] Quesnay's interests in Orientalism has also been a source of criticism. Carol Blum, in her book Strength in Numbers on 18th century France, labels Quesnay an "apologist for Oriental despotism." [10]

Because of his admiration of Confucianism, Quesnay's followers bestowed him with the title "Confucius of Europe." [11] Quesnay's infatuation for Chinese culture, as described by Jesuits, led him to persuade the son of Louis XV to mirror the "plowing of sacred land" by the Chinese emperor to symbolize the link between government and agriculture. [12]

See also

Notes

  1. Cutler J. Cleveland, "Biophysical economics", Encyclopedia of Earth, Last updated: 14 September 2006.
  2. See the biographical note in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: Volume 31 (International Publishers: New York, 1989) p. 605.
  3. 1 2 3 Ina Baghdiantz McCabe (15 July 2008). Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism and the Ancien Regime. Berg Publishers. pp. 271–72. ISBN   978-1-84520-374-0.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Quesnay, François". Encyclopædia Britannica . 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 742–743.
  5. "Nouvelles Ephemerides, Économiques, Seconde Partie, Analyses, Et Critiques Raisonnées. N° Premier. Éloge Historique De M. Quesnay, Contenant L'Analyse De Ses Ouvrages, Par M. Le Cte D'A***". Taieb.net. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 Smith, Adam, 1937, The Wealth of Nations, N. Y.: Random House, p. 643; first published 1776.
  7. Phillip Anthony O'Hara (1999). Encyclopedia of Political Economy. Psychology Press. p. 848. ISBN   978-0-415-18718-3 . Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  8. Kafker, Frank A.: Notices sur les auteurs des 17 volumes de « discours » de l'Encyclopédie (suite et fin). Recherches sur Diderot et sur l'Encyclopédie Année (1990) Volume 8 Numéro 8 p. 112
  9. E. S. Shaffer (30 November 2000). Comparative Criticism: Volume 22, East and West: Comparative Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. pp. 239–40. ISBN   978-0-521-79072-7.
  10. Carol Blum (5 February 2002). Strength in Numbers: Population, Reproduction, and Power in Eighteenth-Century France. JHU Press. p. 16. ISBN   978-0-8018-6810-8.
  11. Murray N. Rothbard (2006). Economic Thought Before Adam Smith. Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 366. ISBN   978-0-945466-48-2.
  12. Geoffrey C. Gunn (2003). First Globalization: The Eurasian Exchange, 1500 to 1800. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 148. ISBN   978-0-7425-2662-4.

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References