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Laissez-faire - Etymology



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Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • Laissez faire, telle devrait être la devise de toute puissance publique, depuis que le monde est civilisé ... Détestable principe que celui de ne vouloir grandir que par l'abaissement de nos voisins! Il n'y a que la méchanceté et la malignité du coeur de satisfaites dans ce principe, et l’intérêt y est opposé. Laissez faire, morbleu! Laissez faire!!

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • (Trans: "Let it be, that should be the motto of all public powers, as the world is civilized ... That we cannot grow except by lowering our neighbors is a detestable notion! Only malice and malignity of heart is satisfied with such a principle and our (national) interest is opposed to it. Let it be, for heaven's sake! Let it be!)

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • Although Gournay left no written tracts on his economic policy ideas, he had immense personal influence on his contemporaries, notably his fellow Physiocrats, who credit both the laissez-faire slogan and the doctrine to Gournay.

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • Before d'Argenson or Gournay, P.S. de Boisguilbert had enunciated the phrase "on laisse faire la nature" ('let nature run its course'). D'Argenson himself, during his life, was better known for the similar but less-celebrated motto "Pas trop gouverner" ("Govern not too much"). But it was Gournay's use of the 'laissez-faire' phrase (as popularized by the Physiocrats) that gave it its cachet.

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • "It is with the physiocrats and the classical political economy that the term "laissez faire" is ordinarily associated." The book Laissez Faire and the General-Welfare State mentions that, "The physiocrats, reacting against the excessive mercantilist regulations of the France of their day, expressed a belief in a "natural order" or liberty under which individuals in following their selfish interests contributed to the general good

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • In England, a number of "free trade" and "non-interference" slogans had been coined already during the 17th century. But the French phrase laissez faire gained currency in English-speaking countries with the spread of Physiocratic literature in the late 18th century. The Colbert-LeGendre anecdote was relayed in George Whatley's 1774 Principles of Trade (co-authored with Benjamin Franklin) – which may be the first appearance of the phrase in an English language publication.

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • "For Smith, laissez-faire was a program for the abolition of laws constraining the market, a program for the restoration of order and for the activation of potential growth."

Laissez-faire - Etymology

  • However, Adam Smith, and the notable classical economists, such as Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, did not use the phrase. Jeremy Bentham used the term, but it was probably James Mill's reference to the "laissez-faire" maxim (together with "pas trop gouverner") in an 1824 entry for the Encyclopædia Britannica that really brought the term into wider English usage. With the advent of the Anti-Corn Law League, the term received much of its (English) meaning.

Laissez-faire - Etymology

Laissez-faire - Fundamentals of Laissez Faire

  • These axioms constitute the basic elements of laissez-faire thought, although another basic and often-disregarded element is that markets should be competitive, a rule that the early advocates of laissez-faire have always emphasized.

Laissez-faire - China

  • Eventually, in the later Song and Ming dynasties, state monopolies were abolished in every industry and were never reinstated during the length of that dynasty, with the government following laissez-faire policies

Laissez-faire - Europe

  • Quesnay had the ear of the King of France, Louis XV, and in 1754 persuaded him to give laissez faire a try

Laissez-faire - Europe

  • The doctrine of laissez faire became an integral part of nineteenth-century European liberalism

Laissez-faire - Europe

  • Laissez-faire advocates opposed food aid for famines occurring within the British empire; in 1847, referring to the famine then underway in Ireland, The Economist's founder James Wilson wrote that "It is no man's business to provide for another"

Laissez-faire - Europe

  • A group calling itself the Manchester Liberals, to which Richard Cobden and Richard Wright belonged, were staunch defenders of free trade, and their work was carried on, after the death of Richard Cobden in 1866, by The Cobden Club. In 1867, a free trade treaty was signed between Britain and France, after which several of these treaties were signed among other European countries.

Laissez-faire - United States

  • Associated with the concept of natural rights and servings as an additional buttress to the edifice of laissez faire was the faith of Americans in the self-sufficiency of the individual

Laissez-faire - United States

  • Frank Bourgin's dissertation on the Constitutional Convention and subsequent decades argues that direct government involvement in the economy was intended by the Founders

Laissez-faire - United States

  • In his 1973 study of the economic principles established at the foundation of the United States, E.A.J. Johnson wrote:

Laissez-faire - United States

  • The general view, discernible in contemporaneous literature, was that the responsibility of government should involve enough surveillance over the enterprise system to ensure the social usefulness of all economic activity

Laissez-faire - United States

  • Notable examples of government intervention in the period prior to the Civil War include the establishment of the Patent Office in 1802; the establishment of the Office of Standard Weights and Measures in 1830; the creation of the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 and other measures to improve river and harbor navigation; the various Army expeditions to the west, beginning with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery in 1804 and continuing into the 1870s, almost always under the direction of an officer from the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, and which provided crucial information for the overland pioneers that followed; the assignment of Army Engineer officers to assist or direct the surveying and construction of the early railroads and canals; the establishment of the First Bank of the United States and Second Bank of the United States as well as various protectionist measures (e.g., the tariff of 1828)


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