At the Origins of Mathematical Economics: The Economics of A.N. Isnard (1748-1803) (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics)

Routledge – 2006, 422 pages ISBN: 0415306493, 9780415306492Achille Nicolas Isnard (1749-1803) an engineer with a keen in

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At the Origins of Mathematical Economics: The Economics of A.N. Isnard (1748-1803) (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics)

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At the Origins of Mathematical Economics Achilles Nicholas Isnard’s seminal contributions to the study of economics remained largely unacknowledged until the latter half of the twentieth century. He is best known for demonstrating the concept of market equilibrium using simultaneous equations, and as a forerunner of Input-Output analysis. However, the breadth and depth of Isnard’s work has so far been completely unrecognised This pioneering new book examines Isnard’s life and illuminates his major contributions to political economy. At the Origins of Mathematical Economics contains substantial extracts from a number of Isnard’s publications presented both in English translation and in the original French. The diverse issues covered in Isnard’s work will ensure that this book will appeal not only to economists with an interest in the history of mathematical economics, but also to anyone interested in the emergence of political economy and in wider social thought during the Enlightenment. Richard van den Berg is a principal lecturer at Kingston University, UK.

Routledge Studies in the History of Economics

1 Economics as Literature Willie Henderson 2 Socialism and Marginalism in Economics 1870–1930 Edited by Ian Steedman 3 Hayek’s Political Economy The socio-economics of order Steve Fleetwood 4 On the Origins of Classical Economics Distribution and value from William Petty to Adam Smith Tony Aspromourgos 5 The Economics of Joan Robinson Edited by Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Luigi Pasinetti and Alesandro Roncaglia 6 The Evolutionist Economics of Léon Walras Albert Jolink link 7 Keynes and the ‘Classics’ A study in language, epistemology and mistaken identities Michel Verdon 8 The History of Game Theory, Volume 1 From the beginnings to 1945 Robert W.Dimand and Mary Ann Dimand 9 The Economics of W.S.Jevons Sandra Peart 10 Gandhi’s Economic Thought Ajit K.Dasgupta

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24 Evolution of Austrian Economics From Menger to Lachmann Sandye Gloria 25 Marx’s Concept of Money The God of commodities Anitra Nelson 26 The Economics of James Steuart Edited by Ramón Tortajada 27 The Development of Economics in Europe since 1945 Edited by A.W.Bob Coats 28 The Canon in the History of Economics Critical essays Edited by Michalis Psalidopoulos 29 Money and Growth Selected papers of Allyn Abbott Young Edited by Perry G.Mehrling and Roger J.Sandilands 30 The Social Economics of Jean-Baptiste Say Markets and virtue Evelyn L.Forget 31 The Foundations of LaissezFaire The economics of Pierre de Boisguilbert Gilbert Faccarello 32 John Ruskin’s Political Economy Willie Henderson 33 Contributions to the History of Economic Thought Essays in honour of R.D.C.Black Edited by Antoin E.Murphy and Renee Prendergast 34 Towards an Unknown Marx A commentary on the manuscripts of 1861–63 Enrique Dussel 35 Economics and Interdisciplinary Exchange Edited by Guido Erreygers

36 Economics as the Art of Thought Essays in memory of G.L.S.Shackle Edited by Stephen F.Frowen and Peter Earl 37 The Decline of Ricardian Economics Politics and economics in PostRicardian theory Susan Pashkoff 38 Piero Sraffa His life, thought and cultural heritage Alessandro Roncaglia 39 Equilibrium and Disequilibrium in Economic Theory The Marshall-Walras divide Michel de Vroey 40 The German Historical School The historical and ethical approach to economics Edited by Yuichi Shionoya 41 Reflections on the Classical Canon in Economics Essays in honor of Samuel Hollander Edited by Sandra Peart and Evelyn Forget 42 Piero Sraffa’s Political Economy A centenary estimate Edited by Terenzio Cozzi and Roberto Marchionatti 43 The Contribution of Joseph Schumpeter to Economics Economic development and institutional change Richard Arena and Cecile Dangel 44 On the Development of Longrun Neo-Classical Theory Tom Kompas 45 F.A.Hayek as a Political Economist Economic analysis and values Edited by Jack Birner, Pierre Garrouste and Thierry Aimar 46 Pareto, Economics and Society The mechanical analogy Michael McLure

47 The Cambridge Controversies in Capital Theory A study in the logic of theory development Jack Birner 48 Economics Broadly Considered Essays in honor of Warren J. Samuels Edited by Steven G.Medema, Jeff Biddle and John B.Davis 49 Physicians and Political Economy Six studies of the work of doctor economists Edited by Peter Groenewegen 50 The Spread of Political Economy and the Professionalisation of Economists Economic societies in Europe, America and Japan in the nineteenth century Massimo Augello and Marco Guidi 51 Historians of Economics and Economic Thought The construction of disciplinary memory Steven G.Medema and Warren J. Samuels 52 Competing Economic Theories Essays in memory of Giovanni Caravale Sergio Nisticò and Domenico Tosato 53 Economic Thought and Policy in Less Developed Europe The nineteenth century Edited by Michalis Psalidopoulos and Maria-Eugenia Almedia Mata 54 Family Fictions and Family Facts Harriet Martineau, Adolphe Quetelet and the population question in England 1798–1859 Brian Cooper 55 Eighteeth-century Economics Peter Groenewegen 56 The Rise of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment Edited by Tatsuya Sakamoto and Hideo Tanaka 57 Classics and Moderns in Economics Volume I Essays on nineteenth and twentieth century economic thought Peter Groenewegen 58 Classics and Moderns in Economics Volume II Essays on nineteenth and twentieth century economic thought Peter Groenewegen

59 Marshall’s Evolutionary Economics Tiziano Raffaelli 60 Money, Time and Rationality in Max Weber Austrian connections Stephen D.Parsons 61 Classical Macroeconomics Some modern variations and distortions James C.W.Ahiakpor 62 The Historical School of Economics in England and Japan Tamotsu Nishizawa 63 Classical Economics and Modern Theory Studies in long-period analysis Heinz D.Kurz and Neri Salvadori 64 A Bibliography of Female Economic Thought to 1940 Kirsten K.Madden, Janet A.Sietz and Michele Pujol 65 Economics, Economists and Expectations From microfoundations to macroeconomics Warren young, Robert Leeson and William Darity Jnr 66 The Political Economy of Public Finance in Britain, 1767–1873 Takuo Dome 67 Essays in the History of Economics Warren J.Samuels, Willie Henderson, Kirk D.Johnson and Marianne Johnson 68 History and Political Economy Essays in honour of P.D. Groenewegen Edited by Tony Aspromourgos and John Lodewijks 69 The Tradition of Free Trade Lars Magnusson 70 Evolution of the Market Process Austrian and Swedish economics Edited by Michel Bellet, Sandye GloriaPalermo and Abdallah Zouache 71 Consumption as an Investment The fear of goods from Hesiod to Adam Smith Cosimo Perrotta

72 Jean-Baptiste Say and the Classical Canon in Economics The British connection in French classicism Samuel Hollander 73 Knut Wicksell on Poverty No place is too exalted Knut Wicksell 74 Economists in Cambridge A study through their correspondence 1907–1946 Edited by M.C.Marcuzzo and A.Rosselli 75 The Experiment in the History of Economics Edited by Philippe Fontaine and Robert Leonard 76 At the Origins of Mathematical Economics The economics of A.N.Isnard (1748–1803) Richard van den Berg

At the Origins of Mathematical Economics The economics of A.N.Isnard (1748–1803)

Richard van den Berg


First published 2006 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX 14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to” © 2006 Richard van den Berg All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-61758-4 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 0-203-34917-2 (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 10:0-415-30649-3 (Print Edition) ISBN 13:9-78-0-415-30649-2 (Print Edition)

For Amber






Introduction PART A The economics of A.N.Isnard 1 Life and career of Achilles Nicolas Isnard (1748–1803)

1 6


2 Main themes in Isnard’s writings


3 Reception and influence of Isnard’s writings


PART B Text and translation


Appendix: a bibliography of Isnard’s writings









The 1897 Palgrave Dictionary of Political Economy devoted one short paragraph (by E.Castelot) to Achilles Nicolas Isnard, which mentioned his two books on economics, that he was an engineer, had ‘frequent recourse to mathematical symbols’ but did ‘not venture further than equations of the first degree and simple problems in the rule of three’. No date of birth was given and only an approximate date of death. Isnard’s mathematical proclivities had earlier been recognised by Jevons, who had listed him as a mathematical economist in an appendix to the second edition of his Theory of Political Economy (1879). Jevons’ source for this listing had been no less a mathematical economist than Walras, on whose work Isnard had exerted some influence. This was demonstrated almost a century later in an interesting article by Jaffé which, I may add on a personal note, introduced Isnard’s name to me as an interesting late eighteenth-century economist. By then, Isnard had been given wider recognition as an early practitioner of mathematical economics by a number of authors (such as Theocharis in 1961, Baumol and Goldfeld in 1968). When in 1987 the New Palgrave Dictionary of Political Economy accorded Isnard a substantial two-page entry (by Hébert), his mathematical economics, his influence on Walras and his status as yet another French engineer who contributed to economics were appropriately celebrated. However, Isnard had been already revered as an important and valuable contributor to economics during the first half of the nineteenth century. In his The Literature of Political Economy (1845), J.R.McCulloch had listed Isnard’s Traité des richesses (1781) as ‘a learned and valuable work’ despite its ‘desultory’ and imprecise style which, unlike most of its contem porary works in the late eighteenth century on the European continent severely criticised the work of the physiocrats, with special emphasis to their wrong doctrine on the exclusive productivity of agriculture and its corol lary, the impossibility of imposing taxation except on the net product of the land in the hands of the landlords. Moreover, McCulloch praised Isnard’s work for its acute and lengthy examination of the apologetics favouring restrictions on international trade with respect to certain commodities, for its able vindication of the employment of machinery, and for its elaborate account of taxation in the context of the mode of acquiring property. McCulloch’s commentary on Isnard’s major work, admittedly in a somewhat rare bibliography of political economy, indicated that Isnard’s economics encompassed far more than some early steps in mathematical reasoning on value theory and some timid foreshadowing of the foundation of general equilibrium analysis. The validity of McCulloch’s judgement, and the inadequacy of much of the

more recent interpretations of his work can now be fully appreciated in Richard van den Berg’s splendid edition of selections of Isnard’s economic works, accompanied as it is by the editor’s very useful introduction and splendid editorial notes. Of that content, this foreword needs to say very little since it can be enjoyed by the reader in what follows. Allow me to emphasise, however, two of its more pertinent features. First, Part A provides not only essential historical information for the appreciation of Isnard’s economics (on some aspects of which I want to comment later), but also a fine biographical sketch of Isnard constructed through Richard van den Berg’s diligent research. It incidentally provides two further contacts between Isnard’s life and that of Walras: the importance of Switzerland and Lausanne to their economic careers, and the role played by the town of Evreux in their respective lives. Second, the body of the work incorporates the French text and a (first) English translation of lengthy extracts from no less than six economic texts by Isnard. Apart from the 1781 Traité des richesses, by far the best known of Isnard’s works, they include the 1784 Catéchisme social; the 1789 Réponses aux principales objections à faire contre l’impôt unique’, the 1790 Reflexions sur l‘émission des assignats; the 1791 Du nouveau systême d’impôts établi par l’assemblée nationale de France, en 1791 and the 1801 Considerations théoriques sur les caisses d’amortissement de la dette publique. To indicate the importance and novelty of this selection, only the first and the last of these writings were mentioned in Hébert’s bibliography for his 1987 entry in the New Palgrave. In this way alone, Richard van den Berg’s book will facilitate the wider recognition of Isnard’s economic contributions, an opportunity for which all historians of economics will be grateful to him. Let me bring this foreword to a close by commenting briefly on two aspects of the splendid introduction Richard van den Berg provides in Part A. In its opening paragraph to section 2.1.1 (p. 24), van den Berg provides a list of ‘modern authorities’ cited by Isnard in his Traité. It includes d’Alembert, Bacon, Baudeau, Boisguilbert, Bolingbroke, Charron, Child, Culpeper, Decker, Dupré de Saint Maur, Euler, Forbonnais, Graslin, Helvétius, Holbach, l’Hôpital, Hume, Law, Leroy, Linguet, Locke, Melon, Montesquieu, Morellet, Morelly, Moulin, Necker, de Pinto, Plumart de Dangeul (‘Nicols’), Quesnay, Raynal, Robertson, Rousseau, Vauban, Voltaire and ‘Johan de Wit’. This is a very impressive list, if only because it covers both British and French writers, and most of the leading economic authorities from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The most striking omissions from the list are Cantillon and Turgot. Given the relative scarcity of Cantillon’s work (it had been published only once in 1755), van den Berg does not comment on this absence in much detail. However, the omission of Turgot he finds intriguing and in various notes he draws attention to similarities between Isnard’s argument and material to be found in Turgot’s economic writings. This is the second aspect from Part A on which I wish to comment. Van den Berg wisely limits the economics of Turgot from which Isnard could have benefited to two sources: Turgot’s Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth (1766) and his unfinished paper on ‘Value and Money’ (1769). By 1781, Isnard could have read the first in the version published by Du Pont in three instalments in the pages of the physiocratic journal, Ephémérides du Citoyen (1769–70). This did not mention Turgot by name as the author, hence explaining the lack of citation by author’s name, if the work had indeed been studied by Isnard. Some of the contents of Turgot’s ‘Value and Money’, a work not

published until 1808 in the collected works of Turgot edited by Du Pont, could have been made accessible to Isnard indirectly via Morellet’s use of it for his commercial dictionary. Hence it may be possible to add Turgot’s name to the list of Isnard’s earlymodern authorities with respect to these two works. My own impression from reading Isnard’s text is that the case is stronger for ‘Value and Money’ than for Reflections, not only in terms of the textual evidence but also from the difficulties I personally perceive for placing copies of Ephémérides in Isnard’s hands, given the lack of evidence on this in Part A. The reader may find this an additional interesting puzzle thrown up by this splendid edition of Isnard’s economics. Enough has been said to indicate that study of this book is very worthwhile and rewarding by enabling a more complete opening up of Isnard’s rich contributions to the economic literature of his time. That these have been insufficiently appreciated up till now has already been suggested in my remarks. The joys of making that discovery for themselves can be safely left to the many readers this book so richly deserves, and for the preparation of which Richard van den Berg deserves our hearty congratulations. Peter Groenewegen Professor Emeritus, Economics University of Sydney


I thank Sylvie Caucanas, Silvio Corsini, Arnoud Gerits, Catherine Masteau, Jean-Pierre Potier and Christophe Salvat for supplying me with various pieces of information, and Shelagh Eltis, Mario Damen and especially Jugdeep Dhesi and Fabien De Castilla for providing assistance in the preparation of the text. I also thank Robert Langham and Susan Leaper for their patience and professionalism.

Title page of the Traité des Richesses

Isnard’s signature (Reproduced with permission of the Library of the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées)

Introduction In December 1878 the Journal des économistes published a ‘bibliography of works relative to the application of mathematics to political economy’. The first item on this list was a two-volume work with the title Traité des richesses. Léon Walras (1834–1910), the founder of modern general equilibrium theory and compiler of the list, commented on this book: […] I have inserted at the head of the list the work of Isnard, published in 1781. In the early pages of this book ratios of values are correctly stated in algebraic symbols as equal to the inverse ratios of the quantities of commodities exchanged. The equation of exchange, though by no means fully or deeply considered by the author, remains nevertheless, the starting point of the scientific theory of social wealth. Despite its inadequacies, this equation is enough to effect, within certain limits, the transformation of theoretical political economy into a mathematical science. (Walras 1878:470; translation in Jaffé 1969:25) The inclusion of the Traité des richesses in this list, with the intriguing accompanying statement, marks the beginning of Isnard’s reputation as an early contributor to mathematical economics.1 Walras’ list and the ‘List of Mathematico-Economic Books’ published by Stanley Jevons shortly after in 18792 effectively saved Isnard from oblivion. For historians of economic thought with a specialist interest in the application of mathematics, it was henceforth not difficult to find out about the existence of the Traité3 Moreover, in due course a succession of books and articles emerged anthologising what were believed to be the most significant texts in mathematical economics before the 1870s. Short excerpts of the mathematical passages in the Traité on which Walras had commented were included in these collections, typically sandwiched between Beccaria’s analysis of smuggling and Canard’s economic algebra or Frisi’s attempt to apply differential calculus to Verri’s price function (Boven 1912; Moret 1915; Robertson 1949; Reichardt 1954; Theocharis 1961; Baumol and Goldfeld 1968). Preserved for posterity in this manner, Isnard’s contribution will have attracted a small amount of interest in the first half of the twentieth century, but mainly as a curiosity. It was not until Joseph A.Schumpeter’s discussion of Isnard in his magisterial History of Economic Analysis that something more significant began to be read into his contribution.4 In Schumpeter’s opinion Isnard had’ […] as yet to conquer the position in the history of economic theory that is due to him as a precursor of Léon Walras’ (Schumpeter 1954:217). While Schumpeter stopped short of claiming that Walras had actually been influenced by Isnard, the very association of the two names may be said to have raised the latter’s stock from curious early dabbler in economic algebra to minor visionary.5 It was to be raised yet further when some years later William Jaffé put forward a detailed case to prove that Isnard had been more than a precursor to Walras.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Isnard, he argued, should be recognised as a ‘progenitor of the Walrasian general equilibrium model’, having developed key notions that were adopted much later by the professor from Lausanne. Walras, as Jaffé (1969:42) put it, ‘[…] worked out the mathematical framework of his general equilibrium theory with Isnard’s Traité des richesses at his elbow […]’. This remarkable reassessment of the importance of Isnard’s mathematical contributions has since found its way into dictionaries and general histories of economic thought (see e.g. Hébert 1987; Ingrao and Israel 1990; Screpanti and Zamagni 1993). This, in a nutshell, is how the reputation of Achilles Nicolas Isnard, as it stands today, was established. A few curious aspects of the modern reception of his ideas should be mentioned. First, most commentators on Isnard’s contribution have shown precious little interest in anything written by the author apart from the short passages containing his algebra and numerical examples. Perhaps this is because there has been an over-reliance on the anthologies of early mathematical economics mentioned above, where the crucial passages of the Traité are readily available. Second, apart from a few exceptions,6 it is the association with Léon Walras that seems to have been the exclusive reason why the majority of commentators have taken any interest in Isnard’s contribution. As a result, the question of the historical significance of Isnard has become reduced to the limited issue of whether, and if so, to what extent, he can be considered a precursor to Walras. The question of how Isnard’s novel ideas relate to the wider intellectual context of economic theory during the French Enlightenment has been all but ignored. For these two reasons Isnard emerges as an extremely ‘flat character’ in general histories of economic thought. He briefly appears on the overcrowded stage without the audience knowing anything about his background or the context of his message. Upon delivering his short message, something of an early announcement of a much more important theorist to come, he once again retreats into obscurity. If one tries to trace Isnard in more specialist secondary literature, one finds that there is not much available. The only study of any length about his life and works is the no longer very useful PhD thesis of Louis Renevier (1909). The handful of modern articles that devote more than a few words to the engineer’s ideas focus exclusively on the short mathematical passages from the Traité des richesses (Jaffé 1969; Gilibert 1981; Perrot 1983; Klotz 1994; Kurz and Salvadori 2000; Steenge and van den Berg 2001). It is no exaggeration to say that beyond those passages Isnard’s writings have hardly ever been studied in any detail. As a result he has remained, as one commentator put it, ‘the least known of famous economists’ (Klotz 1994:29). The question why Isnard’s writings have never attracted more scholarly interest is not so easy to answer. It is true that there are practical difficulties involved with a comprehensive study of his writings (most of the engineer’s publications are very rare, no single library has a complete collection of his works), but this does not seem sufficient discouragement for determined researchers. Perhaps a more likely answer is that those students who have been attracted by Isnard’s mathematical contributions, did not find what they were looking for in the rest of his writings. At the same time, those who would have been interested in his economic thought more generally, may have avoided his writings believing him to be an author with a narrow interest in the area of mathematical economics.



An example of the first kind of student is Schumpeter. Apparently having read the Traité, he sounds quite disappointed with his finding that Isnard’s ‘[…] historic performance […] is embedded in a conventional argument against physiocrat doctrines and other neither very original nor very interesting matter’ (Schumpeter 1954:217 n.3). The words ‘historic performance’ refer to Isnard’s algebraic analysis of market equilibrium. One suspects that Schumpeter hoped to find more economic analysis of an explicit mathematical kind in the Traité. There is indeed not more than a scattering of this in Isnard’s first publication. The remark that the mathematics is ‘embedded in a conventional argument’ seems to reflect the opinion that the algebra ‘speaks for itself, rendering the specific economic debate in the context of which it was formulated of scant importance. Against this, it can be argued that by lifting the explicitly mathematical passages from the Traité and considering them in isolation one can come to a limited understanding only of what Isnard was trying to demonstrate. At most it allows one to form a judgement about his formal achievement in using a system of simultaneous equations to illustrate the notion of market equilibrium. An appreciation of this formal achievement in itself is of course by no means meaningless. However, as is argued in section 2.1 (p. 24), this differs from a further understanding of how the engineer’s mathematical analyses are part of a larger economic argument. The observation that Isnard has been ignored by those students who would have been interested in his wider economic thought is based on the fact that even in the very best studies about the state of economic theory during the French Enlightenment, Isnard’s name is either missing or merely mentioned in passing without elaboration of his ideas. To give a few examples, the engineer hardly features in what are the best studies on physiocracy. In the multi-volume works of Weulersse, he is mentioned briefly only once (Weulersse 1984:30) and in the studies of Meek (1962) and Vaggi (1987a) not at all. There is also no mention of Isnard in the recent wide-ranging and excellent collection of papers on eighteenth-century economics by Groenewegen (2002). The only two exceptions of authors who provide somewhat lengthier discussions of Isnard’s economic ideas in the context of eighteenth-century economic theory are Spengler (1942) and Perrot (1983).7 It was thought that the most effective way to contribute to a change in the current state of knowledge about Isnard’s economic thought would be to present the whole of Book I of the Traité together with a selection of further sections (see Part B). Before investing time in reading these excerpts, the reader may want to know what their significance is in the larger picture of the history of economic thought. The following brief indications should suffice. In the first place, the belated influence of Isnard on Léon Walras is of course fascinating. Jaffé’s case to prove that this influence was considerable has been deemed over-enthusiastic in a number of details by Klotz (1994), but remains in substance uncontested. What needs to be noted, however, is that there may be a great difference between what Walras found of use in the Traité for his own purposes of constructing a general equilibrium model on the one hand, and a reading that attempts to discover the ‘authentic’ views of the engineer on the other Second, Isnard’s writings offer interesting new perspectives on the analytical weaknesses, but also the rich potential of physiocratic economics. As will be argued in section 2.1 (pp. 24–51), a more historical understanding of the economic theory of the

At the origins of mathematical economics


Traité can be gained by comparing it to the ideas of François Quesnay (1694–1774). Isnard was one of the most perceptive contemporary commentators on Quesnay’s economic thought. In part his ideas are an incisive critique of the physiocratic conceptions of productivity and distribution. At the same time however, the engineer retains the doctor’s fundamental conception of the economy as a single reproductive system capable of producing a social surplus. What he adds to the physiocratic system is chiefly a way of incorporating the role of relative prices in the process of reproduction and a keen awareness of the relation between the theories of value and distribution. Third, for this same reason Isnard’s contributions are also significant in the context of the history of classical political economy more generally. Quesnay’s role as a major figure in the formation of the classical tradition of economic theory is widely recognised (see e.g. Garagnani 1984; Blaug 1987:439; Vaggi 1987b: 875). If we consider the central problematic of the classical approach to be the production of a social surplus and its distribution then Isnard’s theory qualifies as a post-Quesnay variant within this tradition. As such he belongs to the generation of Adam Smith. The wellknown notion of Smith that the ‘annual produce’ of an economy ‘divides itself into two parts’, one ‘destined for the replacing of capital’ and the other for the payment of profit and rent equally derived from Quesnay’s analysis (Smith 1776, II: iii; see Groenewegen 1987:213). Interesting comparisons may be made between elements of Isnard’s theory and that of the immeasurably more famous Scotsman.8 For example, while both men reject Quesnay’s opinion that only agricultural labour is ‘productive’ and that rent is the only surplus income, Isnard’s alternative conception of the social surplus as a heterogeneous physical magnitude (‘masse réelle’) is quite different and indeed simpler than Smith’s.9 On the other hand, Smith’s conceptualisation of the income shares of ‘wages’, ‘profits’ and ‘rents’ is superior to that of the engineer (see p. 36). But what makes Isnard’s approach to the phenomena of reproduction, value and distribution most distinctively different is his avoidance of the hypothesis of a single determinant of value. Under the influence of Ricardo, the labour theory of value, intimated by Smith, came to play a central role in British classical political economy. Isnard’s writings, on the other hand, offer a glimpse of how the ‘surplus approach’ to value and distribution might have developed after Quesnay, without recourse to the labour theory of value. ‘Might have’, because the engineer’s influence on authors of the classical period was next to zero (see Chapter 3). In addition to the excerpts from the Traité a small selection from Isnard’s later writings is presented here too. While his reputation as an economic theorist is based almost exclusively on the content of three or four pages from his first book, the engineer continued to publish over a tumultuous twenty-year period a total of eleven further works. Most of these are pamphlets, but there is also a full-size book and a four-volume work. Altogether his published works add up to well over 3,000 octavo pages. At the same time, the secondary literature on Isnard’s writings other than the Traité is to the best of my knowledge almost non-existent.10 Not even a complete listing of his various publications has ever been made (I hope to have remedied this in the Appendix). It would go much too far to say that all of this material is of prime importance. Without wanting to discourage anybody from preparing a collected works, it may be noted that quite a lot of it does not even make remotely stimulating reading. Why then is it worth looking further than the Traité des richesses? First, Isnard revisits a number of



his fundamental economic ideas in later texts, giving different formulations to them in response to authors not featuring in the Traité. For example, in the pamphlet Réponses of March 1789 and the article Du nouveau systême d’impôts of July 1791 aspects of his economic theory are compared not only to the ideas of the physiocrats, but also to those of Condorcet and Adam Smith. Second, the principal objective of these texts is to contribute to the debate of the early revolutionary years about the reform of the French tax system. As such they give a flavour of how ideas that must have seemed academic in the early 1780s, quite suddenly acquired a new urgency a decade later in the context of the possibility of real, sweeping reform in economic policy. Another example of this is the article Reflexions sur remission des assignats (1790), in which Isnard applies his ideas on money to judge the wisdom of the notorious monetary experiment of the Revolution. Even if Isnard’s ideas had negligible influence on the actual reforms that took place in these years, it is interesting to read his responses to the momentous institutional changes in France during the Revolution. Third, beyond the Traité there are to be found texts that do not deal with political economy per se, but which provide important additions to his social theory. Here the main work is the surprising Cathéchisme social (1784). If the Traité des richesses is Isnard’s Wealth of Nations then the Cathéchisme social is his Theory of Moral Sentiments. Though both books of the engineer are far less accomplished than the respective works of Adam Smith, he emerges from the excerpts presented here as a much more all-round social theorist than he has ever been given credit for. A short outline of the ways in which the ideas of the Cathéchisme complement the economics of the Traité is given in section 2.2. Finally, Isnard’s last publication Considerations theoriques has been included in full. It is an exercise in financial mathematics, which addresses the question, hotly debated at the time in France and Britain, of the beneficial effect of sinking funds for the reduction of state debt. The texts and translations are preceded by a somewhat lengthy introduction to Isnard’s writings, intended to provide the reader with the necessary background. Chapter 1 is a biography of Isnard. Chapter 2, as already indicated, attempts to show how his mathematical analyses of exchange and production form part of his wider social and economic theories. Chapter 3 is a short review of the curious history of the reception of Isnard’s work. Neither the introduction to the texts nor the selection of texts itself pretends to provide a full coverage of the material available. Rather, it is hoped that by making part of Isnard’s writings more accessible further study and a fuller appreciation is encouraged of the ideas of an author who, as one of his contemporaries put it, ‘[…] is often not noted amongst so many others who make much more noise’ (see Chapter 1, note 64).

