HIST 110 Notes Enlightenment Economics

HIST 110 Notes Enlightenment Economics - European...

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4/27/10 European Civilization *note: material from here on is on the final (not cumulative) Enlightenment Economics Two exemplars of ideas in Enlightenment economics 1. The Physiocrats : group of economic philosophers o Francois Quesnay (1694-1774) Biologist, distinguished physician, representative of group of French economic thinkers (physiocrats) o Their concept of natural law The Physiocrats were inspired by Newton. He discovered the basic laws of physics: the universal laws of motion, universal force of gravity. Laws that prevail throughout universe. Inspired others to try to do in their field what Newton had done in physics. They were attempting to become the Newtons of economics. They believed there were natural laws of economics, and were hopeful of discovering. o “as demonstrable and incontestable as the principles of geometry/mathematics” o Concept of wealth Land was the basic source of all wealth. From land, they argued, we derive both necessities and luxuries: food, raw materials, minerals, timber, water, etc. In identifying land as basic source of all wealth, they rejected mercantilism. For mercantilists, gold was standard measure of all wealth.
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