Richard Cantillon: Pioneer of Economic Theory
Publisher: Routledge | ISBN: 0415075777 | edition 1992 | PDF | 224 pages | 1,97 mb
Richard Cantillon, who wrote fifty years before Adam Smith, was the first economist to see the economy as an interrelated whole and the first to give a coherent account of how it works. His only surviving work, the Essai sur la nature du commerce en general, was an astonishing achievement, although it was not published until twenty years after his death and was never widely known. Simply to sketch such a theory would have been a major advance, but Cantillon worked out the implications of his model with a rigor that was not to be matched for a century or more.
Anthony Brewer conducts a masterful analysis of the work of Richard Cantillon, which had a formative, if unacknowledged, impact on classical economics. The first part of the book sets out Cantillon's theory, starting with his account of allocation and distribution in a closed economy, his theory of opulation, and his (land based) theory of value. Anthony Brewer examines Cantillon's monetary theory and his analysis of the balance of trade, and concludes with an examination of his mercantilist views. Mercantilism has been regarded as irrational since the attacks of Smith, yet Cantillon's views are shown to be a logical consequence of his pioneering analysis of the workings of the international economic system.
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