Part A The economics of A.N.Isnard

An introduction

1 Life and career of Achilles Nicolas Isnard (1748–1803) Considering that Isnard never achieved fame, influence or high office, the detail that can still be salvaged about the man’s life and career two centuries after his death comes as a pleasant surprise. It is remarkable that until relatively recently hardly any biographical details were known about the engineer-economist. As Jaffé (1969:22) notes, ‘even the most canny of historical sleuths, Joseph Schumpeter’ had been unable to turn up even the simples vital data about Isnard. Jaffé states this with a certain glee, because he had come across the forgotten doctoral thesis of Louis Renevier (1909). This work contains what remains to the present day the only detailed biography of Isnard based on primary sources. Jaffé‘s short sketch of Isnard’s life (Jaffé 1969:22–4) is entirely based on Renevier, as are subsequent accounts (Hébert 1987; Klotz 1994:30–2). This is unfortunate because Renevier’s biography (1909:5–23), though relating many interesting details, is in a number of places imprecise, or plainly incorrect. What is more, Renevier relies entirely on a single source, the surviving correspondence between Isnard and his superiors in the corps of Pont et Chaussées presently in the Archives Rationales in Paris.1 What is related in this correspondence can be verified and supplemented by documents in two other archives, those of the École Rationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Marnela-Vallée and in the Archives Départementales du Rhône in Lyon. Since these sources appear to have escaped attention so far, it is judged useful to provide here, nearly one century after Renevier and two centuries after the engineer’s demise, a new and more critical sketch of the life and career of Achilles Nicolas Isnard.2 Unfortunately, the first biographical data one would want to know, Isnard’s date and place of birth, are uncertain. No birth certificate or similar document has been found, and therefore one has to rely on indirect evidence. Renevier (1909:5) states that our man was born in Paris in 1749 Very probably on 25 February’. No justification for the day and month are given and the fact that they are the same as the date on which Isnard died is curious to say the least. Moreover, Renevier seems to arrive at the year 1749 simply by subtracting the age at death, 54, from the year of death 1803.3 Of course, deduced in this manner Isnard’s birth date could be any time between 26 February 1748 and 25 February 1749. A separate piece of information suggests 1748 as Isnard’s most likely birth year: in the student register of the École royale des Ponts et Chaussées we read’ [o]n 9 December [1767] Mr. Achilles Nicolas Isnard, age 19, has entered the school of ponts et chaussées’.4 In combination with the first clue this limits the period during which Isnard might have been born to sometime between 26 February and 9 December 1748.5 The year of birth 1748 is confirmed on a fiche at the archives of Ponts et Chaussées but this source surprisingly also gives Carcassonne as Isnard’s birthplace.6 However, an unsuccessful attempt to confirm the latter claim,7 together with a clear statement in the death notice that Isnard was ‘a native of Paris’, seems to decide in favour of the French capital.

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


Thus the best available evidence suggests that Isnard was born in Paris in 1748. Not much is known about his family background. I have not been able to trace the first names of either parent. However, a telling piece of information about Isnard’s father is that at the end of the 1760s he was ‘intendant of the duke de Chevreuse’.8 Marie-Charles-Louis d’Albert de Luynes, due de Chevreuse (1717–71) was made a governor of Paris by the king in 1757 after an illustrious military career. The function of intendant, or ‘general manager’, to such a high official is likely to have required academic qualifications and suggests at least sufficient wealth and social rank to obtain the necessary training. From this it may be conjectured that the Isnards were a relatively well-off bourgeois family. This social background is also consistent with the career of Achilles’ only known sibling, Jean Louis, who entered the legal profession, first as a lawyer and eventually became a judge. Achilles received all his education at Paris. For some years he studied mathematics, map drawing and fortification.9 It is likely that he also gained some initial practical experience as the apprentice of an engineer, as was a common practice for pupils prior to entry to the royal school of civil engineering (Petot 1958:149). When he was officially admitted to the school on 9 December 1767 he entered an institution that in recent years had started to acquire a Europe-wide reputation for its high levels of technical education (Petot 1958:144). Ponts et Chaussées, out of which grew the first of the prestigious grandes écoles, had for two decades been the principal instrument used by the French government to raise the level of civil engineering.10 The gradual introduction of an exacting curriculum, strict discipline and hierarchy, and a distinct esprit de corps was to a large measure the work of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet (1708–94), the paternalistic director of the school from its foundation in 1747 until his death. The organisation of the school was designed to favour the brightest and most hardworking students. There were three classes of between twenty to thirty students each, and every three months a ranking was made of all students on the basis of their merits. Progression up the ranking, and promotion from one class to the next, depended on the achievement of prizes in the regular essay competitions, practical experience gained during summers at engineering projects and satisfactory completion of optional courses. Only the students who had climbed to the highest places in the top class could hope to obtain an appointment as assistant engineer somewhere in the kingdom whenever a place in the service became available. There was no official limit to the length of stay at the school: around the time Isnard left the average was between seven and eight years, with a minimum stay of three and a maximum of twelve years (Petot 1958:152). That was the case for the students who actually graduated; most never made up the distinctly greasy pole: of the 387 students admitted between 1769 and 1788, nearly two-thirds, left without obtaining the much desired grade of assistant engineer. Within this competitive intellectual environment Isnard soon flourished. His academic progress can still be followed exactly in the quarterly États des Talens des Élèves du Bureau des Ponts & Chaussées.11 Starting in the second quarter of 1768 we find him as student number eighteen (out of thirty) in class three, studying besides compulsory subjects like geometry, map design, and architecture, the optional course in ‘application of algebra to geometry and mechanics’. After about a year, having spent the summer and autumn of 1769 at engineering projects in the generality of Tours, Isnard started making steady progress through the ranks. In the second quarter of 1770 he entered the second

At the origins of mathematical economics


class and won a prize in the architecture competition. Later that year he was awarded a pension by the king for private study of architecture at the institute of Blondel, a special privilege reserved to four students at a time (Dartein 1906:53).12 When he returned to the main school, in the second quarter of 1772, he entered the first class where he was ranked eigtheenth (out of twenty-four). Soon after winning the first prize in that year’s architecture competition, his request to be employed at engineering works at a sea port was granted and he spent the summer and autumn working on the improvements of the port of Les Sables-d’Olonne on France’s central Atlantic coast. It seems to be the beginning of a career-long preference to work at the prestigious hydrological projects of Ponts et Chaussées, expressed many times in his letters of later years. A highly motivated Isnard returned to Paris in December 1772. In the following year he became one of the top-ranking students of the school. For these pupils it was not uncommon to teach fellow students. In the report of the first quarter of 1773 we read that Isnard has taken over the algebra classes from the absent professor Boncefin.13 While continuing teaching these classes in the second quarter, it is also noted that he teaches geometry, and at the end of the year it is further added that Isnard ‘teaches the class in differential and integral calculus’.14 From the fact that he was entrusted with the teaching of these various classes at the foremost technical school in France, we may safely conclude that he was by this time proficient in several branches of mathematics. Also from this period dates the first evidence of an acquaintance with the physiocrats. In the Traité des richesses (1781, I: xii) Isnard states that from his ‘earliest youth’ he had been interested in ‘politics, trade, and finance’ and for a young Frenchman with such interests it would have been hard to avoid the ideas of François Quesnay and his followers. By the second half of the 1760s this group of writers, known at the time as the Économistes, had organised themselves into an influential ‘school’ professing a single set of economic and social doctrines, which they promulgated in their own journals and debating clubs.15 One of the most active members was Pierre Samuel Dupont (1739– 1817), from 1768 editor of the Ephémérides du citoyen. It was with this prominent physiocrat that the young Isnard established friendly relations in the early 1770s. This can be inferred from a single letter, from Dupont to Isnard of 28 December 1773, which survives from what appears to have been a larger correspondence.16 In the letter Dupont discusses the principles of differential calculus in a manner that Isnard, who at the time was teaching this subject, would surely have recognised as rather inept.17 Perhaps it can be inferred from this contact that Isnard for some time associated himself with the circle of the Économistes. If so, he soon fell out with them. This may be read into Isnard’s, admittedly cryptic, remark that his early attempts at economic theorising were frustrated ‘[…] because I could not accept the obscure ideas communicated to me by the organ of the favoured [i.e., the physiocrats?] in exchange for the favours to which I aspired’. Therefore, he continues, ‘I gave up pretending with the aid of grace, and I decided to study’ (Isnard 1781, I: xii). Judging by Isnard’s detailed knowledge of the physiocratic literature, Quesnay’s social and economic theories provided the main incentive for this study. In the meantime Isnard’s quick progress up the student ranking at Ponts et Chaussées seemed to justify an imminent graduation. When in the third quarter of 1773, the ranking procedure was formalised by means of a point system, Isnard was given 131.5 points, the

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


highest score of all students.18 Nevertheless, for reasons that are not entirely clear, he was made to wait until the beginning of 1775.19 Finally however, on the 1st of April of that year he was appointed assistant engineer in the generality of Besançon, with a residence at Arbois, a small provincial town near the Swiss border.20 Isnard was to stay at his first posting for ten years. The position of assistant engineer brought with it a steady income. According to common practice, after two years his annual salary was raised, from 1,200 to 1,500 francs.21 Financial security is likely to have influenced the serious young man’s decision to start a family at around this time. There can be little doubt that during his period at Arbois Isnard met his wife Catherine Françoise Pecauld22 and that not long after marrying they had their first child, FelixJeanne Cornelie.23 Settling into a tranquil family life as a devoted husband and father, Isnard must have found plenty of time and solitude to bring to fruition the comprehensive social theories of his two main works. The first of these, the two-volume Traité des richesses was published at the beginning of 1781 by François Grasset in Lausanne, Switzerland.24 The proximity of Arbois to Lausanne, the principal printing centre in the region, seems to be one reason why Isnard chose to have his work published across the border. The other reason was surely prudence: in the work Isnard severely criticised the then contrôleur-général, Jacques Necker (1732–1804).25 It would have been extremely unlikely for such a book to receive the required official, or even tacit, permission to be published in France. More than a century later Stanley Jevons would point out the historical coincidence that Walras would become rector of the Academy of Lausanne, a town ‘[…] already distinguished by the early work of Isnard’.26 François Grasset, a rather business-minded publisher,27 cannot be blamed for not having seen things quite that way. He appears not to have been very keen on publishing the lengthy and involved economic reflections of a provincial assistant engineer. It was probably for this reason that Isnard paid for the printing costs of the Traité himself.28 By publishing a book with outspoken political views Isnard did not only defy the censor but also disobeyed the official guideline that engineers in the king’s service should obtain special permission to express such views in print (Etner 1987:48). Isnard did not request this permission and may have hoped to be protected by the fact that the book was published anonymously. However, not long after the publication of the Traité he was revealed as the author resulting in a reprimanding letter from Perronet.29 It was neither the first nor the last time for the young engineer to be slapped on the wrist. In fact, in this period the young man started to develop problems with the unquestioning obedience demanded of engineers. A revealing episode occurred on 22 May 1781 when Isnard failed to report corvoyeurs who staged a walk out at the works he was overseeing. One suspects he sympathised with the men’s protest since he considered the corvee as an unjust and oppressing institution.30 When the men returned to the works after three days, Isnard decided that it was ‘inutile d’en faire une affaire’. Word got out, however, to his superior Philippe Bertrand that there had been ‘quite a scene’ (un esclandre considerable) at Isnard’s works. A full report was demanded, which Isnard duly supplied by the 19th of June. On the basis of this Bertrand decided that Isnard could not be blamed for the disturbance and in a letter to Perronet he took the responsibility for any shortcomings in the actions of his subordinate.31 The next year however Bertrand expressed his dissatisfaction with Isnard, complaining to the head of Ponts et Chaussées about his

At the origins of mathematical economics


subordinate’s slowness in drawing up a plan for a cascading aqueduct.32 Again Isnard received a reprimand this time telling him to be ‘more vigilant in the future’.33 The perceived neglect of his duties may well have had something to do with his continuing writing activities. Around this time Isnard was setting out his moral philosophy in the Cathéchisme social, which was ready for press in 1783. For this second theoretical work, which refrains from discussing any political or economic reforms, Isnard sought and obtained official permission from the censor,34 and the work was published by Guillot in Paris in March 1784.35 The somewhat placid theory of sociability presented in the Cathéchisme contrasted with real life in which Isnard’s relations with his superior Bertrand deteriorated rapidly up to the point where he believed he could no longer endure working for him. In the summer of 1785 things came to a head when both men complained about each other to the administration, Isnard stating that ‘his boss had in his mind lost any title to [his] subordination’.36 Insubordination was possibly the worst behaviour the disciplinarian administrators of Ponts et Chaussées could think of and it took Isnard’s devoted and more diplomatic brother Jean Louis to intercede on his behalf. His letter provides us with a revealing description of the engineer. Admittedly, he wrote to the administration, his brother Achilles, ‘[…] has a quicktempered character although he appears cool; he does not communicate well; he neither flatters nor does he show his preparedness’. However, he wished it to be noted that the negative reports the administration had received about his brother were ‘inexact and unjust’: ‘[…] he loves and fulfils his duties; he is a spirited man with solid knowledge and judgements which are always the result of reflection’. And, most important, ‘he renders his superiors all he owes them’.37 One feels that this vivid description offers a wider explanation for Isnard’s extremely slow career path and of his almost complete lack of recognition as a writer. Trusting his own considered opinions above authority and received opinion made him appear aloof and stubborn. In addition, lacking the social skills for self-promotion he ended up being frequently ignored. Jean Louis’ request for a transfer was successful though. At the end of August 1785 Isnard was notified that he was to move to the generality of Rouen with an unchanged salary of 1,500 francs.38 For the next six years his residence was at Evreux. Here, besides being employed in the improvement of internal waterways,39 he turned his attention to a number of original plans and experiments. The most interesting perhaps was the series of tests carried out on the mornings of 13 April, 3 May and 13 May 1786 during which a charge of gunpowder submerged in the river was successfully detonated with the aid of electricity. Probably using an early charge-accumulating machine, which took twelve to fifteen minutes to charge, Isnard caused a heavy explosion that threw up ‘a column of water of about six feet’ and, according to spectators, ‘made the earth tremble’.40 If true, this account relates one of the earliest practical applications of electricity, one that Isnard hoped would allow the ‘removal of rock under water at great depth’.41 In the same year the inventive engineer wrote a plan devising equipment for underwater drilling and a proposal for the construction of a new ‘machine de Marly’, the machine supplying water to Versailles. In the subsequent years followed a dissertation on lift-locks and on the theory of tidal fluctuations, memoranda on the calculation of the resistance of vaults and of wood, observations on rock-falls in mountains and a memorandum on hydraulic theory. Finally, in 1787 and 1789, Isnard propagated a plan to

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


construct a canal between Rouen and Paris connecting the rivers Seine, Eure, Vesgre, Yvette and Bievre. If all this activity was meant to impress his new superior Lamandé and people higher up in the king’s service, Isnard must have grown increasingly disappointed; until the beginning of the Revolution he kept the lowest rank of assistant engineer. Isnard’s next writing on political economy was a Plan d’une Banque nationale de France, published anonymously and without official or tacit permission ‘in Jersey’ in 1787. He must have completed this pamphlet shortly after the Cathéchisme social while still at Arbois, because he relates that he had first submitted it to the censor in 1784 (Isnard 1787:3).42 The beginning of the Revolution was greeted by Isnard with a volley of publications. Although unlimited freedom of press was established in France only after 5 May 1789, in fact already from 5 July 1788 it was allowed to ‘personnes instruites’ to present their ideas to the Estates-General (Bellanger et al. 1969:423–4). Isnard took immediate advantage of this new freedom to express his views in no less than six pamphlets published between the end of 1788 and October 1789 (see Appendix). Three of these, Cannevas des Deliberations, Canevas des Doléances and Cahier des Deliberations contain detailed lists of the political and economic reforms Isnard deemed necessary to sweep away many of the priviliges and expedients of the Ancien Regime and restore private prosperity, legal clarity and fiscal security to France. A fourth pamphlet, Réponses aux principales objections, is from an economic theoretical point of view the most interesting one. It is a detailed defence of Isnard’s alternative to the physiocrats’ proposal for a single tax on land rent, which develops his views on this point in the Traité. Apart from the discussion of the practical difficulties he foresees with the introducion of his single tax, the work is interesting especially for the contrasts Isnard highlights between his economic theory and those of Condorcet and, to a lesser extent, Adam Smith. The fifth and sixth pamphlets discuss the principles of the political organisation of society and the proper powers of the sovereign. It is interesting to see Isnard’s attitude towards the general direction of events during the first year of the Revolution change rapidly from cautious optimism to severe scepticism. Initially he welcomed the convocation of the Estates-General, proudly noting that he had in his Traité (1781, II: 241) already called for this measure (see Isnard 1788:3; 1789d: 54). He even states that with the repeal of this representative body, liberty has been restored to France (see Isnard 1789e: 70). However, the proper role he, like most of his contemporaries, had in mind for the Estates-General was limited: subordinate executive, advisory and restraining powers. When during the summer of 1789 this body swiftly usurped far-ranging legislative powers and made moves to organise itself into an undivided chamber of representatives, Isnard’s enthusiasm for the Revolution cooled fast. By October he published his analysis of what was going wrong: though it was right to reject the age-old principle that ‘the law depends on the will of the Prince’, the current political actors wanted to replace it with the maxim that ‘the law is the expression of the general will’. This, according to Isnard, was equivalent to rejecting ‘the yoke of one arbitrary power in order to take up the yoke of another arbitrary power’ (Isnard 1789e: 22). The principal instigator of this movement was Jean-Jacques Rousseau whose Contrat Social had as its sole objective ‘[…] to destroy any sovereignty but that of the people, any legislation but the legislation of the people, any order but the executive order of the

At the origins of mathematical economics


will of the people’ (ibid.: 18). This, according to Isnard, was dangerous since ‘the will of the people’ could be an extremely destructive force if it was not guided by a reasonable understanding of the ‘necessary’ principles of social order and prosperity (see section 2.2.1, pp. 52–6). It is this basic perspective that motivated the pieces in Isnard’s periodical Les devoirs de la seconde legislature whose approximately weekly issues were published between 31 July 1790 and 23 July 1791. Rather than being a journal in the customary sense Les devoirs was one of the ‘serial pamphlets’ appearing at the time, written and edited by a single person. In a total of approximately 1,650 pages Isnard covered the whole spectrum of debate of the early Revolution, from constitutional and fiscal issues to the decline in public morals and Burke’s attack on the turn of political events. However, Isnard’s colossal attempt seems to have gone almost completely unnoticed among the enormous wave of over 500 other periodicals that were printed in France in the same period, and certainly did not have anything like the influence as that of famous fellow journalists such as Marat or Hébert (see Bellanger et al. 1969:434–40). For once in his life, however, this lack of success was probably a fortunate thing because as the year wore on and the mood grew more antiroyalist, Isnard rose to the defence of the king in an increasingly fervent manner. In his eyes not only did the king symbolise stability and continuity, but Louis XVI also seemed prepared to accept constitutional constraints on his power. As such he appeared the best hope for a political and social system based on natural laws. Of course desemination of royalist propaganda would soon become a perilous activity, but the fact that Isnard halted his publication in the summer of 1791, and its obscurity before that, possibly saved his skin. Prudently, he would refrain from expressing any political views in print until the turn of the century. That is not to say that Isnard’s political stand remained without any repercussions. Soon the reforming zeal of the Revolution was directed to the organisation of Ponts et Chaussées. The short-lived arrangement to devolve decision-making to local directoires promised engineers a wider scope for advancement but it also politicised promotions. When at the beginning of 1791 a higher position opened up in his department, Isnard was once again ignored despite being the most senior candidate. Bitterly he blamed the fact that ‘[…] allegedly my opinions on subjects that are alien to the service of ponts et chaussées do not accord with the opinions of the directoire’.43 In a word, Isnard claimed to be the victim of political stigmatisation. His first angry reaction to this was to threaten to resign unless he was offered a position at one of the prestigious grands travaux.44 Next he tried the more expedient route of enlisting the support of Jean Ogé, a deputy at the Estates-General and again his brother, Jean Louis.45 By the end of the summer this pressure had the desired effect when Isnard was transferred to the works at the port of Le Havre. Here Isnard finally got to work at a great hydraulic project that challenged his technical abilities. For two years he worked, first, on the foundations of the sluices of the la barre basin, having been put in charge of the construction schedules and estimates, and next made all calculations for the building of a great lift-lock.46 Despite these responsibilities he still had not been given the position of chief engineer, but he hoped that his long service and experience would soon bring this promotion. When this promotion was finally made in December 1793, it came as a great disappointment: Isnard was named chief engineer at Carcassonne, in l’Aude a department near the Spanish border with few prestigous engineering projects. This promotion he

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


considered ‘[…] sooner a fall from favour and the harshest treatment than a boon’.47 He begged to be sent to Amiens, to Bourg, to the departments of Calvados or Seine, anywhere but the ‘internal exile’ at the other side of France. The various pleading letters the unfortunate engineer sent to the authorities allow us to glean a few interesting personal details. By now he had four children,48 apart from the daughter already mentioned, there was a son, Alexandre-Bernard born in 1790, another daughter SophieTherese-Menaud and a child whose name and gender is unknown. Intriguingly, Isnard also mentions his large library, with an estimated weight of 2,000 pounds, besides a further 2,500 pounds of movable property.49 Isnard’s argument that travelling the length of France with a family and a large amount of possessions was too costly and hazardous in such troubled times, resulted in the unhappy compromise that Isnard would for the time being move to Carcassonne leaving his family and possessions behind in Le Havre. It was the start of the most miserable period in Isnard’s life. Arriving in Carcassonne on 1 ventôse year 2 (19 February 1794) he started an inspection of the infrastructure in his department, not finding much interesting work to do.50 ‘Separated from his family by 250 leagues’ he was ‘tormented by worries’ for his wife who had to look after their children alone in a time of ‘general terror and fears of food shortage’. Things took a turn for the worse when after only a few months news arrived that his beloved Catherine had fallen ill. He immediately left his post and rushed back to Le Havre where he found his wife on her deathbed. Fifteen days after his arrival she succumbed to ‘her sorrows, her worries, her labours and the malady from which she suffered’.51 The likely cause of death was tuberculosis, a disease that had begun to affect the engineer’s chest too shortly after the birth of his son. Isnard was left heartbroken and with the responsibility for his four young children. Paying little heed to his plight, his superiors at Ponts et Chaussées demanded that he promptly return to Carcassonne. The order could not have been given at a worse time: the winter of 1794–5 was one of the most perilous of early-modern France. Though the Terror had just been ended by the thermidorean reaction, the bad harvests of 1794, hyperinflation and extremely cold weather brought the country close to economic collapse (see Crouzet 1993:360–6). At the beginning of December 1794 Isnard brought his children to Paris, claiming to be en route to Carcassonne, but in effect trying to buy time by submitting estimates for the costs of relocation and making repeated requests for alternative posts. On 11 March 1795, after three months of procrastinations, the patience of his superiors ran out. He was called before the assembly of Ponts et Chaussées and given the choice to go to Carcassonne immediately or to resign from the service.52 He chose the latter on the economic grounds that […] it would be irresponsible for a father to take his family two hundred leagues from Paris for a salary as modest [as 4,000 livres a year] in a country where bread is sold at thirty sous per pound, where a pair of shoes costs fifty livres, and where other prices are relative to those.53 Thus after nearly twenty years as engineer in the employ of the state Isnard felt compelled to resign. His situation became ever more desperate. Almost immediately he fell into a ‘fierce fever’ that detained him to a room for a month. Soon there was scarcely enough money for the family to subsist, prompting him to beg the committee of public

At the origins of mathematical economics


works for another job.54 This was blankly refused. There was no alternative but to stay in Paris trying to eke out an existence as a self-employed trader and technician. He rented a property at no. 148 rue St Jacques where for the next few years ‘he lived quietly with his three children, whom he brought up himself, working on mechanical devices in order to earn something’.55 (Note that this information reveals a small tragedy: in this period one of the children died.56) It seems that Isnard was not an unsuccessful businessman. By the end of 1797 he had ‘put order to the patrimony of [his] children’ and once again asked for a position of chief engineer. With renewed self confidence he added that this time he would only be interested if the post was near Paris so that he might combine it with his private business and in the mean time he would like the post of professor of hydraulic architecture to which he believed he was suited.57 The response was acerbic: had Isnard not refused his appointment in year 3? Other engineers had remained in their post in difficult times and they should first be considered for advancement. What was more, Isnard should know that it was not permitted to chief engineers to conduct a private business on the side, and the post of professor was not vacant either.58 Undeterred by being treated as a renegade by his colleagues at Ponts et Chaussées and probably encouraged by the less volatile political situation in the country Isnard wrote a pamphlet about the latest reorganisation of the service, his first publication since 1791.59 Several of his colleagues issued vitriolic replies directed as much against his opinions as against his character.60 One dismissed him as ‘a disciple of the sect of the Economists’. Another colleague made him out to be a know-all, remarking sarcastically: [N]ot all engineers are like you, they do not all have your universal abilities, their talents being limited to the ruler and the compass. But yours, as everybody knows, extend to all intellectual subjects, from the elements of natural philosophy to the most nimble science of politics […].61 Thus Isnard’s renewed appetite for pronouncing his views publicly did not appear to further his attempts to be readmitted to the service. When this readmission occurred nevertheless it came about through a rather curious intervention by no one less than Napoléon Bonaparte. In the spring of 1798 the young general was secretly preparing his audacious Egyptian expedition. On 6 germinal year 6 (26 March 1798) he ordered the interior minister to ready a group of scientists for him; astronomers, surveyors, naturalists, a mineralogist, a chemist, an antiquarian. In addition, he included a list of engineers who ‘should keep themselves ready to depart for Flushing at the first order’. On top of Bonaparte’s list was Isnard’s name.62 Two days later the engineer was informed and after another week the interior minister gave him the order to leave at once for Flushing. Promptly Isnard left his children in a boarding house, with his brother to look after them, and ten days later, on 15 April 1798, he arrived in the Dutch town, not knowing anything about his mission beyond the assurance that it would involve a travail extraordinaire. However, also unbeknown to Isnard, the other engineers received the changed order to go to Lyon and thence travelled to Toulon, the Mediterranean port where Bonaparte’s main fleet would depart (see Tarbé de Saint-Hardouin 1885). Whether through error or

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


design Isnard’s order was not changed and he was left stranded on the North Sea coast, probably still believing that he would take part in an invasion of Britain. At the beginning of August, while the battle of the Nile was being fought in Egypt, Isnard was still awaiting orders in Zeeland. He was left in a bureaucratic limbo with the interior ministry, in charge of engineers, the navy ministry, responsible for the expedition and the ministry of war all refusing to pay him or give him alternative orders.63 For nine months all he could do was study the dike construction at Walcheren and bide his time. Once again his devoted brother, Jean Louis, and an influential politician, this time JeanBaptiste Brostaret, secretary of the conseil des anciens, had to intercede on his behalf.64 Finally, in January 1799 after an order from the executive directory broke the stalemate between the ministries,65 Isnard was told that his mission had come to an end and he was recalled to Paris. All he had achieved in nine months was readmission to the corps of Ponts et Chaussées. Soon a chief engineer’s post was found for him at Ghent, in the annexed Belgium territories, where he was put in charge of the engineering works in the departments of the L’Escaut, la Lys and Jemappes (the western half of modern-day Belgium). On 6 germinal year 7 (26 March 1799) Isnard arrived at his new post enjoying an annual salary of 4,000 francs.66 However, this appointment would not last long because quite unexpectedly by the end of the year he was elected to the Tribunat.67 The reasons for Isnard’s election are unclear. The first time the 100 members of this new body were chosen by the senate there were few restrictions on whom the senators could choose. Unlike Isnard, the great majority of tribuns were veterans of earlier revolutionary assemblies, though a number of intellectuals and men of letters were elected too (Halperin 1999:1656).68 Although there is little evidence that his writings were widely known, it has been suggested that Isnard’s ‘notability’ was due to his earlier economic and political publications (Hoefer 1852; cf. Meyer 1989:215). In any case, unexpectedly the engineer was cast in the public role of tribun, a function that brought with it a generous annual salary of 15,000 francs. According to the Consular constitution of year 8, promulgated after Bonaparte’s coup of 18 brumaire, the main function of the Tribunat was to discuss and form opinions about proposed government legislation. Even though from its inception it had only limited advisory powers and could not initiate any laws, soon the Tribunat was considered a forum for political opposition, not least by the First Consul himself. Quickly Isnard became part of this perceived opposition. The first time he addressed the Tribunat, on 13 ventôse year 8 (4 March 1800),69 he welcomed the responsibility of contributing to ‘the laws of the liberal era we are entering’. In keeping with his convictions of the early 1780s, he argued that all laws should be cast in the mould of the natural principles of society, since ‘[…] positive laws will be loved when they conform to the principles and laws of natural justice’.70 Consequently, he immediately opposed the proposal for a law that would levy a financial contribution from people who could not fulfil military service due to a physical handicap on the basis that this was ‘contrary to the principles of natural equity’.71 Apart from testing proposed legislation against the principles of natural justice, Isnard also saw a role for the Tribunat in safeguarding the nation from a new absolutist regime. In an address to the Corps législatif on 23 March 1800 he declared: At the present moment the confidence in the government is without a doubt extreme; but can the legislative council resign the power delegated

At the origins of mathematical economics


to it by the constitution in favour of the government? […] Wherever it is necessary to pose limits in order to stop the government from becoming absolute, it is our duty to place them or to indicate them: our conduct towards the government should be guided by this rule limitations always, chains never. (Isnard report no. 5:5–6)72 Motivated by this antipathy to emerging new forms of absolutist rule, Isnard became a frequent speaker on fiscal matters (he argued for a transparent budget, checked by an audit office whose deliberations were made public), on the financing of road building (his position was that all who benefited from roads should contribute to their costs), and on the new criminal tribunals (he opposed the harsh treatment of vagabonds on the grounds that it would violate their personal rights). These views would seem to place him in the liberal political camp and recently it has indeed been argued that Isnard belonged to the faction of the Ideologues (Boudon 2000:117). Whether he became a frequent visitor to the salons of Mme Condorcet, Mme Helvétius or Germaine de Staël, where the various strands of ‘liberal opposition’ met, is not clear (see ibid. 92–7). However, it is reasonable to assume that he was at least acquainted with fellow tribuns such as Benjamin Constant, Marie-Joseph Chénier, Daunou, and Ginguené. A person he certainly knew was JeanBaptiste Say. This is clear from a report about the proposed construction of three new bridges over the Seine written by a small commission of which both Isnard and Say were part.73 It is of course fascinating to speculate whether the young Say, who at this time will have been contemplating his famous Traité d‘économie politique (1803), discussed political economy with his fellow tribun and perhaps even adopted some of his ideas (see Chapter 3). What is certain however is that the ageing engineer himself had one more contribution to economic theory left in him. In 1801 he published his Considerations théoriques sur les caisses d’amortissement de la dette publique. From a mathematical point of view it is his most accomplished work, developing the calculation of annuities and applying it to an evaluation of the various ways of financing the state debt. Though ostensibly Isnard’s motivation to write the work was analytical (he explains that he wanted to improve upon calculations presented by Roederer in 1800 (Isnard 1801:16 n.)), a clear political cause can be recognised too. In the end, Isnard argued, the state debt can only be financed cheaply if public confidence in the government is high. Eventually this can only be assured if there are properly functioning representative bodies who are able to curb the arbitrary powers of the executive authorities (Isnard 1801:77; cf. Isnard report no. 9:4–5). In the meantime during 1801 the First Consul lost patience with the Tribunat, which he saw as a hindrance to the swift adoption of his Code Civil.74 At the end of January 1802 he demanded of the senate that ‘twenty bad members of the Tribunat be removed’ and that ‘the twenty dissident members’ be replaced by ‘twenty well-thinking men’.75 Two weeks later Isnard, who had earlier forewarned of the ‘clouds gathering on the political horizon’, had understood that he was included in the purge and contacted the authorities to inform them that he intended to take up his job as chief engineer again.76 Soon a position was found in the Rhone department with a residence at Lyon, where Isnard arrived in the early summer.

Life and career of achilles nicolas isnard (1748–1803)


By this time however the engineer was gravely ill with tuberculosis, suffering from repeated coughing of blood.77 After some months, on 25 February 1803 at seven o’clock in the morning he died in his home on 13 rue du Plat.78 His faithful brother came from Paris to sort out the inheritance and to accept the guardianship of the two underage children. Though Jean Louis claimed that the engineer left few possessions, the inheritance document shows that he was certainly not destitute. The sale of his moveable possessions raised 10,055 francs.79 This, however, was not sufficient to pay for the further education of Isnard’s son Alexandre-Bernard, who had inherited from his father a talent for mathematics as well as a weak health. Therefore his uncle petitioned the government for a place at le Prytanée Français, a request which appears to have been granted. This is where the trail of Isnard’s progeny goes cold, apart from a single sighting of the son in 1816 as captain of the 66th line, having survived the Napoleontic wars.80

2 Main themes in Isnard’s writings The death of the engineer passed without any public notice, reflecting the fact that during his lifetime none of his publications had met with much success. One reason for this failure was surely the inaccessibility of Isnard’s writing. It cannot be said that his talent for penetrating social and economic theorising was matched by the literary gifts of elegant formulation and sound composition. Especially in the last decades of the Ancien Regime the latter were prerequisite for literary success. Interestingly, Isnard himself recognised his shortcomings as a writer. Some years after the publication of his main economic work, the Traité des richesses, he noted that […] it is not written with the lightness that suited the public for which it was intended. Only people capable of profound reflection read it. The author was happy to receive their approbation, which was most precious to him. (Isnard 1788:7) Coming from a writer who on several occasions expressed his disdain for the obsession of his contemporaries with ‘grace’ and ‘style’,1 this admission may well have been meant sardonically; he was writing for the few, not the many. Unfortunately however, a serious lack of ‘style’ may do more than deter the larger ‘public’, it may even frustrate the more hardy readers ‘capable of profound reflection’. This seems to have been the fate of Isnard’s writings. Even later admirers of the Traité have found it difficult to hide their disappointment with the engineer’s literary shortcomings. McCulloch (1845:20) already made a point of noting that the engineer’s ‘learned and valuable work’ suffered from being ‘desultory and wanting in precision’, while in our time Jaffé (1969:21) does not mince his words when calling Isnard’s prose ‘tedious, prolix and turgid’. Regrettably, these judgements are not only quite true for the composition and style of the Traité des richesses but also for his later works (though perhaps to a lesser extent for the Cathéchisme social and Considerations théoriques). The reason to draw attention to Isnard’s weaknesses as a writer is of course not to discourage the reader from studying the excerpts in Part B of this book. Rather, it is to warn that one should not form a judgement too quickly. Perhaps one may say that Isnard as a writer is somewhat like Ricardo, of whom Marshall said ‘[h]is exposition is as confused as his thought is profound’. Faced with such a writer, Marshall advised: If we seek to understand him rightly, we must interpret him generously, […]. When his words are ambiguous, we must give them that interpretation which other passages in his writings indicate that he would have wished to give them.

Main themes in isnard’s writings


(Marshall 1920:670) Such an approach of trying to understand specific statements of a theorist within the wider context of his writings seems particularly useful in Isnard’s case. It is an exercise in relating ideas that are all too often expressed in a disjointed fashion. A further way of trying to ‘place’ the engineer’s ideas is by comparing them to those of his contemporaries, something which, as was noted, is lacking to a large extent in the secondary literature on Isnard. It is thus that the next sections try to provide a context to some of the central themes in his social and economic thought. First, in section 2.1, an attempt is made to show how Isnard’s mathematical contributions fit into a larger theory of the economic process. Comparisons with contemporary economic ideas can help us to gain a better understanding of the origins and coherence of this theory. Section 2.2 provides a sketch of Isnard’s wider thought about the nature of society and of man, which forms an important background to his political economy.

2.1 An outline of Isnard’s economic thought 2.1.1 Influences At the beginning of the Traité Isnard notes that he studied politics, trade and finance from an early age and from the many references throughout his works it is indeed clear that he was well-read in the economic and political literature of his time. Modern authors whose work is referred to in the Traité are d’Alembert, Bacon, Baudeau, Boisguilbert, Bolingbroke, Charron, Child, Culpeper, Decker, Dupré de St Maur, Euler, Forbonnais, Graslin, Helvétius, Holbach, l’Hôpital, Hume, Law, Leroy, Linguet, Locke, Melon, Montesquieu, Morellet, Morelly, Moulin, Necker, Pinto, Plumart de Dangeul (‘Nicols’), Quesnay, Raynal, Robertson, Rousseau, Vauban, Voltaire and ‘de Witt’. Of course such a list does not say much about which authors influenced the engineer most. For this, it is interesting to consider the three-way classification Isnard proposes of authors he used in writing his book (1781, I: xii–xiii). First, he states, there are authors whose system is based on ‘the right of property’ and who propose to stimulate ‘the greatest affluence and the greatest wealth’ in order to achieve the ‘largest possible population’. The only authors he puts in this class are the physiocrats, or those who have developed ‘the social system of M.Quesnay’. The authors in the second class hold almost exactly opposite views. They are ‘disregarding the rights of property and the natural laws of production’ believing that wealth is obtained through a large population. Isnard includes in this class, on the one hand, the English mercantilist literature, and, on the other hand, French versions of mercantilism, Colbertism and populationisme. The third and final class is a sort of repository of authors who have tried to mix ideas of writers in the first two groups. In which class would Isnard have placed himself? Given the importance he gives to the protection of private property rights and the liberal economic policies that were associated with it in eighteenth century France (see pp. 54–6), there can be little doubt that he feels closest to the first class.2 However, the engineer immediately points out that

At the origins of mathematical economics


he disagrees with the physiocrats on a number of important technical points. In particular, he rejects the doctrine of the exclusive productivity of agriculture, the view that a single tax on the agricultural net product should be introduced, and the notion that the sovereign is ‘joint proprietor’ of the net product. Opposition to these fundamental principles of Économistes undoubtedly disqualifies him from being called a physiocrat. However, perhaps the designation ‘dissident of the school of Quesnay’ (Renevier 1909:1) is not wholly inappropriate. This is so because, even more than Jacques Turgot3 and Adam Smith, famous contemporaries who also adopted ideas of Quesnay, Isnard appears to have developed his views in response to the doctor’s powerful economic doctrine. Not only is this clear from direct references to a number of physiocratic writings,4 it is the fundamental conception found in the Traité of the economic process as a circular, reproductive system that has a close affinity with Quesnay. This shared conception is crucial for the interpretation of the engineer’s economic thinking. 2.1.2 Reproduction, value and distribution The centrepiece of Isnard’s economic work is the relatively short Book One of the first volume of the Traité des richesses (translated in full in Part B). It constitutes the concise, and often rather abstract, presentation of his economic ‘system’. What is arguably most remarkable about this part is the formal analysis of value, reproduction and distribution. Unfortunately the presentation is rather disjointed. Most striking about the manner in which Isnard arranges his material is that he starts with a discussion of exchange (section 1) and postpones his discussion of production until much later (section 6)5. This somewhat curious approach raises the question how these two parts of Isnard’s theory are related to one another. Indeed, this question is of crucial importance for a deeper understanding of the coherence of the economic ideas expressed in Book One of the Traité. Despite the disjointed nature of the presentation, there are a number of passages that suggest that in fact Isnard recognises there to be strong, though not fully determinate, relations between his analysis of value and exchange on the one hand and reproduction on the other. Consider, for instance, the following statement: Man produces little by the work of his hands without the assistance of agents and aids of nature and industry. Therefore the producer needs to be able to procure those agents and those aids. This ability consists in wealth; wealth is necessary for production. Wealth owes its quality to exchange and circulation, and it can only return to producers through exchange. The goal of exchanges is consumption, the active means of these exchanges consist of expenditure, and the passive means consist of sale. Consumption, sales and expenditures are therefore closely related to wealth and reproduction. (Isnard 1781, I: 53) The first thing to note about this passage is its unmistakable physiocratic flavour. It expresses, as well as any statement in that body of literature, the insight that production is an ongoing, circular process requiring previously produced goods. A central role is

Main themes in isnard’s writings


played by the notion of ‘wealth’ (richesses).6 In order to produce one needs wealth, i.e. the means to purchase inputs required for production. At the same time, in order to obtain wealth one has to sell products. Thus exchange intervenes before and after production. In fact both are part of an ongoing process of reproduction. It is in this sense that ‘[consumption, sales and expenditures are […] closely related to wealth and reproduction’. The influence of Quesnay can be further illustrated in relation to Isnard’s formal depiction of reproduction. Due to the simple mathematics involved in this depiction, it is easy to underestimate the important innovation it represents (cf. Ingrao and Israel 1990:63). Of the three numerical examples given, which the engineer calls systêmes des richesses, the simplest reads: 10M+10M produce 40M 5M+10M produce 60M

Used as we are to economic theorists presenting simple two-sector models of imaginary economies, we may forget to marvel at the sheer act of abstraction involved in this example. In the eighteenth century the only formal schemes comparable in this respect are the Tableaux économiques of Quesnay.7 Doubtlessly, Isnard conceived his formalisation both as a critique and a development of the Tableaux (see van den Berg 2002). There are at least two crucial similarities between the two men’s ‘schemes of reproduction’. First, like the Tableaux, Isnard’s systême is irreducibly circular and social. That is to say, not only are outputs used as inputs, but also at least some of those inputs are produced in a different ‘sector’ of the economy. As was noted above and further discussed below, this necessitates a theory of value and exchange. Second, the system produces goods in excess of strict reproductive requirements. Isnard refers to this surplus product as the ‘disposable wealth’ (richesses disponibles) of the economic system. Although, as we will presently see, there is a crucial difference with Quesnay’s produit net, the notion of ‘disposable wealth’ plays a similarly central role in Isnard’s theory. The distinction between freely disposable goods, which he identifies as the ‘end’ of economic activity, and the reproductive requirements, identified as the ‘means’, is made in many places in Isnard’s work. He singles out as the most fundamental principle of political economy the reduction of the share of costs, i.e. reproductive consumption, in the total product, in order to increase the share of disposable wealth (see e.g. Isnard 1781, I: xv, 9; 1787:35; 1789b: 39). The differences with Quesnay are also striking. Most importantly, in contrast to the Tableaux, Isnard’s model is constructed in terms of physical quantities. Though it has been pointed out that his use of the symbols M and M is somewhat ambiguous (Jaffé 1969:21; Klotz 1994:36), it is quite clear that Isnard denotes with those letters physical units of two different kinds of commodities. Initially he does not consider their unit values. Again, this choice is surely made in response to the physiocratic notions of ‘production’ and ‘productivity’, with which he disagrees fundamentally. It is worth pointing out that an earlier critic of the Tableaux, J.-J.-L.Graslin (1727–90) had argued that

At the origins of mathematical economics


[i]t should be possible to do away with money, without changing anything to the basis of the system. Yet, it is easy to see that when money is done away with, the system, which one has tried to portray in the Tableau Economique, loses its basis and support. Therefore, the Tableau Economique does not represent anything real and is, if I am permitted this expression, nothing but a tableau de fantaisie. (Graslin 1767:224) While Graslin does not pursue this point, Isnard’s critique of the Tableaux does indeed proceed by ‘doing away with money’.8 It helps him to make two points in particular. First, his concrete conception of production as a process whereby physical quantities are combined is a precise rejection of Quesnay’s notorious distinction between agricultural production, as the ‘generation or creation of wealth’ and industrial production, as ‘an adding together of items of wealth’ (see e.g. Quesnay 1766:207). This, according to the engineer, amounts to a confusion between production and creation (Isnard 1781, I: 15 n. a). In fact, all production is formally the same. As he puts it in a later pamphlet, any physical production ‘[…] assembles particles that were separate; it separates particles that were united. It produces through the aggregation and through the separation of forms, qualities, capacities and properties that are useful to men’ (Isnard 1789b: 22). In other words, no process of production creates matter and every process of production is a purposeful activity of altering the physical qualities of things with the aim of making them more suitable to the needs and desires of man.9 Second, Isnard also gives the notion of ‘productivity’ an important new meaning. In Quesnay and his followers, the idea of surplus production as ‘production in excess of reproductive requirements’ is almost inextricably intertwined with the dogma of the ‘exclusive productivity of agriculture’. Isnard preserves the former idea, while discarding the latter.10 Commenting on his numerical example he notes: ‘Thus, to produce the total of the two products a consumption of 15M+20M is required, and the value of the disposable wealth is 25M+40M (Isnard 1781, I: 36; emphasis added). This is a simple but profound statement: our writer identifies the ‘disposable’ product in physical terms by deducting from the combined total outputs the reproductive requirements of the system. The consequence of this conception is that there is no single ‘productive’ sector (or input), as there is in Quesnay (or, for that matter, Marx). Instead one may say that productivity is seen in Isnard’s model as a property of the economic system as a whole.11 Value in exchange It is not immediately obvious how Isnard’s analysis of value and exchange relates to his schemes of reproduction. As was indicated, this is mainly due to the expository sequence chosen by the engineer. Upon close reading of Book One of the Traité, one is left with the impression that this sequence is not best suited to the theory he expounds. Somehow the presentation seems to be the wrong way around, in the sense that the conception of the economy as a reproductive system seems to be more fundamental than the analysis of exchange with which the book commences. One explanation for Isnard’s choice to start his work with his theory of exchange is that he may have seen it as a further way of articulating his break with the doctrines of Quesnay.12

Main themes in isnard’s writings


Before addressing the question of the relation of the theory of exchange to the rest of his theory let us briefly concentrate on the formal content of this piece of analysis. The algebra Isnard brings to bear on the theory of value is the aspect that has attracted most commentary, but is in fact the easier bit to understand. First he formulates the simple equation of exchange aM=bM , which purports to describe ‘[…] what would happen in an exchange between two isolated owners of two commodities, when the need for the surplus of the one is equal to the need for the surplus of the other’ and one assumes that ‘[…] the surplus of the first is a quantity a of units M, and that of the second is a quantity b of units M .’ (Isnard 1781, I: 18). From this Isnard draws the straightforward conclusion that in that case for each commodity ‘the value of each unit will […] be in inverse ratio to the quantity of units that is offered for exchange (ibid.)’, or in algebraic terms:

Next, he extends this analysis to the many-commodity case and argues that if similarly the marketed quantities of any number of commodities are given, it is possible to calculate the elative prices of units of each commodity (though he later acknowledges that ‘[s]uch calculations would be very complicated in a system with a great number of commodities’ (ibid.: 26–7)). He notes that as soon as more than two types of commodities are traded, the right-hand side of the simple value equation will comprise the offers of more than one type of commodity. This entails, however, that […] since the offers are composed of several heterogeneous commodities, it is not possible to deduce from the equality, or from the equation that we have just discussed, the relation between two particular commodities. To find the relation between commodities taken two by two, one would have to formulate as many equations as there are commodities. The first member of those equations would contain the quantity of commodities, the second the sum of offers. (ibid.: 19) He then illustrates this important idea by calculating the relative values for the case of given quantities of three types of commodities, aM, bM and cM . In their function of offers for the other two commodities, the quantities a, b, and c are divided into two parts, respectively ma and na, pb and qb, and rc and sc. Now three equations can be formulated: aM=pbM +rcM bM =maM+scM cM =naM+qbM Having done this, Isnard states: One can deduce from those three equations the relations between the commodities taken two by two, and one will have

At the origins of mathematical economics


One can also deduce from this the value of each commodity relative to each other one, and the quantities each proprietor will get in exchange for his offers. (ibid.: 20) Isnard does not give the somewhat cumbersome derivation of the continuous proportion, but his result is correct.13 As was noted, probably the first person to appreciate the significance of this analysis was no less an economist than Léon Walras (see p. 1). Subsequent commentators echo his high opinion of Isnard’s formal achievement. Schumpeter (1954:217) points out that he is the first economic writer to provide both a ‘[…] (primitive) mathematical definition of equilibrium and a (also primitive) mathematical proof of that proposition’. Baumol and Goldfeld (1968:253) add that the contribution is ‘[…] the earliest example of the use of a simultaneous equation system in value theory’, a fact which prompts Theocharis (1961:62) to rank it as ‘[…] one of the most important contributions in the history of the development of mathematical economics’. While there can be no doubt that Isnard’s application of simultaneous equations to the theory of value was a highly original innovation that proved to be of great significance, it cannot be said that his conception of value as a simple ratio of exchange was completely novel. During the 1760s and 1770s there was in France a sophisticated debate about the meaning of the term Value’, as part of the larger controversy about physiocracy (see van den Berg 2004). It is this debate that formed the intellectual context to the engineer’s treatment of the same notion. The contemporary discussion of value and exchange that shows the greatest textual similarities with Isnard’s analysis is that by the abbé André Morellet (1727–1819) in a ‘Digression’ that was included in his Prospectus d’un nouveau dictionnaire de commerce of 1769. Not only is it certain that Isnard knew this text,14 there are at least five striking parallels suggesting that he was directly influenced by the abbé‘s discussion. First, Morellet takes the same approach of first considering exchange of two kinds of commodities between two individuals, and next extending his discussion to many commodities and many goods.15 Second, Morellet insists on a strict distinction between ‘use value’ and ‘exchange value’: As soon as exchange is possible, value is no more than the expression of the terms of exchange. There is no longer any abstract or metaphysical idea. Use value [valeur d’utilité], which is so difficult to know, this value, so to say, interior to the thing, considered, […] as something absolute […] has nothing to do with it here. That is in the mind of each man the concealed motive of the terms of exchange, particular to everyone; but it does not enter into the communal notion of value, in the language of trade. (Morellet 1769:107)16

Main themes in isnard’s writings


Like Morellet, Isnard uses the term ‘utility’ (utilité) for ‘use value’ and says that it denotes the ‘absolute’ meaning of the term ‘value’, as opposed to the meaning he is discussing (Isnard 1781, I: 17 n. a).17 It is true that before Morellet, Graslin (1767:24–6) had already used the pair absolute/relative to distinguish between value in use and exchange, but this was in the context of a theory of value that bears very little resemblance to that of Isnard.18 Third, Morellet states that value can be expressed by means of equations, meaning by this something very similar to Isnard. Arguing that seeing value ‘[…] as a simple fact exterior to exchanged things gives a great simplicity to the theory of value’ (Morellet 1769:107), he notes: From this notion of exchange value it follows that it is equal, common and the same between the exchanged things […] In a word, value is like the equality that is reciprocal, common and the same between the two terms of an equation. (ibid.: 109; last emphasis added) Fourth, when Morellet generalises this idea to the many-commodity case, he gives a verbal statement of a notion of generalised market equilibrium, that appears very close to that illustrated algebraically by Isnard: […] the exchange value of each thing is not its exchangeability against one single other thing, but its exchangeability against all those things that are at present the objects of the desire and need of man. […] As soon as one thing is worth another, it is worth all others in a certain quantitative proportion. […] the value of a things balances itself, and in a constant state brings itself into equilibrium with the value of all others. (ibid.: 111) Fifth and finally, perhaps the clearest textual clue that betrays a direct influence of Morellet on Isnard is that they use almost identical examples of commodities that were used historically as money.19 Together these five points of similarity add up to a strong likelihood that Isnard’s approach to the analysis of value was informed by Morellet’s discussion. Of course, this detracts little from the originality of the engineer’s algebraic analysis. There is little in Morellet’s text to suggest that he had an inkling of how to give the actual mathematical demonstration of market equilibrium for which Isnard has rightly been praised.20 Furthermore, though the similarities between the two texts are important, it is certainly not claimed here that the opinion that value may be conceived as nothing but a ratio of exchange between physical quantities of goods was limited to Morellet and Isnard. Importantly, the same idea is found in the physiocratic literature.21 Indeed, the opposite view, influential in later British classical political economy, that an ‘underlying’ determinant of exchangeable value (i.e. labour) should be the aim of the theory of value does not appear to have been at all widespread during the French Enlightenment. For this reason it is a little misleading to state that Isnard ‘[…] discovered early on that truth that value is not an intrinsic thing but rather a magnitude which necessarily varies in relation

At the origins of mathematical economics


to other goods, whose worth is also interdependent’ (Hébert 1987:1004; emphasis added). Rather than crediting the engineer with having discovered it, one should say that he developed this insight in a formal manner. It should further be pointed out that some of the formulations Isnard uses in his discussion of value and exchange are more specifically reminiscent of physiocratic terminology. Of special importance is the very specific use of the term ‘wealth’ (richesses) in the following passage: Useful things are very heterogeneous; in exchange they acquire relations that we want to know. When one considers useful things with the purpose of comparing them, they are called wealth, […] useful things stop being wealth when their relation [of exchange] is annulled. (Isnard 1781, I: 16) The distinction between ‘useful things’ (biens) and ‘wealth’ (richesses) is found quite commonly in the physiocratic literature and the enigmatic idea of the Economistes that products only ‘become wealth’ in the act of exchange was singled out for ridicule by some of their many critics.22 Importantly, in the physiocratic literature the term ‘wealth’ is used to denote goods purposefully produced for the market in excess of the own requirements of producers. This excess production is a systematic response only for individuals who rely for the production of most goods they require on other producers, i.e., individuals who live within a society with an established social division of labour. This point is made particularly well by Le Trosne in the following passage where he compares producers within and without society: The isolated man who, unrelated to his likes, lived from his own harvest did only assess in products his personal utility: he regulated the area of his cultivation by his consumption and did not raise an excess produce that would be useless to him. […] But when as few as two families settle near each other, a natural association of works and services is formed between them, and exchange arises to satisfy all the needs, to spread pleasures, and to let everyone find in the excess produce of one type, the means of acquiring that which one lacks of another. (Le Trosne 1777:888–9) A similar point is made by Isnard when he states: Under the extreme assumption of equality, or of the equal division of lands, the word wealth is hardly known. Expenditures are limited to subsistence goods; everyone works for himself; there is little or no trade and exchange; since everyone has some land to cultivate, everyone cultivates the fruits suited to their own needs. (Isnard 1781, I: 54) The idea that ‘wealth’ is a notion that only acquires meaning ‘within society’, i.e. when goods start to be produced with the express purpose of being exchanged, has particular

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relevance for the interpretation of Isnard’s curious choice to start his discussion of value with the case of ‘[…] exchange between two isolated proprietors of two commodities, when the need for the surplus of the one is equal to the need for the surplus of the other’ (Isnard 1781, I: 18). Does he really mean two isolated traders ‘outside society’ who each happen to possess a surplus endowment of goods that suits the needs of his exchange partner?23 Or does he mean exchangers, like Le Trosne’s ‘two families’, who have formed a ‘natural association of works and services’ and who as a result each systematically produce excess quantities as ‘means of acquiring that which one lacks’ of the other’s good? Despite appearances, the second possibility seems the more likely one.24 Distribution It is really when one considers the relations between Isnard’s analyses of reproduction and exchange that the economic, as opposed to formal, content of his analysis becomes clearer. Most commentators who have expressed admiration for the formal achievement of Isnard’s analysis of exchange, qualify their praise by signalling a lack of economic content. Thus Léon Walras already expressed the opinion that Isnard had ‘by no means fully or deeply considered’ his equations of exchange. This is a view echoed by later authors who point out that the principal drawback of Isnard’s discussion is that it uses ‘fixed and unexplained quantities offered in exchange for other items’. This, in the curt judgement of Baumol and Goldfeld (1968:253) is ‘[…] typical of the crudity of the early works in mathematical economics’ (cf. Ingrao and Israel 1990:62). Niehans (1990:219 n. 7) goes so far as suggesting that by not answering the question how traded quantities are determined, Isnard’s equations are no more than ‘trivial identities’. Others have conjectured that the fixed tradable quantities Isnard assumes in his analysis of exchange are ‘[…] predetermined by considerations of utility behind the scenes’ (Jaffé 1969:27). Of course, this suggests that, analogous to neo-classical theory, prices in Isnard’s theory of value have the implicit function of equalisation of the traders’ subjective marginal rates of exchange. Since the engineer failed to give an account of this subjective determination his analysis is judged to be half-finished, so that it ‘[…] remained for Walras to add the engine of utility maximization’ (Hébert 1987:1004).25 Here, one may argue, is where some Marshallian generosity should be extended to Isnard. Examination of Book One of the Traité learns that instead of having to go ‘behind the scenes’ we may simply read on some pages beyond the famous discussion of exchange to get an idea of how traded quantities are determined in his theory. While in section 1 Isnard does indeed assume exchanged quantities to be fixed, he certainly does not intend to leave them ‘unexplained’. Just before he commences his algebraic analysis by assuming three fixed quantities, a, b and c, of different kinds of commodities, he clearly states that ‘[w]e will later determine the quantity of commodities produced and brought to the market’ (Isnard 1781, I: 19; emphasis added). He comes back to this remark at the beginning of section 6, which starts: As we have seen, [i.e., in section 1] the values of products are established without the costs or expenditures of producers being considered in the deal: but they will not produce useful things, if they do not expect to

At the origins of mathematical economics


recover their costs, that is to say, the value of the advances necessary to the existence of that commodity. One has to assume therefore that the value of a commodity is at least equal to the costs of production. [But] this value can also surpass the value of those costs. When this is the case, the difference is for the producer the revenue that he draws from his enterprise. (ibid.: 34–5; emphasis added) These cross-references suggest that Isnard perceives a clear relation between his discussions of exchange and of production: even though for mathematical convenience he works with fixed marketed quantities in his analysis of exchange, he in fact envisages a process whereby those quantities adapt. This adaptation is the result of the comparisons made by each producer between costs incurred in production and the sales value of his products ‘realised in the market’ (cf. Isnard 1781, I: 96–7). The engineer puts quite a unique emphasis on the point that in exchange physically ‘heterogeneous’ products ‘acquire’ the ‘homogeneous’ property of wealth (ibid.: 16). This money value allows producers to buy new, physically heterogeneous, inputs and to repeat production. As he puts it in a later pamphlet: Since commodities or products of different kinds enter into the costs of production, a relation of homogeneity has to be given to those commodities or products that allows them to be compared [.] [T]his relation is obtained from the values those commodities or products obtain in exchange, or from the comparison made between all commodities or products to one commodity which serves as common measure. (Isnard 1789b: 7–8) In relation to reproduction, relative market prices can be said to fulfil two principal functions. First, they provide information to producers about whether their reproductive activity can continue. In order for reproduction to be viable, the market value of a commodity has to be at least equal to ‘[…] the value of the advances necessary to the existence of that commodity’. Second, relative prices decide the distribution of the disposable wealth. It is important to recognise that the manner in which Isnard approaches the question of the distribution of the surplus means that he does not offer a theory of relative prices that is fully determinate. He acknowledges that within the surplus producing economy he assumes, more than one set of relative prices is consistent with reproduction. He demonstrates this by calculating the results of just two alternative sets (ibid.: 36–7) but notes that ‘one could make an infinite number of other suppositions’ (ibid.: 42). In fact in the example given above, reproduction of both commodities can continue with any relative price between M /M=3 and M /M=1/10, while each relative price within this range gives a different distribution of the ‘disposable wealth’.26 All that can be said definitely is that […] the real mass of disposable wealth, […], will always be divided among those owners for whom the value of their products exceeds the value of the costs’ (ibid.: 42).

Main themes in isnard’s writings


If distribution is effected through a set of market values the question arises which set, and hence what distribution, will pertain ‘normally’. This, of course, is the question of distribution in the more familiar meaning it had in later classical political economy. As we know from modern scholarship on Ricardo’s economics in particular, in order to make the question of relative prices more determinate, Isnard would have had to put forward a general rule for the distribution of the surplus. A few explanations may be considered for why he does not do this. First, it may be argued that the principal motivation for Isnard’s discussion of distribution is precisely to reject one such general rule: the one posed by Quesnay. Some commentators have argued that the relative price implicit in the Tableau is dictated by the simple distributive rule that only agriculture produces a surplus, appropriated as rent by the landowners (see e.g. Gilibert 1989:93; Cartelier 1998:250).27 Isnard rejects this rule out of hand when he writes that ‘M.Quesnai and the Economists were mistaken when they stated as a general fact that industry is not productive’ (ibid. 39; emphasis added). In other words, he judges the physiocrats’ distributive rule to be purely dogmatic and unduly restrictive. Second, of course this does not explain why he did not substitute in its place a different rule for the distribution of the surplus. Some caution is required on this point. It might be argued that the engineer did have more than an inkling of the mature classical idea that ‘competition so adjusts the changeable value of commodities that […] the overplus will in each trade be in proportion to the value of the capital employed’ (Ricardo 1817:50). In a fascinating passage (Isnard 1781, I: 48–9) the engineer presents the seminal idea that in a system where no restrictions exist on the allocation of capital there is a tendency towards a uniform rate of profit.28 This is not an isolated statement. In later texts Isnard uses the notion that ‘[…] the general force of competition tends to bring about a uniform rate between profits and capitals’ (1789b: 14–15; cf. 1791:305) in a selfevident, almost casual, manner. Isnard does not claim originality for this idea and judging by the wording of the above mentioned passage in the Traité, especially his use of the metaphor of the fluidity of capital, it seems likely that he was influenced on this point by Turgot’s Reflections (1766:87).29 Nevertheless, it must be said that Isnard was not successful in integrating his notion of a uniform rate of profit into the formal apparatus of his systêmes des richesses. On the one hand, it is evident that Isnard did want to account for a net return on capital into his model of reproduction. He explicitly criticises the physiocrats for ‘not regarding] the interest on wealth [i.e., profit] as a disposable product’ (1781, I: 41 n.). On the other hand, the manner in which he allows for profit in the one example where this category appears explicitly (ibid.: 40–2), is rather curious. He considers a situation where ‘[…] the interest [i.e. rate of profit] is one tenth of the value of the funds, the interest rate is 10%’ (ibid.: 42). Looking at the calculations on which he bases this statement one finds that it relates to the net income of only one sector/class: it is the net income (120A) of the ‘owners’ of N, which denotes ‘durable capital goods’, over the value of the durable capital goods used up in a single round of production (1200A).30 This uncommon manner of accounting for profit is related to the social classification Isnard uses most frequently. In his schema of society there are three classes:

At the origins of mathematical economics


[1] [t]he workers, artists, and artisans of every kind, [2] the owners of moveable and immovable capital, [3] the owners of foodstuffs and [other] agricultural products, divide between them the mass of disposable wealth according to the values of the commodities they expose to the market […] and the values of the expenses they have to incur in production. (ibid.: 38) Here Isnard seems to adopt Quesnay’s social categories in an altered form: ‘the owners of moveable and immovable capital’ replace the physiocratic class of landowners, the ‘workers, artists, and artisans of every kind’ replace the so-called ‘sterile class’ and ‘owners of foodstuffs and [other] agricultural products’ replace the ‘productive class’ of farmers. This is quite different from the notion of class made familiar by Adam Smith, according to which society is divided into the three ‘great constituent orders’ of ‘labourers’, ‘the undertaker of the work who hazards his stock’, and ‘landlords’ (Smith 1776, I: vi). As a consequence, Isnard does not discuss the classical income categories ‘wage’, ‘profit’ and ‘rent’, but instead the value of ‘[industrial] labour’, ‘agricultural products’ and ‘[fixed] capital’ (see also the subdivision of the seventh section of book I (1781, I: 42–50)). There are however also a number of passages where Isnard does make the distinction between (agricultural and industrial) entrepreneurs who direct works and make advances, and workers who are simply hired hands.31 Thus the older social classification (of Quesnay) appears side by side with the newer classification (of Smith). Perhaps this reflects the socio-economic reality of the society in which Isnard lived. During the eighteenth century a clear distinction between an entrepreneurial class, investing large sums of capital and engaged predominantly with the organisation and supervising of enterprises, and a class of pure wage-earners, or hired hands, was emerging only very gradually and then only in some sectors of the French economy. Much more typical remained the independent peasant, who perhaps took some part-time employment for part of the year, and the more or less self-employed artisan.32 Thus what seems to be a rather muddled way of treating labour relations in Isnard may well reflect the contemporaneous social flux. A further complication for Isnard’s treatment of profit is that he tends to subsume land into a larger category of ‘durable capital’ (richesses foncieres). Land rent is barely discussed as a distinct income category. Instead it is treated as a return on a productive fund not essentially different from the incomes of the owners of other capitals (cf. ibid.: 93 n. g). One may see in this a wilful denial of the physiocratic distinction between the avances foncières, or investments in land improvements, and the avances primitives, or investments in durable capital goods, such as ploughs and working animals. Whatever the precise reason for Isnard’s extended notion of capital, it needs to be acknowledged for this reason and the others mentioned above that his notion of ‘profit’ is rather peculiar and must be treated with caution. A third and final explanation why Isnard does not address the question of the ‘normal’ distribution of the surplus in a way comparable to later classical political economists is that there is a lack of focus in his work on the long period position of the reproductive system he envisages. Instead, Isnard tends to describe the process of reproduction as an ongoing, temporal sequence in which ‘market realisation’ and production are separate

Main themes in isnard’s writings


moments. Thus one finds the commonsensical notion in Isnard that production uses inputs that already have obtained a value in the market and yields outputs whose ‘effective’ demand the ‘reproducer’ has yet to find out: The reproducer only acts in response to the demand for his products. For the production of any thing [to continue] it is necessary that its value be at least equal to the costs that are necessary for its existence. If consumption and demand do not assure this value, production will stop, because the producers will attempt to employ their funds more usefully. (ibid.: 96–7; cf. 53) To be sure, Isnard’s focus on the more immediate process of reproduction is not incompatible with a long period orientation, which concentrates on the competitive prices that would be the average result of this process. However, this difference in focus does offer an explanation of why Isnard simply did not envisage ‘solving’ his systêmes des richesses, Sraffa-like, by means of a simultaneous determination of prices and distribution: it should be remembered that such a simultaneous determination abstracts from any temporal sequence.33 Of course Isnard’s analysis also differs from the Walrasian equilibrium model in a similar respect. One does not find a general equilibrium of a Walrasian type in the Traité where relative prices are determined in a moment where all producers and consumers trade equilibrium quantities simultaneously. Instead, as we saw, in his analysis of exchange the engineer assumes given marketed quantities, while in his analysis of production he considers given relative prices.34 Perhaps it is fair to say that this is not only due to shortcomings in Isnard’s formal approach, but also reflects the fact that in contrast to Walras’ static conception of the market economy, the engineer acknowledges the sequential nature of reproduction. 2.1.3 Further issues The related issues of reproduction, value and distribution, as discussed in the previous section, may be said to form the basic framework of Isnard’s thinking about the economic process. They are, however, by no means the only economic issues he addresses. In this section a brief discussion is provided of some further issues, mainly with the aim of showing how they relate to the basic framework. Consumption patterns Isnard makes clear distinctions between what may be called productive consumption and final consumption. For example, he states: While one part of the products of the land is destined to the maintenance and the renewal of the fund for new reproduction, or to the establishment of new productive funds, there is another part that is absolutely free and destined to the needs and enjoyments of men. […] Of those two parts of

At the origins of mathematical economics


wealth one stands for the end of production and the other represents the means of reproduction. (Isnard 1781, I: 92–3) The point made in the last sentence is related to Isnard’s views about the very purpose, as he sees it, of society (see p. 54), but also has a more direct economic significance. It is that in the economic system he advocates quantities produced adjust to the pattern of ‘effectual’ demands for products. The engineer presents a number of interesting ideas with regards to the factors that in turn determine this pattern of demands (Isnard 1790 [1791]: 259). Though perhaps his ideas on this point are somewhat rudimentary, it is possible to outline some features of what may be called Isnard’s ‘theory of consumption’. First, it should be reiterated that there are two kinds of consumption: productive and final. It has been suggested by one commentator that in Isnard’s theory ‘demands’ are ‘[…] completely determined by the reproductive requirements of the system’ (Gilibert 1987:424).35 This interpretation reduces consumption to a strictly technical issue, excluding any role for more ‘discretionary’ social and psychological factors. However this is only true for productive consumption. Without a doubt this kind of consumption is important in Isnard’s theory and here the techniques in use are surely the factors determining proportionate spending. However, the fact alone that we are dealing with a system that produces a surplus means that at least some ‘free’ consumption of ‘disposable’ products will take place. In relation to this kind of consumption spending patterns are far less determinate.36 This is clearly brought out in Isnard’s discussion of ‘luxury’ (1781, I: 92–108). No self-respecting eighteenth-century economic theorist could avoid a discussion of luxury consumption, and Isnard joins the debate by reviewing a number of opinions of the meaning of the term ‘luxury’ concluding that ‘[n]o agreement exists about the definition of luxury’ (ibid.: 98). Isnard himself considers luxury from an economic point of view, i.e. in relation to reproduction. He associates harmful luxury consumption with ‘[a] level of spending […] that would reduce the means of production, that is to say, if reproduction were to whither away. Spending would then be squandering’ (ibid.: 94). Up to a point this is reminiscent of the physiocrats’ take on luxurious consumption.37 Quesnay and his followers insist that continued reproduction requires an appropriate pattern of spending of the net product by the landlords. If they spend too large a proportion of their income on the ‘wrong’ commodities, what Quesnay calls luxe de decoration, this is detrimental to reproduction.38 Due to his different views on ‘productivity’, the opinion that spending should be directed towards a specific productive sector of the economy is absent from Isnard’s writings. Nor does he believe that it is the consumption pattern of one particular class with ‘discretionary spending power’ that matters. Instead, Isnard presents a more general problematic according to which each class of proprietors and producers ‘[…] establish [in their patterns of spending] a proportion between reproduction, or the renewal of wealth, and objects of enjoyment’ (ibid.: 102–3). In other words, any proprietor or producer who has some disposable income faces a general choice between spending on consumption goods and saving: ‘[h]e can dispose of [this income] according to his desires and his enjoyments, or to increase the mass of

Main themes in isnard’s writings


productive wealth’ (ibid.: 36; cf. 144). This choice is facilitated by the possibility of lending savings to entrepreneurs who invest them in productive activities. Thus: [b]y means of loans the military man, the noble man, and the financier direct their savings to agriculture, industry and trade, and contribute to reproduction from which they annually withdraw a part, by means of the interest that the parties have agreed upon. (ibid.: 279; cf. 94) As a result of the choices of individual citizens who have ‘disposable’ income, an overall proportion is established between accumulation and spending on ‘objects of enjoyment’. The allocation of a larger proportion of incomes towards reproductive expenditures increases the productive capacity of the economy. As such it would seem attractive that ‘[…] the authorities employ wealth, which the proprietors wish to use for enjoyments, in reproduction [since] the wealth of the next period will increase’ (ibid.: 101–2). However, Isnard is adamant that such attempts of government to manipulate the rate of accumulation would Violate natural rights and property rights’, and specifically the citizens’ freedom of spending, la liberté des dépenses (ibid.: 103). It is up to private interests to know the means by which to increase private fortunes and to establish a proportion [in their spending] between reproduction, or the renewal of wealth, and objects of enjoyment. The State can never become truly rich if the proprietors and producers will not be allowed to establish this proportion freely. (ibid.: 102–3) Despite this general profession of trust in the ability of individuals to decide upon consumption patterns that do not ‘dissipate’ wealth, Isnard also acknowledges that there may be circumstances, mainly political in nature, under which the opposite is true. In particular, he warns that an ‘extreme inequality in wealth […] engenders a ruinous luxury’ (ibid.: 100). The connection Isnard sees between the distribution of wealth and the kinds of needs citizens have is quite interesting. He does not consider ‘needs’ (besoins) to be independent from the means to satisfy them (facultés).39 In a number of places he argues that ‘[…] the distribution of wealth and the reciprocal means determine the order of spending, and rule the needs’ (ibid.: 27; cf. 42–3). This notion is worked out most fully in a passage where he outlines how the ‘progression of needs is founded on the progression of incomes’: from the poor man who ‘contends himself with bread of oats and with water’ to the richest members of society who enjoy a wide range of exquisite commodities, needs develop along with the means to satisfy them (see ibid.: 55–6). Isnard places an interesting emphasis on the point that the range of human needs expands along with the progression of the social division of labour, and the inequality of incomes that in his opinion is a necessary consequence. If there were no social division of labour and no exchange, man ‘[…] could only enjoy what he could obtain himself, he would be more or less restricted to necessities and he would only enjoy some same and monotonous pleasures prepared for his satiation by a limited industry’ (ibid.: 143). But

At the origins of mathematical economics


with the development of social interaction and wealth his very range of needs expands. Hence one can ‘[…] discover in each increase of income, the origin of a new need, and the birth of a new product or a new invention’ (ibid.: 57–8). These ideas about how man in society acquires tastes that grow in number and become more sophisticated as he becomes richer are part of an argument against J.-J.Rousseau’s view of the inequality of incomes in political societies as something unnatural and corrupting. Isnard’s position is one of a qualified defence of ‘luxury’. What citizens spend their incomes on depends not only on their income class but also on fashions and emulation. Mostly people will not spend above their means. However, Isnard warns, it is possible that ‘[…] profligate tastes, […] under the influence of the inequality of wealth, pass from the wealthy to the inferior classes, degenerating into a general epidemic’ giving rise to a ‘disastrous splendour’ that affects the reproductive capacity of the economy (ibid.: 108; cf. 1784:242–3). What should be noted about these ideas is that they are suggestive of what may be called a ‘sociological’ approach to the study of consumption patterns: the structure of demands is related to the level of affluence of society as a whole and various income classes within it.40 Taxation The engineer’s views on taxation are a consistent development of the central notions of his economic theory. Having established that the annual ‘disposable wealth’ of society does not devolve to a single class or sector, as argued by Quesnay’s school, he generalises the doctor’s proposal of a single tax, the famous impôt unique, accordingly. Thus Isnard also advocates a single tax but on ‘[…] the net product of land and on the net product of the productive capitals of trade and industry’ or ‘on the revenues, above costs, in all enterprises of agriculture, industry and trade’ (Isnard 1789b: 51; cf. ibid.: 6; 1781, II: 2, 3). The reasons why, according to Isnard, this tax proposal is superior to any other are threefold: it is equitable, neutral and simple. First, he argues that his single tax is based on a fundamental principle of equity: The fundamental principle of the tax system is that everyone should contribute in proportion to his ability. […] When persons contribute according to their abilities, things contribute in proportion to their net product, that is to say, in proportion to what remains after deduction of the value of the things necessary to the renewal of advances. (1791:311; cf. 1781, II: 3; 1789b: 26) Interestingly, in 1789 Isnard notes the similarity in this respect of his views on taxation with those of Adam Smith (Isnard 1789b: 50–1; cf. Smith 1776, V: ii, b, 3).41 Second, Isnard believes his tax to be neutral with regards to the composition of the outputs produced in the economy. As we saw in the previous section, the freedom of spending of citizens would establish an ‘[…] order of production that is conform to needs’ (1781, II: 8; cf. ibid.: 4). In the context of his theory of taxation the engineer does not shy away from identifying this socially determined composition of output as the

Main themes in isnard’s writings


‘natural order’ (ibid.: 8). He argues that only by charging tax in proportion to all net revenues ‘[…] production, directed by demands and needs, does not suffer any disruption’ (ibid.: 6). Third, he argues that the introduction of a single tax on surplus incomes, replacing the manifold direct and indirect taxes of the Ancien Regime, would mean a great simplification of the tax system. Of course the single tax would in the first place be ‘simple’ from a theoretical perspective. Isnard acknowledges that the very radical reform he proposes would pose substantial practical difficulties. He tries to address these practicalities especially in the pamphlet Résponses of March 1789, where he argues for the introduction of a nationwide registry of land, in which fields are classed according to their quality, of the fixed capitals of agriculture, industry and trade, and of the various classes of professions whose working capitals are small or difficult to estimate (Isnard 1789b: 8–17). Unsurprisingly however, he devotes most of his attention to theoretical aspects of his tax proposal contrasting it with the physiocratic plan. The neutrality of the single tax à la Isnard with respect to what is produced is achieved, according to the engineer, by virtue of the fact that relative prices would remain unaltered. This view is based on the somewhat questionable assumption that prices are only raised if taxes exceed the margin between sales value and costs (Isnard 1789b: 29).42 Since Isnard’s tax would never fall on any economic activities that just cover costs (see e.g. 1781, II: 2; 1789b: 7) and proportionally on any surplus incomes, this incidence is believed not to cause any ‘upheaval’ in prices. Very different, according to the engineer, would be the effects of the impôt unique of the physiocrats. The basic position of the Économistes was that whenever one taxed products or activities whose sales values only just covered costs, their prices would sooner or later rise by the same amount as the tax. Of course, Quesnay and his followers argued that this reasoning applied indiscriminately to all non-agricultural products, only agriculture yielding a regular net product. Consumers would thus pay such taxes in higher prices and since the landed classes were, according to physiocratic reasoning, the principal consumers in the state, they were paying the tax bill in an indirect manner. Conversely, if a single tax on land rents were to be introduced, prices of non-agricultural products would fall, their costs having reduced, and agricultural prices would rise, giving rise to higher rents. This meant that while landowners would pay a higher rate of direct tax, their incomes would not be affected, also because they would no longer pay indirect taxes. Isnard is very sceptical about such convenient assumptions with regards to the effects of the impôt unique on relative prices. During the Revolution, when to his obvious dismay the physiocratic views exercise a considerable influence on tax reforms, he warns that the reforms are not based on sound theoretical foundations: To demonstrate the necessity of such effects [on prices], one would have to solve a great-unsolved problem. No Dupont, no Condorcet…not even a Lagrange has solved it in a manner that is applicable to the system of the Economists, because the complication of the givens is too great: it is the problem of the value of commodities or of things. (Isnard 1791:305)

At the origins of mathematical economics


The author Isnard singles out for criticism on the topic of the presumed effects of the single tax on relative prices is the Marquis de Condorcet (Isnard 1789b: 20–34; 1791:302–3). Condorcet’s views about taxation are in fact a sophisticated version of those of the physiocrats and closely follow those of Turgot in acknowledging a normal profit rate as part of the farmers’ remuneration (see Faccarello 1990).43 According to Isnard, the famous mathematician had not at all considered the theory of taxation thoroughly and he advises him ‘[…] that on a subject so difficult to understand because of the complication of its relations, you do not advance any general proposition before having analysed all aspects of it’ (1789b: 32). For example, as soon as one acknowledges that farmers may face different levels of costs when producing the same level of output, how can one then assume that a general rise in prices of agricultural produce will not redistribute the burden of taxation between farmers? (Isnard 1789b: 30–3). Or, how can one state in a general manner that with the introduction of a single tax on rents, the lease contracts between landowners and farmers will be altered in such a manner that farmers draw ‘more or less the same revenue from the same capital before and after the changes in taxation? (Condorcet 1789, II: 8; Isnard 1791:305–8). The numerical examples Isnard presents to highlight these theoretical difficulties are suggestive of a more sophisticated analysis of tax incidence than the physiocrats had to offer. Nevertheless, the engineer does not really develop this analysis in a positive manner. It is fascinating though, to speculate what would have happened had Condorcet taken up the challenge of attempting to provide more formal proofs of his opinions on the effects of the single tax. However, as so often the engineer was simply ignored; it is unclear if Condorcet was even aware of Isnard’s criticisms. Money Another subject to which Isnard devotes considerable attention in his writings is monetary theory. As is the case for his theory of taxation, the fundamental notions developed in Traité des richesses44 are applied in later discussions of practical reforms. Three years after the publication of his first work, the engineer’s conviction that monetary reform would simplify transactions and save on costs motivated him to write a Plan d’une Banque National de France.45 In this pamphlet he advocates the establishment of a banque de correspondance, a nationwide network of government offices for the payment of debts between citizens and taxation.46 Later, in 1790 and 1791, he expounds his monetary views in a number of articles in his periodical Les devoirs de la seconde législature on the occasion of the debate over the controversial assignats.47 For two reasons Isnard’s views on money merit some discussion. First, he develops a particular notion of commodity money, which is very similar to Turgot’s ideas about money. Second, he extends this theory to paper money in a manner that is surprisingly positive given his more basic ideas about money. Of course, at the most basic level of analysis Isnard abstracts from the existence of money. It is worth noting that this is a conscious choice announced at the beginning of his discussion of exchange: Here we will consider the direct exchanges of commodities in general against other commodities in the same location, in order to investigate

Main themes in isnard’s writings


which values they have in terms of one another without the intermediacy of money. (1781, I: 18; emphases added) As was argued above, the decision to ‘do away with money’ at the most fundamental level of analysis is motivated in part by his critique of Quesnay’s notion of productivity. This passage, which relates to the analysis of exchange, suggests that there is another reason: it is to leave out any temporal phenomena intervening between exchanges (intermediary activities of money and merchants). This high level of abstraction is soon abandoned however. In the very next section the engineer introduces money by remarking that once the exchange ratios between the various commodities have been established a unit of one of them can be used, quite literally, as a common denominator of value (ibid.: 21). Distinguishing between the functions of measure (mesure) and ‘pledge’ (gage), or medium of exchange, he gives the following simple definition of money: ‘Commodities that […] serve as common measures and media of exchange are called moneys’ (ibid.: 22). Jaffé (1969:41) has emphasised that Isnard, like Léon Walras after him, uses the term money in an ‘idiosyncratic’ way. That is to say, it is used […] not in the ordinary sense of hard cash or specie, nor in the sense of an abstract unit of account, but rather to designate a concrete standard commodity in terms of which the relative values of all other commodities can be expressed.48 It is precisely in this respect that Isnard’s notion of money resembles that of his great contemporary A.R.J.Turgot (1727–81). A direct influence is likely. As was argued earlier (p. 31), it is probable that Isnard adopted a number of ideas from Morellet’s ‘Digression…on currencies’ of 1769.49 In writing this text Morellet depended in turn heavily on Turgot’s monetary views.50 Like Isnard, the other two men stress the fact that money must in essence be considered as a commodity that has achieved the specialised functions of general measure of value and medium of exchange.51 With regards to the function of measure of value, Isnard notes that ‘[t]he price expressed in livres, sols and derniers, may be expressed in any other measure, or even in abstract numbers and in fractions. Silver in its function of measure is therefore indeed a convention; […]’ (1781:22; emphasis added). By contrast, the choice of an object as gage, or medium of exchange, is not so arbitrary: However, if one considers [silver] as money, one cannot say that it only has a value by convention when serving as a medium of exchange […]. All commodities which have any value can […] serve as money. Gold, silver, and the other metals do not have value by convention, but as a consequence of laws common to all commodities. (Isnard 1781:22–3; cf. 272, 299 n, 301; 1790 [1791]: 260) Any reliable means of exchange needs to carry an assurance, a ‘pledge’, to the seller of commodities that he will be able to obtain commodities at the moment when he becomes

At the origins of mathematical economics


a buyer in his turn. Isnard is of the opinion that neither a simple convention between men nor the decree of the Prince can give this assurance. Instead, the quality of being a commonly accepted means of exchange rests on the fact that the substance functioning as such is a commodity in its own right. The historical examples of money Isnard gives, in imitation of Morellet, serve to make the point that any substance that has functioned as currency was desired originally for its use value and traded as a commodity.52 In more developed societies precious metals became almost invariably the commodities used as ‘tools of exchange’ because of their superior physical suitability: their divisibility, imperishable nature, ease of transport. However, Isnard emphasises the point that these metals are the same time still goods with use value, or desired for ‘final enjoyment’.53 As a consequence, precious metals can alter in function between being used in coined form as intermediary tools, or in the form of jewellery, plates, etc. as freely disposable objects of enjoyment. Thus the money stock (la masse d’argent monnoyé (1781: 269)) should be seen as part of a larger stock of precious metals (la masse d’argent (ibid.)) held by individuals in society (cf 1790 [1791]: 259). Connected to this idea is an interesting suggestion of the existence of an endogenous mechanism whereby the money supply adapts to the demand for money. The existence of alternative uses of precious metals as objects of enjoyment means that the proportion of metals that is diverted to the less desirable employment as money will only be just enough to satisfy the need for media of exchange. It has perhaps not often been noticed that since real [i.e., metallic] money does not carry interest the quantity of money rises naturally to the level it should have for circulation to take place without stagnation. This is the reason for the limit that establishes itself between the share of metals that are used for the needs of life and the share used to serve as money. In nature everything has its limits of increase and decrease; it is up to man to discover these if he wants to reason soundly about natural effects. (1790 [1791]: 274; emphasis added) What Isnard seems to say here is that when precious metals are used as money, the money stock adapts itself to the ‘needs of trade’ for means of payment. Since there is no general54 desire among citizens to hold more money than what is necessary ‘for circulation to take place without stagnation’, the amount of gold and silver that is held in coined form varies so as not to exceed the demand for ‘tools of exchange’. In this sense it can be said that in Isnard’s view the money supply is determined endogenously.55 Further aspects of Isnard’s views on the money supply are articulated in his criticisms of authors who express ideas that resemble those associated with the quantity theory of money. He specifically objects to the opinion ‘[…] that values would be relative to the mass of money (argent) and that if the [quantity of] money doubles, the prices of goods double’ (1781:299). The principal authors whom Isnard takes to task for holding this view are Montesquieu in De l’esprit des loix (1748; Isnard 1781, I: 26, 299), Forbonnais in Recherches et considerations sur les finances de France (1758; Isnard 1781:299) and Dupont de Nemours in the short pamphlet on the Effects of the assignats on the price of bread (1790; Isnard 1790 [1791]: 261). Two separate points may be distinguished in Isnard’s critcism of these writers.

Main themes in isnard’s writings


First, the engineer suggests that the velocity of the circulation of money (la vitesse de la circulation) is variable. Increases or decreases in the amount of coins in circulation may be compensated by decreases or increases in velocity, instead of affecting the general price level (1781, I: 267–9, 299). He further notes that the frequency of transactions is not the same in all branches of the economy, that many goods are bought and sold several times before being sold to the final consumer, and that the existence of credit reduces the need for coins (ibid.: 268–9). For these various reasons is very difficult to find any fixed ratio between the money supply and annual production. Second, and perhaps more interesting, the engineer insists that an increase in the supply of money affects prices of individual kinds of commodities in different ways. As we saw, in Isnard’s theory relative market prices depend on the ‘order of demands’, that is the general patterns of spending of citizens on various commodities. How relative prices will change when a large additional sum of money is introduced depends on how these spending patterns are altered by this introduction. If the quantity of metals in a society doubles it is evident that values change, but one cannot assert that the values of the commodities that are not monies will double relative to metal monies. This is because a new order of demands establishes itself that depends on the one hand on desires, which are without limits, and on the other hand on the means of demanders, which differ according to the inequality of wealth, and it is the new order on which the change in values depends. (1790 [1791]: 259; cf. 1781, I: 299). The manner in which the new spending power of the additional sum of money is distributed between different classes of citizens would especially influence which commodities increase in price and by how much. To make this point Isnard considers the case in which the introduction of additional money would be caused by the immigration of a new group of citizens. The effects on prices would depend on the distribution of money between the new citizens and how their spending patterns differ from those of the old citizens. This is a complex picture: One can easily understand how much those facts may vary, and likewise all moral and physical circumstances that influence the offers that give rise to the determination of prices. Thus it would be extravagant to assert that prices will double; one can foresee that some commodities of a pressing need could at least triple or quadruple. (1790 [1791]: 261–2) The insight that a sudden introduction to circulation of a large additional sum of money will not affect the prices of all commodities in the same manner is normally called the ‘Cantillon-effect’, due to this author’s account in his Essai (1755, II: ch. 6). Though it is unclear if Isnard knew this work, he concludes from the same insight that it is hard, if not impossible, to predict the precise increase of prices from a sudden increase in the money supply (see Isnard 1790 [1791]: 264–5).

At the origins of mathematical economics


Isnard’s views on paper money in particular also merit some discussion. Given his insistence on the fundamental nature of money as a commodity, one would expect Isnard to express grave reservations with regards to its introduction. This is however only true to a limited extent. Indeed, in principle his attitude towards paper money is surprisingly favourable. The reason for this is that, at least in theory, he considers paper money as a technically superior ‘tool’ of exchange. It is a social device that can simplify exchanges and save on the costs of transactions (see e.g. 1781, I: 298). Any such device is desirable in the eyes of the engineer. This general belief is given an interesting formulation in the following passage: Currency has no immediate utility to man, it is only useful because it facilitates the circulation of immediately useful objects. Every time man diminishes the need for things of mediate utility, to the benefit of things of immediate utility he increases his wealth. That which is tool, machine, or instrument, for example, can be considered as being of mediate utility, and every time one can simplify tools, machines, or instruments, it is to the benefit of wealth that is immediately useful. (1790 [1791]: 267) Thus if paper can provide the ‘mediate utility’ [utilité mediate] of money more conveniently and at lower costs than precious metals, freeing up those for ‘immediate enjoyment’, then this is a major reason in favour of the adoption of paper money (see ibid.: 270). The question is of course how paper can become a reliable medium of exchange. As was noted, Isnard stresses that a commonly accepted means of payment needs to carry an assurance. In the case of metallic money the commodity value of the physical substance forms the assurance. In the case of paper money this commodity value is lacking (ibid.: 260). Instead the assurance is based on the solidity of the credit of the issuer of paper. Thus the distinction between metallic and paper money is that: ‘[…] metals are pledges and wealth at the same time, they carry their credit with them. Papers are pledges founded on credit or trust and are not wealth by themselves; […]’ (Isnard 1781, I: 301).56 Isnard’s discussions of paper money largely focus on the question of which issuer’s notes ‘merit trust’ and under what conditions.57 While one should distinguishing between notes issued by deposit banks, trading banks and the state (see esp. 1790:270), each issuer faces the same task of ensuring the ‘credit’ of their notes. Yet, there some important differences between the foundations of the trust in notes issued by banks and ones issued by the state. Basically, the ‘credit’ engendered by the first kind of notes is a commercial phenomenon, while that of the second kind is a political phenomenon. In the Traité the principal example Isnard uses of notes that received successful political support are those issued by the Bank of England (see 1781, I: 310–11). The great credit of the notes of the Bank of England was peculiar since ‘[t]he bank of London is the one [private trading bank] that runs the greatest risks because it would not be able to satisfy all claimants and present all deposits entrusted to it’ (1781, I: 310).58 However, the fact that ‘in England the bank has as little as half as much specie in its coffers as notes in circulation’ (ibid.: note) was not really a deciding factor. The credit of the Bank of England was based on the controlling function of Parliament and the guarantees it

Main themes in isnard’s writings


requires for the bank’s operations, especially its lending to government. This arrangement is so solid according to the engineer that ‘only a bankruptcy on the nation could bring about that of the bank’ (ibid.) From this Isnard draws a damning conclusion for his own country: England draws from its constitution an advantage not easily enjoyed by nations that do not have a representative body, and obtains a credit that arbitrary governments can only secure through a recognised fidelity in fulfilling one’s commitments, or by an administration relieved of debts. (1781, I: 311) While Isnard expresses this opinion some years before France’s own largescale experiment with paper money, it surely still informed his views on the assignats in 1790. In his view one of the reasons why this paper money has little change of success in France is purely political: by assuming many executive and legislative powers the National Assembly disqualified itself as a body checking government power and became itself an unchecked ‘arbitrary’ power. As such it was an unreliable body to inspire confidence in the issue of assignats. The introduction of paper money issued by the state was not necessarily a bad thing, but could only be beneficial if certain conditions were met: State notes are good and advantageous if they are supported by confidence. They should only be issued by degrees, to prevent shocks in circulation. They should carry interest as long as it is not certain that by replacing cash they do not experience stagnation. Forcing people to accept them is violating properties. (1790 [1791]: 277) Isnard discusses each of the three conditions, the gradual issue, the payment of interest and the avoidance of force at some length. The gradual introduction of paper money could be done by repaying creditors of the state with notes instead of metallic money each time a repayment is due. Not only would this introduction be gradual, also ‘it produces no increase in prices of which any class of society could complain, since it replaces an issue of cash that is due’ (1790 [1791]: 265– 6). By replacing the cash that would have been released, the paper money does not add any additional money demand for goods; thus ‘[a]n issuance of paper money to repay [state] debt does not produce any new spending powers, it only gives it to those that have a right to it’ (ibid.: 270). The question whether the assignats should bear interest to the holder, one of the central points of discussion during the summer of 1790, is answered in the affirmative by Isnard for two reasons.59 First, the assignats should be considered as IOUs to finance state debt and in principle the financing of any debt should yield interest to the creditor (see ibid.: 272). Second and more pragmatically, Isnard argued that it was unlikely that the paper money would immediately be as readily accepted as cash. For this reason an interest to the holder would be required as an inducement to hold the new means of payment and as compensation for the risk of loss of value relative to coins (ibid.: 275). In

At the origins of mathematical economics


this context the engineer draws an interesting contrast between bank notes and ‘state notes’: Bank notes do not carry interest and that must remain so as long as they have the function of money, as long as their convertibility is certain, because like cash these paper monies do not experience stagnation. Bank notes differ from state notes in that trade and deposits establish themselves what is the quantity of paper that does not harm circulation. Who will dare to assure, on the other hand, what is the quantity of state notes that will not harm circulation? (1790 [1791]: 276; cf. ibid.: 275) What Isnard seems to suggest here, perhaps echoing John Law’s Real Bills Doctrine, is that competitive private banks would be less tempted to overissue notes, being constrained by the need to assure their convertibility. By contrast, the state would not feel constrained in quite the same way and hence would not know any clear limits to its issuance of paper. The lack of confidence of the public in state notes would only be compounded if it would be forced to accept these papers as means of payment, because ‘[n]othing demonstrates the weakness of the basis of confidence better than the duress to accept assignats’ (ibid.: 285). Instead of forcing the acceptance of the assignats the National Assembly should do everything to restore sound state finances and its fidelity in its commitments to creditors of the state. In fact, however, it was doing the opposite. Due to a collapse in tax receipts and many new revolutionary spending commitments, the state deficit was running out of control. The National Assembly did not even manage to publish an accurate estimate of the deficit.60 At the same time it was breaking the commitments of the state to its creditors by suspending payments and reducing interest rates (ibid.: 286–7). If the National Assembly would authorise the issuance of assignats in these circumstances Isnard feared a serious lack of confidence among the public in their stability. This could have disastrous effects for economic transactions: If confidence is not complete, representative money cannot maintain itself at par with effective [i.e. metallic] money […]. One will not know whether he who has gained by taking money will not lose more the next day when disposing of it. He who receives paper in payment of debts does not know how much he will lose when disposing of it, and he who has made a future contract does not know how much he will be paid at an agreed time. (ibid.: 281–2) This uncertainty would soon affect production, since ‘[t]here is no production without circulation or sale; there is no circulation or sale without confidence’ (ibid.: 279–80). The whole economy might go into a downwards spiral because ‘[w]hen all sources of products languish at the same time, the effect this has on each of them further influences

Main themes in isnard’s writings


all the others, and because of this the decline is progressive and increases very quickly’ (ibid.: 280). In summary, Isnard’s monetary theory may be summed up by the phrase ‘Everything rests on confidence’ (Tout gît dans la confiance (ibid.: 285)). While in the case of commodity money confidence in the medium of exchange is assured ‘naturally’, when paper is providing the ‘mediate utility’ of money social or political assurances are required. If these assurances are not credible paper becomes useless as a tool of exchange and this will cause real economic damage.

2.2 Social theory In the Traité des richesses there are strong indications that the economic ideas presented are part of a wider social theory. In the preface of the work Isnard expresses the hope to be contributing to a rather ambitious ‘science of man’ which reduces all knowledge ‘[…] to the goal of the physical and moral pleasures of man’. This science is expected to yield ‘[…] the principles of the social constitutions and the natural laws of morality and politics’ (1781, I: vii—viii). The surprising Cathéchisme social published three years after the Traité in 1784, must be considered as developing parts of the engineer’s ‘science of man’. It supplements many intriguing aspects to the economic theory of his earlier work, in particular with regards to Isnard’s thinking about the principles of society and human action. As in the Traité, one finds in the Cathéchisme distinct influences of the moderate, Pufendorfian jurisprudential tradition and of physiocratic social theory. In addition however, there is in the latter work a clear imprint of Condillacian sensualist philosophy not immediately apparent in his first work. Isnard may be said to combine these various intellectual influences in his own original blend of social theory. For a full understanding of Isnard’s political economy the manifold relations with these wider views on man and society would have to be explored. The aim of this section is more modest in that it only outlines some of the relevant themes. 2.2.1 The naturalness of society Throughout his writings Isnard expresses the deeply felt conviction that it is possible to distinguish between on the one hand ‘natural’ moral, political and economic arrangements according to which society should be shaped and those social arrangements that are ‘arbitrary’ and should be reformed. Modern readers may somewhat warily be tempted to ‘read through’ this rhetorical device, taking for granted that it was the kind of language quite commonly used by all kinds of political and economic authors in the eighteenth century. However, recent scholarship on more famous economists of period, such as Quesnay and Smith, has emphasised that the idiom reveals important intellectual influences, i.e. that the ‘language of natural jurisprudence’ played an important role in shaping ‘language of political economy’ (Pagden 1987:3). This point is certainly also relevant to Isnard. One crucial view the engineer takes over from the Pufendorfian jurisprudential tradition is that man is by nature an irreducibly social being and that society, rather than

At the origins of mathematical economics


being a conventional political pact, is a necessary means for satisfying human needs and potentials: There are natural causes that have established societies prior to the conventions of men. […] The physical and moral faculties of man render him social. A kind of instinct keeps him in society long before he has the moral capacity and the knowledge to draw up the laws necessary to the conservation of the social order. (1781, I: 2; cf. 1784:54–5) The view that society was ‘humanity’s primordial natural habitat’ was actually quite common during the Enlightenment (see Carrithers 1995:247–8). It involved rejection of the opinion that society and government were established by an ‘original contract’ of some kind as well as the Hobbesian view that the natural pre-societal state of man resembled a ‘warre of every man against every man’ (Hobbes 1981:190). Pufendorf (1632–94) and subsequent authors opposed to Hobbes’ view the argument that man’s physical constitution is such that he can survive only by co-operation with other men, and therefore that the natural condition of man should be considered a social one.61 In Isnard we find this perspective of the fundamental sociability of man not only deployed against Hobbes, but especially against Jean-Jacques Rousseau (see Isnard 1781, I: 57–60). The fundamental position that social theory should take as its starting point a natural, pre-political, social state (and not the condition of isolated individuals ‘outside society’) has direct implications for the interpretation of Isnard’s economic analysis of reproduction, wealth and value (see pp. 32–3). It is also related to his more general views about the status of legal and moral rules and of the power of government. In Isnard’s view, in the social state, imagined to exist (logically or historically) prior to any specific positive political and legal arrangements, understanding of what was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emerged out of necessity along with fundamental institutions such as property rights. He dismisses any author who expresses the opinion in whatever form that ‘just and unjust exist only by virtue of the conventions, treaties or laws of men’ (Isnard 1789e: 6). For example he critcises Helvétius (1759) for holding that […] the science of morality is one and the same thing as the science of legislation. This proposition follows from the system of that philosopher who regards laws as being founded on the will of men rather than on necessity. Arbitrary laws are the playthings of revolutions; laws that are necessary to social order are the work of nature and must be treated with veneration by men of all societies. (Isnard 1784:105; cf. 1781, I: 3 n. c) Helvétius is just one writer in a succession of early-modern political theorists who in Isnard’s view adhere to the dangerous Pyrrhonic viewpoint that ‘just and unjust’ are arbitrary categories. Among this group he also counts Montaigne (1784:49; 1789e:7), Hobbes (1781, I: 3; 1784:47, 105; 1789e: 6), Spinoza (1789e: 6), Locke (1784:49, 105; 1789e: 7), La Mettrie (1784:106) and Rousseau (1789e: 6).

Main themes in isnard’s writings


In contrast to such writers Isnard maintains that there are ‘laws necessary to social order’. In support of this approach he invokes a more mainstream canon of writers from Grotius and Pufendorf to Barbeirac and Wolff, and significantly also includes in this tradition Quesnay and Mercier de la Rivière.62 Isnard (1784:48) acknowledges that writers within this broad intellectual tradition developed very different theories of natural law. But nevertheless, he argues, ‘[w]hatever the differences in the definitions of natural laws, I always observe ends and means to achieve them; and whenever there will exist real or supposable ends and means to achieve them there will exist natural laws’ (1789e: 20; cf. 1781, I: 1–2; 1784:103–6). Thus the engineer is convinced that it is possible to recognise an overall purpose to society and that the legal arrangements within society, the proper moral conduct of the citizens and the role of the state can all be understood as means to its achievement. Needless to say that this conviction lends a strong prescriptive character to his social theory. In formulating his own views about the ‘purpose’ of society and the natural means to its achievement Isnard takes a typically ‘economic’ approach. That is to say, he places a great, though not exclusive, emphasis on material wellbeing as the purpose of the gathering of men in society. In this respect he is likely to have been influenced, once again, by the doctrines of Quesnay and his followers. The originality and, if one wants, perhaps crudeness of the physiocrats’ approach to natural law consists mainly of the very concrete, economic interpretation they give to society.63 In the article ‘Le droit naturel’ (1765) Quesnay insisted on the close connection between ‘moral laws’ and ‘physical laws’ stating: ‘I am […] taking moral law to mean the rule of all human action in the moral order conforming to the physical order wich is self-evidently the most advantageous to the human race’ (in Meek 1962:53; emphasis in original). In L’ordre naturel (1767) Mercier de la Rivière specified that society was in the first place a means to provide for the material needs of the citizens and that accordingly ‘[…] the greatest possible happiness for the social body consists in the greatest possible abundance of goods proper to our enjoyment’. These two texts are approvingly quoted by Isnard (1789e: 20; cf. 1791, I: 47). What appeals to the engineer is not precisely the remarkable link between natural law and agricultural prosperity one finds in the physiocrats, but somewhat more generally the association between natural law and economic prosperity. In the Cathéchisme social Isnard proposes that social happiness [le bonheur social] is the goal or end that makes the rules of human actions relative to each individual and relative to society obligatory […] By social happiness we mean a continuation of enjoyments and pleasures that increase by reason of submission to the rules of individual conservation and perfection and to the rules of the conservation, harmony and prosperity of society. (Isnard 1784:49–50; emphasis added) In the Traité des richesses this view about the purpose of society is repeated in striking statements like ‘[t]he aim of the political system is the consumption of objects of enjoyment’ (1781, I: xvi—xvii), which suggest that society is seen much more as a tool

At the origins of mathematical economics


for the attainment of the material wellbeing of citizens than a polity for the fulfilment of civic ideals.64 The fundamental social institution favouring prosperity is a set of private property rights in land, moveable wealth and one’s own person. In several places Isnard defends the necessity of a strict observance of private property rights against detractors such as Morelly, Raynal and Rousseau (see 1781, I: 6–8, II, 58 n.; cf. 1784:194). Any alternative system of economic control such as ‘a community of men who are equal in wealth, or [a social system] that is based on the will of a despot’ (1781, I: 8) he dismisses as being Utopian or not durable: ‘[o]nly the system founded on property suits the societies of men whose prosperity tends to increase continuously’ (ibid.). Although Isnard’s defence of the sanctity of private property has a utilitarian ring to it, it would go too far to say that he only advocates it for reasons of expediency. He also believes that a considerable autonomy of individual citizens in the exercise of economic liberties is just. It answers to the same ‘physical and moral faculties’ of man that necessitate society. Connected to this are Isnard’s views about the specific role for the state. Interestingly, he distinguishes quite clearly between the interest of the state and the public interest: ‘[…] the interest of the state […] can differ from the public interest since the former is the interest of the administration while the latter is the sum of private interests’ (1781, I: 103). Of the two, the public interest takes precedence since the state is conceived as a positive institution that exists primarily to enable the ‘natural’ social relations between citizens. Consequently, no government that understands its proper role can violate private property rights: they do not emanate from the arbitrary will of a sovereign or legislator but from the social interaction of individuals. Isnard’s insistence that ‘[t]he public interest can only be the sum of the private interests’ (ibid.: 102) even seems to imply a denial of the very existence of any higher legitimate authority in society, be it ‘the prince’ or the ‘general will’. With regards to the monarchy however, Isnard’s position is a little complicated. At the beginning of the Revolution he shows himself a fervent supporter of the hereditary monarchy. The monarchy he has in mind though is one in which the king is a guarantor of the property rights of citizens. He states that ‘[a]ny people among whom every class can trust that the Sovereign cannot violate their rights without their consent is free. France, therefore, has become free again from the day the Letters of the convocation of the Estates-General were published’ (Isnard 1789e: 70). In keeping with physiocratic views on the role of the state, the sovereign should strictly refrain from any paternalistic interventions in the economy. Sovereigns are not ‘distributors of goods’ and do not ‘owe their subjects their subsistence’. Instead, [i]t is the duty of Kings to guarantee their subjects the enjoyment and the largest possible product of the fruit of their labours for their subsistence or for their happiness, through protection and the administration of public expenditure: but it is not the duty of Kings to provide subsistence to their peoples. (Isnard 1781, I: 9)65 It has to be said that during the first three years of the Revolution the engineer expresses great, even naive, trust that the king would be prepared to abjure the previously ‘despotic’

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exercise of his rule and let himself be constrained by ‘natural laws’. However, his strident royalism, expressed in many places in his periodical Les devoirs (1790–1), may be explained at least in part by his abhorrence for what he sees as the ultimate alternative: mob rule. This he fears will lead to unprecedented violations of individual liberties. In an interesting pamphlet of October 1789, ‘Observations on the principle that has produced the revolutions…’ he singles out Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s doctrine of the ‘general will’ as the wrongheaded political theory that may ‘[…] rob France of the House of Bourbon, and which may, to the misfortune of Europe, for a long time yet ferment inside the heads of men agitated by a tinge of political thought’ (Isnard 1789e: 4). It is simply wrong, Isnard argues, that social laws emanate from a ‘general will’: ‘No will makes the law, Reason alone makes the law’ (ibid.: 22; emphasis in original). How can it be believed that the majority of the people or a representative council has an instinctive political awareness of what the right laws are? Only an understanding of the purpose of society by a small body of wise legislators can guarantee positive legislation in accordance with the natural principles of society. The interests of the various classes of citizens cannot be subsumed in some common political ideal. Class interests are opposed and therefore property-owning minorities must be protected from the ‘will’ of the property-less majority (see esp. ibid.: 39–42, 65). In sum, Isnard’s social philosophy belongs to the moderate French Enlightenment which was shocked by the sudden political radicalism of the early Revolution. In his view, society was based fundamentally on the commercial sociability of citizens who affirmed each other’s individual rights in order to safeguard the achievement of the material wellbeing that was the principal purpose of society. It was fundamentally at odds with the ‘democratic’ view of society, in which the ‘general will’ replaced the precepts of natural law and the ‘common good’ might overrule individual rights. 2.2.2 Human motivation, interests and habits Isnard’s views on the nature of society as a means for the ‘continuation of enjoyments and pleasures’ are closely related to his understanding of individual human nature. In the previous section it was noted briefly that his writings exhibit a basic trust in the capacity of citizens to exercise economic liberties in an orderly manner. In this section this point is elaborated by means of a short discussion of the theory of human action that is developed most systematically in the Cathéchisme social. In the early chapters of that work there is a noticeable influence on the engineer’s thought of French sensationalist philosophy. In particular one is reminded of Condillac’s philosophy of the development of mental capacities, while there are also hints of more radical materialist views of Helvétius, Holbach and La Mettrie. To a large extent Isnard shares the view of these writers that the notion that man would possess any innate inclinations or behaviours must be rejected. He takes it for granted that ‘[i]t is nowadays recognised, and it has been well demonstrated, that the mind only receives its ideas from the senses’ (1784:16) and that all sentient beings, humans included, build up their mental faculties by operating on the basis of the basic rule ‘[…] to avoid what is contrary to them and to be attracted to what agrees with them’ (ibid.: 17). This principle is developed in some interesting ways.

At the origins of mathematical economics


First, following Condillac, Isnard sees the instinctive urge to avoid pain and seek pleasure as a faculty that develops progressively as sensations and passions become more complex and refined: ‘[…] the instinct grows relative to the passions of which sentient beings are susceptible. Man perfects his instinct through the perfection of his sensory faculties’ (ibid.: 21; cf. 52–3). It does not seem fanciful to suggest a direct relation between this dynamic conception of the development and refinement of human ideas and needs under the influence of outside stimuli and the ideas in the Traité about the developing range of needs of ‘man in society’ in response to increasing wealth (see pp. 40–1). Second, to some extent sensationalist philosophy eroded the Cartesian dualism of body and mind in the sense that the higher mental faculties, such as ‘representation’ and ‘reflection’, were also seen to derive from, or at least be analogous to, more primitive powers of response to sensations.66 This view is also held by Isnard (ibid.: 21ff.) and explains his basic agreement with Helvétius that ‘[…] pleasure and pain are the motivating forces, not only of the instinct, the sentiments and the passions, but also of the will’ (ibid.: 80). However, this does not prevent the engineer from insisting on a clear distinction between the instinct, which is an involuntary faculty of response to immediate and bodily sensations, and the will, which ‘[…] acts by virtue of reflection’ (ibid.: 42). For Isnard the principal reason to make this distinction is that the very capacity to postpone one’s response to sensations and choose between immediate and more remote options is what constitutes man’s free will: ‘The freedom of man consists in his power to deliberate and to choose. If he has within him a power that chooses and decides then he is free’ (ibid.: 39). He defends this position against radical materialist writers such as La Mettrie and Holbach who deny the existence of free will (see ibid.). Perhaps this attempt to combine a voluntarist position with a profession that pleasure and pain are the ultimate motivating forces of man would not stand up to close philosophical scrutiny. However, for Isnard the existence of free will is not incompatible with the insight that man is never immune to self-seeking urges. He is quite happy to dissociate the notion of free will from that of a capacity for ‘selfless’ choice: ‘From the fact that man never decides without a motive and without interest, [some authors] have concluded that he would not be free. But freedom does not consist in the capacity to decide without a motive’ (ibid.: 38–9; emphasis added). Instead, freedom is a kind of autonomy that derives from the ability to compare and choose between various motives and passions: It is through the exercise of this faculty that [man] can become the master of his actions and oppose the effects of the instinct and the passions, or the impulses of his organs. Through reflection he establishes within himself a means of resisting the passions. (ibid.: 38) Again a relation with the engineer’s political economy may be suggested. It seems that the belief that individuals can develop an autonomous capacity for making decisions in a deliberate, considered manner according to their personal interests provides a philosophical underpinning for the more casual observations about individuals’ aptitude for successful decision-making in the Traité des richesses.67

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There Isnard expresses a striking confidence in the initiative of private citizens, while at the same time showing a distinct lack of faith in government interventions. He states as a general conviction that ‘[e]very individual, trying to obtain the largest benefits at the smallest possible costs, enters into the smallest details of productive economy in order to succeed in this’ (Isnard 1781, I: 189). Since individual entrepreneurs are guided by their ‘hope for profit and economy’ they can be expected to do a better job directing economic activities than a central ‘administrator’ could ever do: The sum of the private calculations of merchants and producers is more reliable than the calculation of a drafter of prohibitive laws can be. A renowned Author complains that by allowing freedom one confides the interest of the State to the ignorance of private interest. It seems to me that the sum of knowledge that traders acquire through exercise and experience, and the speculations that are dictated by their interests far exceeds the views of an administrator. And that there is a lot of presumption in believing that one can be powerful enough to direct the private operations of trade by general orders, in such a manner that the nation as a whole draws a greater advantage than through the course of private industry. Trade honours the Sovereign that protects it, but it will not recognise a general director of its operations. (Isnard 1781, I: 189) The almost Hayekian point in this passage about the inability of a ‘general director’ to process dispersed ‘private knowledge’ may give the impression that Isnard adhered to a radical form of economic individualism and liberalism. In fact, his position is more complicated. In the first place, while citizens can be trusted to know how to advance their personal interests, an understanding of the interests of society, or proper moral conduct does not come ‘naturally’. He puts great stress on the point that citizens need to achieve, through reflection and instruction, an understanding of the proper conduct required for the persistence of society. There is a special reason why he calls the virtues that are necessary for the persistence of society the ‘reflected virtues’ (vertus réfléchies). The persistence of society being a remote goal, humans do not have a strong ‘natural’ inclination towards the observance of these virtues: ‘[t]he virtues that are necessary to the order of society are the ones that are most difficult to inculcate, because man does not always feel this necessity as forcefully: nature is more open to the sentiments’ (Isnard 1784:190). The principal ‘reflected virtue’ is ‘[j]ustice [which] is founded on the utility of society, and on the necessity of the determination of reciprocal rights and the safeguarding of those rights’ (ibid.: 190).68 It is important to note an important difference with Scottish moral philosophy in the sense that Isnard takes a rather rationalistic view of justice: Justice is principally a virtue of reflection: it is only linked to the sentiment by the analogy that it can have with the love for the general good. Those philosophers who have founded [justice], like other virtues, on a universal benevolence, and have attributed its origin to that

At the origins of mathematical economics


sentiment, have rid justice of one of its principal properties, that of being one of the first products of human reason. (ibid.: 189–90; emphasis added) The implication of this is that citizens require a consciously shaped understanding of the purpose of society before they will feel the obligation to observe these virtues. For this reason Isnard insists on a formal moral education for all citizens. Here he follows the views of the physiocrats quite closely on the necessity to instill social mores through education (see Albertone 1986). In fact, the conviction that moral behaviour requires a conscious understanding of its function within the social system is found more generally among French moral philosophers of the period and it is this rationalistic stance that has been blamed for a general contemporaneous miscomprehension of Scottish moral sense theories across the Channel (see Faccarello and Steiner 2002). There is however a further, rather surprising dimension to Isnard’s moral philosophy. To understand its significance, consider his appreciation of moral sense theories: Hutchetson [sic] and the Shafteburists [sic] have argued that there is in the mind a faculty to discern good and bad which is independent from any reflection; that the functions of this faculty are analogous to those of the senses and that good and bad [actions] cause involuntary sensations of pleasure and aversion. This subtle idea has not been much adopted. The habit of distinguishing between good and bad can give to the mind a finesse of tact that makes it suited to this operation prior to the exercise of reflection. But this faculty is not at all innate, and man can only distinguish between good and bad after having received instruction about the relations of good and bad. (Isnard 1784:49) The criticism of the ‘moral sense’ expressed in the last sentence can be understood in the context of what has been said in the previous paragraph. However, it should also be noted that the engineer is rather taken with the notion that humans would be able to develop a ‘faculty to discern good and bad which is independent from any reflection’. He argues that this faculty is not ‘innate’ but can be developed through ‘habit’. A consistent theme of the Cathéchisme is that besides reflective, interested motivations, there is also a strong unreflective side to human nature. This ‘blind’ side consists of passions and sentiments, habits and routines. Isnard presents his moral theory as an attempt to give a balanced account of the two sides of human decision-making (see ibid.: 43–4). There are many observations about the interplay between reflective, willed human action and unreflective, spontaneous or routine, action. In some cases the two are presented as complementary, in other cases as corrective to one another. An example of complimentary interaction is Isnard’s description of how the execution of a man’s conscious decisions is often delegated to habitual dispositions: In almost all cases the will of man only has to give the first order, and it seems that it has below it subordinate wills which, by obeying that general order, execute all its details, without informing it and without waiting for

Main themes in isnard’s writings


particular orders. This execution is even swifter than the exercise of reflection, which directs the principal will. These subordinate wills have a great analogy with the instinct, or with the will of the animal, which once launched, acts and produces various effects, because it has acted similarly before and produced similar effects, and because the organs are mechanically disposed to produce them. (ibid.: 42) Rejecting the notion of instinct as a ‘premonition or a predetermination that is independent from sensations and knowledge’ the engineer puts considerable stress on the influence of ‘habit’ on human behaviour. Habit ‘[…] is produced through the repetition of sensations, ideas and actions’. The very repetition of actions and ideas make the body and the mind ‘mechanically disposed’ to repeating them again in the future.69 According to Isnard ‘habit’ plays an important role in shaping man’s moral behaviour: ‘Man is born with the aptitude to become virtuous or depraved. His sentiments are turned towards vice or virtue depending on the habits of vice and virtue which he acquires’ (ibid.: 77; emphasis added). Perhaps surprisingly, he warns against the danger of citizens becoming all too calculating. While, as we saw, Isnard affirms the self-interested nature of man, he is at the same time at pains to deny that a citizen is, or should be, guided by calculations of his personal interest alone. He opposes writers who, after the duke de la Rochefoucauld (1613–80), argue that man is led in all his actions by his amour de soi,70 stating: ‘Those who have regarded self-love as the only motivating force of actions have extended their doctrine too far by denying the existence of moral sentiments, or at least by reducing them to the cold effects of interested reflection’ (ibid.: 80). The great danger of this doctrine is that it encourages citizens to be ‘egoists’, or calculative in the extreme. The egoist is ‘[s]omeone who relates all his actions to his personal interests’ (ibid.: 239). He is so accustomed to calculating the results of all his actions that his mind is committed to calculation when nature is about to produce a sentiment. The sentiments lose out through detrimental habits. Egoism is a self-love that is so exaggerated that it extinguishes most of the virtuous sentiments and so blind that it neglects the interests of society, which is necessary to his personal interest. (ibid.) In the engineer’s opinion, interested calculation is an unreliable basis for morality, because in weighing up his personal advantages man is too easily swayed by material gains and sensual pleasures (see ibid.: 78). Instead unreflective social sentiments should be cultivated. Here there is an important role for the force of habit. The inculcation of virtuous behaviour through imitation and repetition creates a predisposition to moral action that is akin to a moral sense. As a result of this process, [h]abit gains such ascendancy over conduct that man ends up acting well without having to overcome himself, and without realising that he is obeying duties. The practice of virtues fortified by habit is nothing to be embarrassed about. Man is fully compensated for the kind of

At the origins of mathematical economics


embarrassment he often experiences when contracting habits by the ease of acting virtuously. (ibid.: 127) In the Cathéchisme social Isnard thus recognises three kinds of mental forces influencing human behaviour. In the first place, men possess a power of deliberation that allows them to choose between their various personal interests. It is this capacity which Hirschman (1977:38) has described as ‘[…] a disciplined understanding of what it takes to advance one’s power, influence and wealth’. For Isnard, however, this combat des passions is not a sufficient guarantee that citizens will not conduct themselves in socially harmful, opportunistic ways. Therefore a second force moderating the behaviour of men living in society is a set of vertus réfléchies. It arises from an understanding of the rules that should be obeyed for the sake of the persistence of society. However, the engineer acknowledges that for humans who in all their actions are guided by the principle of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, it is not always easy to choose in the ‘interest of society’: The virtues that are necessary to the order of society are the ones that are most difficult to inculcate, because man does not always feel this necessity as forcefully […]’ (Isnard 1784:190). Therefore it is necessary to recognise a third, unreflective side of human action. Morality cannot be reduced to a rational calculation of personal interests versus the interests of society. Unreflective sentiments and habits control a large part of human behaviour and for the sake of harmonious social relations these should be cultivated. Altogether, Isnard’s account of deliberate and non-deliberate human action in the Cathéchisme social is considerably richer than what one finds in the Traité des richesses. It is surprising especially if one considers that the engineer’s modern reputation as an economic theorist is based on mathematical contributions that at first sight seem largely devoid of any substantial assumptions about the deliberation (or non-deliberation) of economic agents. While those formal analyses of exchange and production remain his most original and lasting contributions to economic theory, the above may serve as a reminder that they were meant as only a small part of a wider and more complex ‘science of man’.

3 Reception and influence of Isnard’s writings Having attempted to provide an outline of the full breadth of the engineer’s social thought, it is important to remind the reader of the very limited and narrow impact of Isnard’s work. As was stated in the introduction it took nearly a century from the publication of Traité des richesses before any real significance was attributed to the principal mathematical passages in this work, while the bulk of his writings has been ignored completely until the present day. One may think that such a sweeping statement is bound not to stand up to very close scrutiny. Indeed, since Isnard was never completely forgotten, as is attested by entries in a number of nineteenthcentury biographical and economic dictionaries (see p. 424, n. 1), it seems reasonable to expect that a detailed search would turn up at least some traces of influence of his ideas. Therefore, in conclusion of the introductory part of this book, here follows a short account of a, probably incomplete, effort to trawl the economic literature of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for such traces. Three groups of authors in particular would seem more likely candidates to at least have known about Isnard’s work. First, there were his colleagues of the corps des Ponts et Chaussées. Among these engineers there had always been some interest in social and economic issues. Even before the Revolution a small number of them—Théré (1998:39) counts 15—published on economic subjects. After the Revolution the writings of various Ponts engineers and of the later founded École polytechnique would display a distinct approach to economic questions giving rise to a particularly French ‘econoengineering tradition’ (Ekelund and Hébert 1999:4). The question is whether Isnard can properly be said to belong to this tradition. On the basis of the objective but somewhat superficial criterion that Isnard was an engineer trained at the École des Ponts et Chaussées who subsequently published on economic subjects, he is undeniably an ‘econo-engineer’. It is presumably for this reason that Roy (1945:17) even names him as the founding father of this tradition.1 However, for Isnard to be recognised as such in a meaningful sense of the term one would like to find some direct influence of his writings on later engineers. There appears to be little evidence of this. To give but one example, the engineer Joseph-Michel Dutens (1765– 1848) would at first sight seem a prime suspect: he was named engineer in the department of the Eure in 1793 not long after Isnard had left this position and published a general economic treatise in 1804. A reading of this unremarkable Analyse raisonnée, though, reveals that Dutens’ primary influences at the time were Adam Smith and to a lesser extent Quesnay, but not Isnard.2 Similar lack of textual evidence prevents us from establishing direct links with later and more famous engineer-economists like Jules Dupuit (1804–66) and Antoine Augustin Cournot (1801–77).3 It has to be said that the French econo-engineering tradition seems

At the origins of mathematical economics


to have been more an institutional than a doctrinal one. That is to say, the specific scholarly climate and the training received by French engineers gave rise with some frequency to men who applied their skills to writing on public administration and related economic issues. It is less evident that these individuals contributed to a single body of ideas that was built on, or criticised by, subsequent generations of engineers. At least, if such a cumulative effort existed, Isnard’s writings were not part of it. A second group of writers who might be thought to have had exposure to Isnard’s ideas are the Ideologues. As we saw (p. 21), during his membership of the Tribunat Isnard will have had some association with this group. We also know that Jean-Baptiste Say certainly knew Isnard, though nothing is known about the depth of this acquaintance. The possibility that Isnard influenced some of the economic views of the young Say cannot be discounted completely. Perusing the Traité d‘économie politique (1803) one gets the impression that Say would have found much of interest in the Traité des richesses. Most striking in this respect is perhaps Say’s notion of production, which he presents, like Isnard, as a critique of physiocratic doctrine. Echoing Isnard, Say maintains that ‘[…] production is not creation, [but] production of utility’ (Say 1803:24). While there are no direct quotations, Say’s general treatment of production as a technical process in which human and non-human physical forces are combined to alter the suitability of objects to needs and desires is certainly reminiscent of that of his fellow tribun (see especially Say 1803, I: chapter ix).4 Nevertheless, even if Say may have approved of some of Isnard’s basic economic notions, he treated any attempts to give formal mathematical expressions to such ideas with disdain: ‘[…] it is useless to apply algebraic formulas to the demonstrations of political economy. No quantity in [this science] is susceptible to a rigorous appraisal’ (Say 1803: xxiv). This statement has often been interpreted as a response to Canard’s work, but may also be a critique of what Isnard had tried to do. A third group of authors among whom Isnard’s work might have had an influence is the small number of economic writers of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries who did attempt to apply mathematics. Again, however, scant textual evidence can be found. The algebra of NicolasFrançois Canard (1750–1833) in his Principes d’Économie Politique (1801) bears little resemblance to that of Isnard, despite the fact that both men apply themselves to the rejection of the physiocratic theory of taxation.5 Similarly, the possibility that Isnard exercised an influence on the writings of CharlesFrançois ois Bicquilley (1738–1814) is discounted by the authority on the latter’s work (Crépel 1998:93).6 The only clear indication that the engineer’s contribution to mathematical economics was known at all comes from Italy. Even before the Revolution Isnard’s attempts in this field are mentioned by Guglielmo Silio in his Saggia su’ l’influenza dell’analisi nelle Science Politiche ed Economiche of 1788 (see Bianchini 2002:143).7 After the French Revolution, Say’s dislike for attempts at mathematical economics seems to have been the predominant attitude. Perhaps the only early nineteenth-century economic writer who may have made something of the mathematical passages in the Traité des richesses was Joseph Lang (1775?-1820?). Although Lang does not quote Isnard anywhere in his Grundlinien der politischen Arithmetik (1811), Theocharis (1958) claims that ‘Lang must have known the work of Isnard, because his influence is obvious’. Some of the parallels indicated by Theocharis do indeed lend support to this claim. On

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the other hand, like Isnard, Lang is likely to have developed his own ideas on circular flow and income identities from a study of the Tableau économique (see Uebe 1992). Consequently, the similarities between the ideas of the two men may merely have been the result of their separate attempts to develop Quesnay’s model.8 With the possible exception of Lang therefore, it appears that the mathematical passages in the Traité held little fascination to the limited number of readers who will have come across the work in the first half of the nineteenth century. One such reader was John Ramsay McCulloch. The Scotsman’s short discussion in The Literature of Political Economy (McCulloch 1845:20–1) is rare, positive proof that Isnard’s book was at least not completely forgotten in this period. It also shows what a British classical economist found of interest in this, by then old, treatise: Isnard’s criticism of the physiocratic theory of production and taxation is praised, as well as his arguments in favour of free trade and the vindication of the employment of machinery. But not a word is devoted to the mathematical passages. An appreciation of these contributions had to wait until Léon Walras. As discussed above, William Jaffé has made a detailed case for the claim that Isnard was ‘a direct progenitor of the Walrasian general equilibrium model’ (Jaffé 1969:20). In light of the lack of demonstrable influence before 1878, it should be highlighted here what a complete reversal this represents in the fate of Isnard’s work. If Jaffé’s claim is correct, after having been ignored for nearly a century by everyone but a few obscure readers, Isnard’s contributions became an inspiration to an economic theorist whose writings would be among the most influential of the twentieth century. After Walras, the reception of the engineer’s work resumed its previous low profile. Moreover, it seems safe to say that during the twentieth century it did not again inspire original work and had definitively become of historical and antiquarian interest only. This implies that comparisons with the work of economic theorists of the previous century are not a matter of intellectual indebtedness and therefore goes beyond the topic of this chapter. Nevertheless, in conclusion, it is worth noting briefly two high-ranking theorists with whose work Isnard has been associated. First, there is the developer of modern input-output theory, Wassily Leontief (1906– 99). Some commentators have pointed out the affinity between the engineer’s approach to the study of reproduction as an interdependent, quantifiable system and input-output analysis (Theocharis 1961:67 n.l; Gilibert 1981; Baumol 2000). It should be noted that at first sight, the presumed parallels between the approaches of the two men do not seem to run very deep. The primary purpose for which Leontief models have been used is to determine which outputs are necessary in order to satisfy an exogenously determined ‘final demand’. This ‘final demand’ cannot really be conflated with ‘surplus’, or ‘disposable wealth’ in Isnard’s sense, because it constitutes the remuneration, in real terms, of the primary production factor(s). Also, since payments to the primary production factor(s) are fixed in such a manner that it allows the final goods to be purchased, no real problematic of distribution à la Isnard appears to be present (see Steenge and van den Berg 2001:142–4). However, these reservations relate to Leontief s mature, more empirically oriented work. In contrast, Kurz and Salvadori (2000) make some interesting observations about the early economic thought of Leontief. They note that in the article ‘Die Wirtschaft als Kreislauf’ of 1928 the young Leontief presents a two-sector model that produces a

At the origins of mathematical economics


physical surplus of which the distribution is not fixed. He argues that reproduction can continue within a range of relative prices, while he points out that the distribution of the surplus varies with changes in the exchange ratio between the commodities. Commenting on this early interest in such theoretical issues, Kurz and Salvadori (2000:171) quite rightly perceive ‘[…] a striking similarity between Leontief s considerations and those of Isnard’. Of course, that is not to claim that Leontief was influenced by Isnard: it is unknown whether Leontief, who admired Quesnay’s work and famously referred to his own model as a modern Tableau, even knew of Isnard’s work. A similar thing is true for a second theorist, Piero Sraffa (1898–1983). William Jaffé (1969:38 n. 44) has argued that it is ‘[…] justifiable to consider [Isnard] a precursor of Piero Sraffa’s theory of Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities’. As has been suggested earlier (p. 38), claims about the similarities between the theories of economic reproduction of the two men should not be pushed too far. To be precise, they should not be pushed much beyond the content of the first four paragraphs of Production of Commodities (Sraffa 1960:3–7). Those short paragraphs however set out a conception of the economy as a system of physical reproduction that is indeed strikingly similar to that of Isnard.9 Surely, Sraffa would have been fascinated by the two-sector système on page 36, volume I of the Traité des richesses. However, despite Sraffa’s keen interest in eighteenth-century economics and even in the mathematical contributions of the period,10 no evidence has been found to indicate that he knew Isnard’s work.11

Part B Texts and translation

On the following pages a selection of Isnard’s writings is presented in English translation alongside the original French texts. There are two main reasons why this form of presentation is chosen. First, original copies of most of Isnard’s publications are very rare. Including the French texts improves the accessibility of at least part of the engineer’s writings for those able to read the originals. Second, it is hoped that having the French printed next to the translations absolves the translator to some extent from having to justify the rendering in English of a large number of difficult terms and phrases. Isnard is not an easy author to translate, partly because his style of writing is at times less than fluent, but also due to the novel and technical nature of some of his thought. This leads the engineer to coin new terms or to use existing terms in idiosyncratic senses. While it has been tried in all cases to give faithful translations by resisting the temptation to improve upon formulations too much and by avoiding modern economic terms that express concepts that Isnard may not have had in mind, the reader may at any time refer to the original French wording. In that way when, for example, richesses foncières is somewhat unsatisfactorily translated as fixed capital the reader is in a position to disagree. Throughout the texts the original pagination is indicated within square brackets. Occasionally, when it is judged essential for a right understanding, words have been added in the translation where they were absent in the original, again in square brackets. There are two types of notes: all original notes by Isnard use letters and are placed at the bottom of the page; all numbered notes are additions by the present writer.

Treatise on wealth Containing the analysis of the use of wealth in general and of values; the natural principles and laws of the circulation of wealth, of its distribution, of trade, of the circulation of moneys and of taxation, and historical investigations into the changes the rights of public and private property have experienced in France since the beginning of the monarchy. (1781) For the king has rights over all these things, while each citizen has the ownership of them. Senec[a], de beneficiis, Lib. VII cap. 4. [2.8]

FIRST VOLUME [v] Preliminary discourse about the necessity of education and about the subject of this work […] [xii] Since my earliest youth I heard reasoning about politics, trade, and finance, and I much desired to reason about it too. As I grew older, I was surprised that the science of those subjects did not come to me, as it did to everybody else, by a specially infused grace of nature, and that one could talk so well about it without having studied it, while one had hardly anything to say about those subjects one had studied the most. Annoyed by this refusal of nature and because it responded so badly to my ardour (because I could not accept obscure ideas communicated to me by the organ of its favoured in exchange for the favours to which I aspired) I gave up pretending with the aid of grace and I decided to study. The authors I have used can be divided into three classes. The first have developed the social system of M.Quesnay. This system is founded upon the right of property, and it has as its goal to reach the [xiii] largest possible population through the greatest affluence and the greatest wealth. Others have taken as their goal to achieve wealth through Traité des richesses Contenant l’ analyse de l’usage des richesses en général & de leurs valeurs ; les principes & les loix naturelles de la circulation des richesses, de leur distribution, du commerce, de la circulation des monnoies & de l’impôt, & des recherches historiques sur les revolutions que les droits de propriété publics & particuliers ont | éprouvées en France depuis l’origine de la Monarchic. (1781)

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Ad reges potestas omnium pertinet, ad singulos proprietor. Senec. De beneficiis, lib. VII, cap. 4. TOME PREMIER [v] Discourse Préliminaire sur la Nécessité de l’Instruction et sur l’Objet de cet Ouvrage […] [xii] Dès ma plus tendre jeunesse, j’entendois raisonner sur la politique, le commerce & les finances, & je desirois beaucoup en raisonner aussi : je m’étonnois en avançant en âge, que la science de ces objets ne me vînt pas, comme à tout le monde, par une grace de nature spécialement infuse, & qu’on en raisonnât si bien sans l’avoir étudiée, tandis qu’on parloit a peine de celles que l’on étudioit le plus : ennuyé de ce refus de la nature & de ce qu’elle répondoit si peu a mon ardeur, (car je ne pouvois prendre les idées obscures qu’elles me communiquoit par l’organe de ses favoris pour les faveurs auxquelles j’aspirois) je renonçai de prétendre au secours de la grace & je résolus d’étudier. Les auteurs dont j’ai fait usage peuvent être ranges en trois classes. Les uns ont développé le systême social, de M.Quesnay ; ce systême est fondé sur le droit de propriété, & il a pour objet de parvenir à la plus [xiii] grande population qu’il soit possible par la plus grande aisance & la plus grande richesse. Les autres ont eu pour objet de parvenir à la richesse par population, even disregarding the rights of property and the natural laws of production. Among the latter, some have adopted the political system of the English, following its principles favouring production and the trade of foodstuffs, others have adopted the maxims followed by minister Colbert1 by sacrificing even production and the trade of foodstuffs to the interior population of states. Finally, the last ones have maintained various propositions of the preceding systems by combining the fundamental maxims of those systems.d In the course of this work we will demonstrate that M.Quesnay and the Economists who have followed his doctrine have established four erroneous propositions, to wit: 1. Agriculture is the unique source of wealth. 2. Industry does not multiply wealth. 3. Taxes can only be levied on the net product of the land. 4. The Sovereign is joint proprietor of the net product. We will demonstrate that the English, Colbert and their sectarians have based their political laws on the wrong principles, and on maxims contrary to the natural rights of property, without which [xiv] no society can hope to arrive at the degree of prosperity to which it is susceptible. This work is divided into two parts. In the first we will deal with wealth in general, the relations between different kinds of wealth, and their relation with circulation. We will examine what the natural laws of society are, and what are the rights proper to the conservation and the prosperity of states. We will see that the right of property is a fundamental right of societies. We will analyse goods useful to enjoyment and production, and the industry that produces them. We will demonstrate that the activity of

At the origins of mathematical economics


man adds to the activity of nature, and increases the number of qualities produced by nature. It is in this way that industry multiplies wealth. We will investigate in what manner agricultural goods and the products of industry acquire values and what their ratios are. We will compare the different kinds of wealth to each other, and then we will compare them to one of their number. This last comparison not only gives people the means to calculate the value of wealth by a numéraire or a common measure, but also to use the commodities that have the greatest value in the smallest volume as pledges of all others, and to employ them as moneys. The results we will have discovered about values in general will be applied to the values of the works of men, of lands and of the interest of capital. d The truest maxims of politics are often the result of false principles.

la population, au mépris même des droits de propriété & des loix naturelles de la production : parmi ces derniers, les uns ont adopté le systême politique des Anglois qui en suivant ces principes ont accordé les plus grandes faveurs à la production & au commerce des subsistances, les autres ont adopté les maximes qu’a suivies le ministre Colbert en sacrifiant même la production & le commerce des subsistances à la population intérieure des états ; les derniers enfin ont adopté des systêmes mixtes, & ont soutenu les systêmes précédens, en employ ant alternativement les maximes fondamentales de ces systêmes.(d) Nous démontrerons dans le cours de cet ouvrage que M.Quesnay & les économistes, qui ont suivi sa doctrine, ont établi quatre propositions erronées, savoir : 1°. L’agriculture est l’unique source de richesse. 2°. L’industrie ne multiplie pas les richesses. 3°. L’impôt ne doit être pris que sur le produit net des terres. 4°. Le souverain est co-propriétaire du produit net. Nous démontrerons que les Anglois, Colbert & leurs sectateurs, ont établi leurs loix politiques sur de faux principes, & sur des maximes contraires aux droits naturels de la propriété, sans lesquels [xiv] nulle société ne peut espérer parvenir au degré de prospérité dont elle est susceptible. Cet ouvrage sera divisé en deux parties. Dans la premiere nous traiterons des richesses en général, de leurs rapports entr’elles, & de leur rapport avec la circulation. Nous examinerons quelles sont les loix naturelles de la société, & les droits propres à la conservation & à la prospérité des états. Nous verrons que le droit de propriété est un droit fondamental des sociétés. Nous ferrons l’analyse des biens propres aux jouissances & à la production, & de l’industrie qui les produit. Nous démontrerons que l’action des hommes ajoute à l’action de la nature, & accroît le nombre des qualités produites par la nature, c’est ainsi que l’industrie multiplie les richesses. Nous rechercherons de quelle maniere les biens de la terre & les productions de l’industrie acquierent des valeurs & quels sont leurs rapports. Nous comparerons les richesses entr’elles, & nous les comparerons ensuite a une d’elles ; cette derniere comparaison donne aux hommes le moyen non seulement de calculer la valeur des richesses sur un numéraire ou sur une mesure commune, mais encore de se servir de

Texts and translation


marchandises qui ont le plus de valeur sous le moins de volume comme gages de toutes les autres, & de les employer comme monnoies. Les résultats que nous aurons découverts sur les valeurs générates seront appliqués aux valeurs des travaux des hommes, des biens fonds & de l’intérêt des capitaux. (d) Les maximes les plus vraies de la politique sont souvent dans les auteurs le résultat de faux principes.

We will see in what manner the quantities of each type of wealth are determined, and what [xv] are the limits to their increase, and the ratios according to which sources of products are allocated. Among the total mass of wealth we will make a distinction between that part which is employed in production and that employed for the enjoyment and consumption of men. The former is necessary to production the latter is disposable. One should employ as much wealth as possible in production in order to increase general wealth. But economy dictates that the employment of productive expenditures is directed in such a way that the costs are as small as possible relative to production. It is a mistake to maintain that there is any kind of wealth that does not yield a net product, or a product above costs. Of all particular kinds of products, one part belongs to production, the other to enjoyment. The sum of the parts belonging to production forms the general mass of the costs of production, the sum of the other parts forms the general mass of disposable wealth. The values of individual products determine the share of the total mass of disposable wealth that devolves to each producer. This share varies with the difference between the values of products and of the objects necessary to production, which the producer has to purchase. After having dealt with wealth in general and the relations between different kinds of wealth, we will analyse their circulation, first between the classes of citizens, then in relation to expenditures, consumption and sale. On the one hand the order of expenditures is determined by the distribution of wealth, on the other hand by the necessary ratio between the costs of production and [xvi] objects of enjoyment. The expenditures of production assist and favour one another mutually. The consumption of objects of enjoyment also favours the expenditures of production. Agriculture or the production of subsistence goods is the source of other products. When agricultural nations neglect the cultivation of their lands and employ their productive capitals in an artificial manner contrary to the natural order, they adorn themselves with false splendour, and ruin the fundaments of their political structure. Industry is the daughter of agriculture, and contributes with the latter to the growth of wealth of the state. Both need to be nourished and maintained by the total mass of wealth. They need productive capitals and productive expenditures. Agriculture prospers under the reign of liberty. She still retains some productive capitals when the yoke of oppression weighs her down. Industry is more fickle. She requires the assiduity of a skilful courtesan to inspire confidence in her, to assure her the protection and liberty she requires. Nature has provided for the propagation of men and animals. Man is rather weak when he wants to add to the fundamental laws of nature. For the increase and multiplication of wealth she requires the labour of men,

At the origins of mathematical economics


Nous verrons de quelle maniere les quantités de chaque espece de richesses sont déterminées, & quelles [xv] sont les limites de leur accroissement, & les rapports entre lesquels elles se partagent entr’elles les sources de leurs productions. Dans la masse totale des richesses nous ferons une distinction de celles qui sont employées à la production & de celles qui sont employées aux jouissances & à la consommation des hommes; les unes sont nécessaires à la production, les autres sont disponibles. Il faut employer les plus de richesses qu’il soit possible à la production pour accroître la richesse générale : mais l'économie dicte de diriger l’emploie des dépenses productives, de maniere que les frais soient les moindres qu’il soit possible relativement à la porduction. C’est une erreur de soutenir qu’il y a quelque espece de richesses qui ne donne point de produit net ou de produit au-delà des frais. De toutes les especes particulieres de productions, une partie est propre à la production, l’autre a la jouissance; la somme des parties propres à la production forme la masse générale des frais de production, la somme des autres parties forme la masse générale de richesses disponibles. Les valeurs des productions particulieres déterminent la portion de la masse totale des richesses disponibles qui revient à chaque producteur; cette portion varie à raison de la difference des valeurs des productions, & des objets propres à la production que le producteur est oblige de se procurer. Après avoir traité des richesses en générale & de leur rapport, nous analyserons leur circulation, d’abord entre les classes des citoyens, ensuite dans son rapport avec les dépenses, la consommation & le débit. D’une part l’ordre des dépenses est déterminé par la distribution des richesses, de l’autre par le rapport nécessaire des frais de production aux [xvi] jouissances. Les dépenses de production se servent & se favorisent mutuellement; la consommation des jouissances favorise elle-même les dépenses de production. L’agriculture ou la production des subsistances est la source des autres productions. Lorsque les pays agricoles négligent la culture de leurs terres, & qu’ils n’emploient leurs capitaux productifs d’une maniere factice & contraire à l’ordre naturel, ils se parent d’une fausse splendeur, & ruinent leur édifice politique par les fondemens. L’industrie est fille de l’agriculture, & contribue avec elle à l’accroissement des richesses de l’état ; l’une & l’autre ont besoin d’être nourries & entretenues sur la masse totale des richesses; elles ont besoin de capitaux productifs & de dépenses productives. L’agriculture prospère sous le regne de la liberté ; elle retient encore quelques capitaux productifs lorsqu’elle est pliée sous le joug de l’oppression : l’industrie est plus volage ; elle exige de l’assiduité d’un courtisan habile à lui inspirer de la confiance, & à lui assurer la protection & la liberté qui lui conviennent. La nature a pourvu à la propagation des hommes & des animaux; l’homme est bien foible lorsqu’il veut s’ajouter aux lois fondamentales de la nature. Elle exige le travail des hommes pour accroître & multiplier les richesses, and she produces men everywhere where affluence, liberty and happiness reign. In order to encourage the production of men and animals, one should protect the production of wealth and subsistence goods. To encourage the growth of population it is necessary that fathers can expect for their children a fate at least similar to that enjoyed by them or the liberty of employment. The aim of the political system is the consumption [xvii] of objects of enjoyment. Therefore one should not subordinate this consumption to production. The unjust

Texts and translation


distribution of wealth, resulting from laws contrary to the natural order, produces a ruinous order of expenditures. Laws that are favourable to property and conforming to the decrees of nature will of themselves be sumptuous. These laws distribute wealth in accordance with natural rights. Men will have a similar interest in perpetuating their wealth within their families or in increasing their capital. This interest will be proper to establishing the natural distribution of objects of enjoyment and costs of production. We will consider circulation in relation to places, the establishment of centres of consumption, of cities, market towns, villages and hamlets, and the necessity of communication between those different centres. This communication is established by roads, canals, navigable rivers and seaports. We will see what are the most economical means to construct roads, and the advantage derived by states from their establishment, as well as that of canals and seaports. All we will have said up to this point about circulation must naturally precede the theory of trade, or the exchange of products and commodities. We will consider trade in its relation to foodstuffs, products or commodities, and we will develop the advantages of it. We will also consider it relative to the merchant, or the function of the trader. Trade moves all products and merchandises from the place of production or of fabrication to the place of consumption. Trade makes that the inhabitant of Peking works for the inhabitant of Paris, and it gathers [xviii] products of different climates in order to distribute consumption goods over the surface of all inhabited countries in proportion to needs and desires. The producers of all countries await with confidence the sale of their manufactures and their foodstuffs, which trade converts into wealth. Since trade interests all producing nations, the function of the merchant prompts recognition from all peoples who enrich themselves by foreign trade. This function is part of industry in general. It has the same character of fickleness. The merchant seeks out countries inhabited by peace and happiness. In producing nations he is most exerted by commission and enlivened by the presence of capitalists. The rich nations have thought that they have the licence to hinder trade in order to increase national population. We will demonstrate that prohibitive & elle produit des hommes partout où regnent l’aisance, la liberté, & le bonheur. Pour encourager la production des hommes & des animaux, il faut protéger la production des richesses & des subsistances. Pour accroître la population, il faut que les peres puissent espérer pour leurs enfants un sort au moins semblable a celui dont ils jouissent ou la liberté du travail. Le but du systême politique est la consommation [xvii] des jouissances ; on ne doit done pas subordonner cette consommation à la production. La distribution injuste des richesses, resultant des loix contraires à l’ordre naturel, produit un ordre de dépenses ruineux. Les loix favorables à la propriété & conformes aux décrets de la nature seront par elles-mêmes somptuaires ; ces loix ne répartiront les richesses qu’à raison des droits naturels ; les hommes auront un intérêt semblable a perpétuer leurs richesses dans leurs families ou à accroître leurs capitaux ; cet intérêt sera propre à établir la distribution naturelle des jouissances & des frais de production. Nous considérerons la circulation relativement aux lieux, l’établissement des foyers de consommation, des villes, des bourgs, des villages & des hameaux, & la nécessité de la communication entre ces différens foyers. Cette communication est établie par les routes, les canaux & rivieres navigables & les ports maritimes. Nous verrons quel sont les

At the origins of mathematical economics


moyens les plus économiques de construire les routes, & l’avantage que les états retirent de leur établissement ainsi que des canaux & des ports maritimes. Tout ce que nous aurions dit jusques-là de la circulation devoit précéder naturellement la théorie du commerce, ou de l’échange des productions & des marchandises. Nous considérerons le commerce dans son rapport avec les denrées, productions ou marchandises, & nous en développerons les avantages ; nous le considérerons aussi relativement au négoce ou à la fonction du commerçant. Le commerce fait passer toutes les productions & les marchandises du lieu de la production ou de la fabrication au lieu de la consommation. Le commerce fait travailler l’habitant de Pékin pour l’habitant de Paris, & [xviii] rassemble les productions des différens climats pour en distribuer la consommation sur toute la surface des pays habités, en raison des besoins & des désirs. Les producteurs de tous les pays attendent avec confiance le débit de leurs travaux & de leurs denrées que le commerce convertit en richesse. Si le commerce est intéressant pour toutes les nations productrices, la fonction du négociant inspire la reconnoissance des tous les peuples qui s’enrichissent par le débit étranger. Cette fonction fait partie de l’industrie générate ; elle a les mêmes caracteres d’inconstance. Le négoce recherche les pays habités par la paix & le bonheur ; il est le plus exercé par commission dans les pays producteurs & opprimés que par la présence des capitalistes. Les nations riches ont cru qu’elles pouvoient se permettre de gêner le commerce pour accroître la population intérieure. Nous démontrerons que laws are not only contrary to the rights of property, but also to national wealth without which the population is constrained. We will extend the principles of liberty to the products of the colonies. The different climate of those remote settlements renders them useful. Their weakness requires the protection of a powerful nation. In order to protect them from the oppression of barbarous nations, and in the interest of the trade of this nation, they have to be brought under its power and protection. The trade between a rich European nation and a rich American nation would be more useful to the former than the trade with its dependent colonies, because the costs of protection absorb the revenues of the sovereignty. Liberty and [xix] protection attract capitals and cultivators to the colonies. Liberty, protection, the advantages of a moderate climate, and the proximity of the Sovereign will make them flow back to the home country with a profit. For a long time the genius of administrators has been applied to the burdening of the colonies with chains, with the advantage of the home countries in mind. The time will come when the powers will hold the colonies under their domination at the envy of one another, by means of the greatest liberty and the least equivocal signs of protection. Trade and exchanges are conducted through the circulation of moneys in kind or in form of paper. The speed of the circulation of moneys makes up for its [lack of] quantity. Therefore the channels of this circulation have to be dredged. It was believed for a long time that the nations that had the most silver were the richest. This error has dictated disastrous laws against the trade in silver. Those laws are contrary to the good faith that is an essential basis of trade, and without which laws are products of the will of a despot and not the constitutional regulations of societies. They make it impossible for the traders of a nation to pay their debts, or force them to purchase this ability to the advantage of foreigners.

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It is not surprising that during times when the ministers of the Kings cheated the citizens by false denominations of moneys and by false titles, when Kings allowed their subjects to cheat one another, bad faith towards foreigners was tolerated. Natural law condemns those frauds. The credit and the dignity of the Sovereign forbid them. The Kings have made themselves masters of the agreements [xx] between men. Under the pretext of suppressing usury they have regulated the rate of interest. Usury is the abuse capitalists can make of the passions of the dissipater. Interest is the payment of nature, which the producer shares with the capitalist. Nature, by determining this payment, determines the rate of interest. It is certainly not part of the power of Sovereigns. Notes represent specie like specie represents all commodities. The use of letters of exchange was invented to replace the transport of metals by the transport of paper. The variations in the prices of exchanges make that the les loix prohibitives sont contraires non seulement aux droits de propriété, mais encore à la richesse intérieure sans laquelle la population est elle-même chargée d’entraves. Nous étendrons les principes de liberté jusques sur les productions des colonies ; la différence du climat des établissemens lointains les rend utiles; leur foiblesse exige la protection d’une nation puissante ; c’est pour les preserver de l’oppression des nations barbares, en faveur du commerce de cette nation, qu’elle doit les mettre sous sa puissance & sa protection. Le commerce d’une nation riche de l’Europe avec une nation riche d’Amérique seroit plus utile à la premiere que son commerce avec les colonies de sa dépendance, parce que les frais de [xix] protection absorbent les revenus de souveraineté. La liberté & la protection attireront les capitaux & les cultivateurs dans les colonies ; la liberté, la protection, les avantages des climats modérés, & la proximité du Souverain les feront refluer avec profit vers la métropole. Le génie des admirateurs s’est occupé pendant longtemps a charger de chaînes les colonies pour l’avantage des metropoles ; il viendra un temps où les puissances retiendront, à l’envie les unes des autres, les colonies sous leur domination par la plus grande liberté & les marques les moins équivoques de protection. Le commerce & les échanges s’exécutent par la circulation des monnoies en especes ou en papiers. La rapidité de la circulation de l’argent supplée à la quantité ; il faut done dégorger les canaux de cette circulation. On a cru long-temps que les nations qui avoient le plus d’argent étoient les plus riches ; cette erreur a dicté contre le commerce de l’argent des loix qui lui ont été funestes. Ces loix sont contraires à la bonne foi qui est une base essentielle du commerce, & sans laquelle les loix sont les émanations de la volonté d’un despote & non les réglemens constitutionnels des sociétés; elles interdisent aux commerçans nationaux la faculté de payer leurs dettes, ou leur font acheter cette faculté à l’avantage des étrangers. Dans les temps où les ministres des Rois fraudoient les citoyens par des fausses dénominations des monnoies & par de faux titres, où les Rois permettoient à leurs sujets de se frauder entre eux, il n’est pas étonnant qu’ils aient toléré la mauvaise foi relativement aux étrangers. La loi naturelle réprouve ces fraudes ; le credit & la dignité du Souverain les interdisent. Les rois se sont rendus maîtres des conventions [xx] des hommes ; sous le prétexte de réprimer l’usure, ils ont réglé le taux de l’intérêt. L’usure est l’abus que peuvent faire les capitalistes des passions du dissipateur ; l’intérêt est la rétribution de la nature que le

At the origins of mathematical economics


producteur partage avec le capitaliste; la nature en réglant cette rétribution regle le taux de l’intérêt ; il n’est point en la puissance des Souverains. Les papiers représentent les especes comme les especes représentent toutes les marchandises. L’usage des lettres de change a été inventé pour suppléer aux transports des métaux par le transport des papiers. Les variations du prix des debtors of a nation taken together pay the price of the transport in kind of the excess of reciprocal debts between two nations. Credit and confidence give value to notes which is very useful to circulation. Credit is useful to production by facilitating loans through which the savings of all classes of citizens are employed in production and help to2 increase the productive capitals of agriculture, industry and trade. Credit is also useful by bringing notes into circulation, which replace specie. Public banks are institutions whose credit is protected by the state, and whose activities are directed and supervised. They function as a depot for individuals. Their notes are used as money, where their registers settle reciprocal debts of trade. Law wanted to introduce in France banks that were known before him in other nations. He wanted to add to the advantages of those institutions and to secure the value of their notes, not upon real specie which is the normal practice, but upon other notes which he hoped to give a [xxi] great value and a credit similar to that of real specie. He conceived the project of a giant company that had to run a multitude of branches of public profits and he hoped that the shares of this company could rise to and maintain themselves at a value equal to the mass of specie necessary to circulation, and take the place of specie in circulation. Law’s system should be distinguished from the establishment of a public bank. We will finish this first part with some observations about a widespread prejudice regarding the idea that has been formed of the balance of trade and about the error made by those who have believed that of two trading nations the one who owes money to the other after the balance of reciprocal debt is made up, would lose in its trade with that nation. In the second part we will deal with wealth in relation to the rights of public and private property. We will establish public property rights in general terms. It is unavoidable that public expenses of administration are incurred. The Sovereign determines these expenses and individuals have to contribute to them in proportion to their wealth. Taxes should not fall on the costs of production and on the advances of agriculture, industry and trade. Taxes are additional to those costs and those advances. They should be taken from the general mass of disposable wealth. We will examine the nature of the different taxes that have been imposed or proposed. We will demonstrate that those taxes are unjust either because of their nature or because of the nature of their [xxii] distribution or because of the excessive costs of collection. We will also demonstrate that the means to impose taxation in the most equitable manner and at the lowest costs is to establish a single contribution, to impose it on all products, deduction made of costs, and to have it paid by all producers in proportion to the revenue they receive above their advances, comprising under the name of producers changes font supporter par tous les débiteurs d’une nation le prix du transport en especes de l’exces des dettes réciproques de deux nations. Le crédit & la confiance donnent aux papiers une valeur très-utile à la circulation ; le crédit est utile à la production en facilitant les emprunts par lesquels les épargnes de toutes les classes de

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citoyens sont employees a la production, & servent a accroître les capitaux productifs de la culture, de l’industrie & du commerce ; le crédit est encore utile en répandant dans la circulation les papiers qui suppléent aux especes. Les banques publiques sont des établissements dont l'état protège le credit, & dont il dirige & surveille les opérations ; elles servent de dépôts pour les particuliers ; leurs reconnoissances servent de monnoies où leurs registres acquittent les dettes réciproques du commerce. Law voulut subtiliser en France l’usage des banques qui étoit connu avant lui chez d’autres nations ; il voulut ajouter aux avantages de ces établissemens, & hypothéquer la valeur de leurs reconnoissances, non sur des especes réelles ainsi qu’il se pratique, mais sur d’autres papiers auxquels il espéroit donner une [xxi] grande valeur& un crédit semblable à celui des especes réelles. Il avoit conçu le projet d’une compagnie monstrueuse qui devoit tenir sous ses rênes une multitude de branches de profits publics, & il espéroit que les actions de cette compagnie pourroit monter & se soutenir à une valeur égale à la masse d’especes nécessaires dans la circulation, & tenir lieu de ces especes dans la circulation ; le systême de Law doit être distingué de l'établissement d’une banque publique. Nous terminerons cette premiere partie par quelques observations sur un préjugé trèsrépandu, sur l’idée que l’on s’est formé de la balance du commerce, & sur l’erreur dans laquelle sont tombés ceux qui ont cru que de deux nations commerçantes, celle qui redevoit à l’autre en argent, après la balance des dettes réciproques, perdoit dans son commerce avec cette nation. Dans la seconde partie, nous traiterons des richesses relativement aux droits de propriété public & particuliers. Nous établirons en général les doits de propriété publics. Il est nécessaire de faire des dépenses publiques d’administration ; le Souverain dirige ces dépenses, les particuliers doivent y contribuer en raison de leurs richesses. L’impôt ne doit pas porter sur les frais de production & sur les avances de la culture, de l’industrie & du commerce ; l’impôt est un surcroît de ces frais & de ces avances ; il doit être pris sur la masse générale des richesses disponibles ; chacun doit y contribuer en raison de la part qu’il retire sur cette masse générale. Nous examinerons la nature des différens impôts qui ont pu être perçus ou proposes ; nous démontrerons qui ces impositions sont injustes par leur nature ou par la nature de leur [xxii] répartition ou par l’excès des frais de perception ; que le moyen de percevoir l’impôt de la maniere la plus équitable & aux moindres frais possibles est d’établir une contribution unique, de la percevoir sur toutes les productions, deduction faite des frais, & de la faire payer par tous les producteurs en raison du revenu qu’ils en tirent qu delà de leurs avances, proprietors, entrepreneurs and agricultural, industrial and commercial workers. In order to impose this contribution it is necessary to renew the property qualification of the Romans according to which all taxpayers will be registered. Proprietors will be charged in proportion to their leases, and of the other producers some will be charged in proportion to the products they receive from their moveable wealth above the expenses of maintenance and renewal, others will be divided into classes and progressive divisions of the same kinds of enterprise in industry or trade, and will be charged in proportion to the wealth of each class or of each division of classes of the same profession.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Here we could have stopped if we had wanted to confine ourselves to a general theory, but we proposed to investigate the rights of property since the origin of the French monarchy, and what changes those rights have undergone. We will quickly pass by some of the events that preceded the establishment of the French monarchy relevant to our investigation in order to discover what influence the right of conquest has had on the rights of property. We will relate what the possessions and public and private revenues of the [xxiii] first Frenchmen consisted of prior to the feudal system. We will discover the origins of that system in the customs of the nations that worked towards the foundation of the monarchy. The monarchs acquired the general suzerainty over the land of their subjects, which could be seen as a modification of despotism. The nature of the rights of citizens changed through the effects of that system. We will trace efforts of the branches of administration to appropriate the spoils of the authority that was trusted in them, the division of the monarchy into sovereignties, and the means the monarchs were compelled to use in order to cut down the nobility, and in order to contain and return under their authority the powerful intermediaries by counterbalancing them against one another. It is necessary to trace these events in detail to have a complete idea of it. When the French Monarchy got closer to its original form, the Sovereign acquired a power which he had to maintain through increases in expenditures. The financial system succeeded the feudal system. The suzerain monarch was supposed to be the general proprietor and dispenser of the lands of the kingdom. The monarchs, aided by finance, have with great astuteness attracted or committed a great part of the revenues of the kingdom. We will examine the taxes which the financial genius has brought into existence and the pretexts invented by that genius to make the people contribute unnoticed, and to collect money, if not without murmurs, at least without opposition. Having exposed the principles suited to the prosperity of states, and having demonstrated that the neglect [xxiv] of those principles has been the cause comprenant sous le nom de producteurs les propriétaires, entrepreneurs & ouvriers de la culture, de l’industrie & du commerce. Pour percevoir cette contribution, il est nécessaire de renouveler le cens des Romains dans lesquel tous les contribuables seront inscrits, les propriétaires seront cotisés à raison de leurs baux ; & des autres producteurs, les uns seront cottisés en raison des produits qu’ils en retirent de leur richesse mobiliaire au-delà des dépenses d’entretient & de renouvellement, les autres seront distribués par classes & divisions progressives des mêmes especes d’entreprise, de fabrication ou de négoce, & seront cottisés en raison des richesses de chaque classe ou de chaque division des classes d’un même état. Ici nous aurions pu nous arrêter si nous eussions voulu nous en tenir à une théorie générale, mais nous nous sommes proposes de rechercher quels ont été dès l’origine de la monarchie Franchise les droits de propriété, & les révolutions que ces droits & les impositions ont été éprouvées. Nous passerons rapidement sur quelques uns de ces évenemens qui ont précédé l’établissement de la monarchie Françoise & qui sont relatifs à notre recherche, afin de découvrir quelle influence le droit de conquête a eue sur les droits de propriété. Nous rapporterons en quoi consistoient les possessions & les revenus publics & particuliers des [xxiii] premiers François antérieurement au systême féodal.

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Nous découvrirons les sources de ce systême dans les usages des nations qui ont concouru à fonder la monarchie. Les Monarques ont acquis sur les biens-fonds de leurs sujets une suzeraineté générale qui pouvoit être considérée comme une modification du despotisme ; les droits des citoyens ont changé de nature par les effets de ce systême. Nous suivrons les efforts que les branches d’administration publique ont faits pour s’approprier les émanations de l’autorité qui leur étoit confiée, la division de la monarchie en souverainetés, & les moyens que les monarques ont été obliges d’employer pour l’abbaissement des grands, & pour contenir & faire rentrer sous son autorité les puissances intermédiaires en les contrebalançant les unes par les autres ; il est nécessaire de suivre ces évènements dans leurs details pour en avoir une idée complette. Lorsque la Monarchic Françoise se fut rapprochée de sa forme originelle, le Souverain avoit acquis un pouvoir qu’il fallut soutenir par des augmentations de dépenses. Le systême financier a succédé au systême féodal. Le monarque suzerain étoit censé propriétaire général & dispensateur des biensfonds du royaume ; les Monarques, aidés de la finance, ont attiré ou engagé avec plus de réalité une grande partie des revenus du royaume. Nous examinerons les impôts auxquels le génie financier a donné naissance ; les prétextes que ce génie a inventés pour faire contribuer les peuples d’une maniere insensible, & pour tirer de l’argent, sinon sans murmures, du moins sans oppositions. Après avoir exposé les principes qui conviennent à la prospérité des états, & démontré que l’abandon [xxiv] de ces principes a été la cause of a great part of the evils that have long been distressing the human race, I have only one desire left, which is that those principles may contribute to restore the calm and order in the human societies.

[1] FIRST PART Of [different kinds of] wealth, their relations and their circulation Introduction Of society, of rights and of property Does one want to maintain any kind of order? This means that one proposes an end. There are laws necessary to that end. Does one want to destroy it? There are laws necessary to that opposite end.a Does one want to maintain social order? There are laws necessary to the conservation of that order. [2] Does one want to destroy it? There are laws necessary to its destruction. There are natural causes that have established societies prior to the conventions of men. Society is not a confederation, as some philosophers have pretended. The social contract that has been assumed is subsequent to the first associations. The physical and moral faculties of man render him social. A kind of instinct keeps him in society long before he has the moral capacity and the knowledge to draw up the laws necessary to the

At the origins of mathematical economics


conservation of social order. The natural effects of the conserving and destructive laws counterbalance each other long before this drafting. Jurisprudence is the knowledge of the laws necessary to the maintenance and prosperity of social order. Legislation is the publication of those laws, carrying injunction for the citizens to conform themselves to them and punishment for violators.b Justice consists in preserving the rights of the associates. Injustice consists in undermining those rights. Rights are divided primarily into natural law and the law of nations. Natural law is the law of animals in general; the law of nations is the law of men united in society. a Montesquieu has said that laws were prior to the intelligent beings for whom they are established. Laws may be prior to the existence of beings, but they cannot be prior to their supposition. [This is a comment on L’Esprit des Lois (1748) Part I, Book I, chapter I, p.4]. b Jurisprudence is the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and the unjust (ff. Lib. I.T.I.). The virtue of the law is commanding, proscribing, permitting, punishing (ff. Lib. I.T. II). [references to The Enactments of Justinian. Book I. The Institutes, Titles I and II respectively].

d’une grande partie des maux dont le genre humain a été désolé depuis longtemps, il ne me restera qu’un désir, c’est que ces principes puissent contribuer à ramener le calme & l’ordre dans les sociétés humaines. [1] PREMIERE PARTIE Des Richesses, de leurs Rapports & de leur Circulation Introduction De la Société, des Droits & de la Propriété Veut-on maintenir un ordre quelconque ? on se propose un but ; il y a des loix nécessaires a ce but. Veut-on le détruire ? il y a des loix nécessaires a ce but contraire.(a) Veut-on maintenir un ordre social ? il y a des loix nécessaires à la conservation de cet ordre. [2] Veut-on le détruire ? il y a des loix nécessaires a cette destruction. Il y a des causes naturelles qui ont établi les sociétés antérieurement aux conventions des hommes. La société n’est point une confédération ainsi que l’ont prétendu quelques philosophes. Le contrat social, tel qu’on le suppose, est postérieur aux premieres associations. Les facultés de l’homme physiques & morales le rendent social ; une espece d’instinct le retient longtems en société avant qu’il ait assez d’esprit & de connaissances pour rédiger les loix nécessaires à la conservation de l’ordre social ; les effets naturels des loix conservatrices & destructives se contrebalancent longtems avant cette rédaction. La jurisprudence est la connaissance des loix nécessaires au maintien & à la prospérité de l’ordre social ; la législation est la publication de ces loix, portant injonction aux citoyens de s’y conformer, & punition contre les infracteurs.(b) La justice consiste à conserver les droits des associés. L’injustice consiste à donner atteinte à ces droits.

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On divise principalement les droits en droit naturel, & droit des gens. Le droit naturel est le droit des animaux en général ; le droit des gens est le droit des hommes réunis en société. (a) Mr. De Montesquieu a dit que les loix étoient antérieures aux êtres intelligens pour qui elles pouvoient être établies. Les loix peuvent être antérieures à l’existence des êtres, mais elles ne peuvent être antérieures à leur supposition. (b) Jurisprudentia est divinarum atque humanarum rerum notitia : justi atque injusti scientia (ff. lib.I. T.I.) Legis virtus hac est imperara, vetare, permittere, punire (ff. lib. I.T. II.)

The animal, considered on its own, obtains that which is advantageous to him, that which pleases him, that which is suited to his use. That thing is his right or [3] his own. Things are not the same if one considers man in society. What is right does not generally consist of all that suits him. If among two men one can have everything and the other nothing, only one will survive, or rather there will be war between them and therefore there will be no society. In the natural state and in the state of war the right of everyone extends to everything that suits him, everything is right, everything can be claimed. But if in those states the right of man and what suits him are the same thing, this is not the case in society. Nevertheless, common usage has confused the terms right and property. Property knows no bounds in the state of nature and in the state of war. The right of the isolated man differs from the right of the social man. There are many authors who have not seen this difference. Some have said that right does not exist in the state of nature and the state of war. Others have said that right in the state of nature is the right to everything, that right in the state of war is the right of the strongest, and that in society rights only exist by convention. Others have said indistinctly that there is no right but the right to everything, or the right of the strongest. Whatever is right in the state of nature or in the state of war, whether it is by convention or by reciprocal consent that there are rights in society, there are rights that are necessary to society.c Let us assign limits to the rights of the social order. [4] Let us suppose that the social state commences between two members: if they are equal in force and if they have the same desires, each will pursue what is useful to him. What suits one suits the other. If we suppose unequal forces then what each will acquire will be proportioned to his forces. This equality of right with equality of forces, and this proportionality with inequality of forces can be expressed by the word equity. It is the balance of the rights of co-associates. c All laws are either made by agreement, or formed by necessity, or santioned by custom (ff. Lib. I.T. II). Some Authors have said that order and disorder, good and evil, justice and injustice are not real. Mr. Helvétius says that injustice does not precede the establishment of a convention, of a law, of a common interest: that prior to the law there is no injustice…that justice supposes established laws (De l’homme [1773] sect. 4 ch. 8 [p. 351]). The author of the S.D.L.N. [Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723–1789), Système de la Nature, ou des lois du monde physique et du monde moral first published 1770] says that order and disorder are merely relative to our manner of judging, and that the model of it is only in our mind [Part I, chap. V, p. 89]. Nevertheless, the same Author says elsewhere that the distinction between good and bad, between vice and virtue, is not at all founded upon the conventions between men, as some thinkers have believed, but upon the eternal and invariable relations that exist between human beings living in society, and that virtue is

At the origins of mathematical economics


everything that is truly and constantly useful to human beings living in society, and vice is what is harmful to them [Part I, ch. IX, p. 163]. From the fact that the attribute does not exist without its subject, one has concluded that it would not be real. The attributes may be the result of the supposition of a subject, but the attributes are real when the subjects exist.

L’animal, considéré seul, se procure ce qui lui est avantageux, ce qui lui convient, ce qui est propre à son usage ; cette chose est son droit ou [3] son propre. Il n’est pas de même si l’on considere l’homme en société ; le droit ne consiste pas généralement dans tout ce qui est propre àZ lui. Entre deux hommes, si l’un peut avoir tout & l’autre rien, il ne subsistera qu’un, ou bien il y aura guerre entre deux, il n’y aura done pas de société. Dans l’état de nature & dans l’état de guerre, le droit de chacun s'étend à tout ce qui est propre à soi, le droit est tout, le propre est tout ; mais si dans ces états le droit de l’homme & ce qui lui est propre sont les mêmes choses, il n’en est pas ainsi en société ; cependant l’usage a confondu les noms du droit & de la propriété. La propriété ne connoît pas de bornes dans l’état de nature & dans l’état de guerre. Le droit de l’homme seul differe du droit de l’homme social. Il y a beaucoup d’Auteurs qui n’ont pas apperçu cette difference. Les uns ont dit que le droit est nul dans l’état de nature & dans l’état de guerre. Les autres ont dit, que le droit dans l’état de nature est le droit à tout, que le droit dans l’état de guerre est le droit du plus fort, & que ce n’est que par convention qu’il y a des droits dans la société. D’autres ont dit indistinctement, qu’il n’y avoit de droit que le droit à tout, ou le droit du plus fort. Quel que soit le droit dans l’état de nature ou dans l’état de guerre, que ce soit par convention ou par consentement réciproque, qu’il y ait des droits dans la société, il y a des droits nécessaires à la société; (c) assignons les limites des droits de l’ordre social. [4] Supposons que l’état social commence entre deux membres : s’ils sont égaux en force, & s’ils ont les mêmes désirs, ils chercheront ce qui leur sera utile a chacun ; le propre de l’une sera égal au propre de l’autre : si l’on suppose les forces inégales, ce que chacun trouvera sera proportionné à ses forces. Cette égalité de droit dans l’égalité des forces, & cette proportion dans l’inégalité des forces, peuvent être exprimées par le mot d’équité ; c’est la balance des droits des co-associés. (c) Omne jus aut consensus fecit, aut necessitas constituit aut firmavit consuetudo (ff. lib. I.T. II.). Quelques Auteurs ont dit que l’ordre & le désordre, le bien & le mal, le juste ou l’injuste ne sont pas réels. Mr. Helvétius dit que l’injustice ne precede pas l’établissement d’une convention, d’une loi, d’un intérêt commun : qu’avant la loi il n’est pas d’injustice…que la justice suppose des loix établies (de l’homme feet. 4. ch. 8.). L’auteur du S.D.L.N. dit que l’ordre & le désordre ne sont que relatifs a notre maniere de juger, & que le modèle n’en est que dans notre esprit. Cependant le même Auteur dit ailleurs, que la distinction du bien & du mal, du vice & de la vertu, n’est point fondée sur des conventions entre les hommes, ainsi que quelques penseurs l’ont cru, mais sur les rapports éternels & invariables qui subsistent entre les êtres de l’espece humaine vivans en société, & que la vertu est tout ce qui est vraiment & constamment utile aux êtres de l’espece humaine vivans en société, & le vice est ce qui leur est nuisible. De ce qu’un attribut n’existe pas sans son sujet, on en a conclu qu’il n’étoit pas réel. Les attributs peuvent être les résultats de la supposition d’un sujet, mais les attributs sont réels lorsque les sujets existent.

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Up to this point the right of each is nothing but that which is useful to him. Each only exercises his natural right just like all animals. [5] But can one man avail himself of what the other has acquired? Can one man avail himself of the person of the other? Can one man demand of the other to work for him? Can one man seize the products of the labour of his associate? In a word, under the hypothesis of society, is the person of one of the associates part of all that belongs to the other associate, part of his property? If one man desires to avail himself of the person of the other, or of the product of the labour of his associate, the latter will either give it up as a gift, or through exchange, or he will refuse. In the first two cases society will not be disrupted. If there is refusal, the first may obtain what he desires by force. But acts of violence will destroy the social harmony. The stronger may also obtain what he wants using threats, and the weaker may give in out of fear. One cannot assume that there can be a durable society when it is based on the force of one and the fear of the other. One can conceive of various states of the strong and the weak relative to one another. The closer one gets to one being everything and the other nothing, the closer the situation gets to the destruction of society. One can thus conceive of two social states. First, one where the right of each is all that he can obtain with his own faculties, with the exception of the person and the products of the labour of his co-associates. Second, one where the strong can avail himself of the person of the weak. The first does not have the causes of destruction in its nature; the laws of the second are sooner or later destructive. In addition to the three means of acquiring rights we have stated, that is by labour, as a gift and through exchange, there is another that is necessary [6] in the succession of the generations of men; it is the right of inheritance. Without stopping to consider the moral order that is established in families by virtue of their union and successive property, we will only indicate the interest men have in extending their possessions beyond their personal needs and using them in a manner proper to general prosperity, even when they are near their grave. Men have an interest in retaining their possessions within their families, either because of the desire to perpetuate their name, or a blood-relationship, or because of this law of continuity, that instinct which engages man to never abandon the being to whom he has given life, to prepare for him a state similar to his own or to his means, to leave him a possession necessary to maintain that state. Property perpetuates itself in families in a direct line, that is to say from father to son, or in a collateral line, that is to say after the death of a direct descendant, that person must succeed him who would have enjoyed it had he not lived. In society therefore the property of each member consists in the enjoyment of what he has obtained by his labour, as a gift, through exchange or through inheritance, and this law of property is a fundamental law of society. Jusqu’ici le droit de chacun n’est autre chose que ce qui lui est utile ; chacun n’use de son droit naturel de même que tous les animaux. [5] Mais l’un peut-il disposer de ce que l’autre a trouvé ? L’un peut-il disposer de la personne de l’autre ? L’un peut-il exiger de l’autre qu’il travaille pour lui ? L’un peut-il s’emparer des produits du travail de son associé ? En un mot, dans l’hypothese de la société, la personne d’un associé fait-elle pour un autre associé partie de tout ce qui est propre à lui, de sa propriété ? Si l’un désire disposer de la personne de l’autre, ou du produit des forces de son associé, celui-ci les cédera par don, par échange, ou les refusera. Dans les deux premiers cas, la société ne sera pas troublée. S’il y a refus, le premier peut obtenir ce qu’il desire,

At the origins of mathematical economics


par la force ; mais les actes de violence détruiront l’harmonie sociale. Le plus fort peut encore obtenir ce qu’il desire par menaces, & le foible peut céder par la crainte : on ne peut supposer qu’il puisse y avoir une société durable lorsqu’elle est fondée sur la force de l’un & la crainte de l’autre. On peut concevoir différens états du fort & du faible, l’un relativement a l’autre ; plus l’un approchera d'être tout & l’autre rien, plus l’état approchera de la destruction de la société. On peut done concevoir deux états sociaux ; le premier, où le droit de chacun, est tout ce que les facultés peuvent lui procurer, excepté la personne & le produit des forces des co-associés : le second, où le fort dispose de la personne du foible. Le premier n’a point dans sa nature de causes de destruction : les loix du second sont plus ou moins rapidement destructives. Outre les trois moyens que nous avons énoncés d’acquérir des droits, par le travail, par don, & par échange, il en est encore un qui est nécessaire [6] dans la succession des hommes les uns aux autres, c’est le droit d’héritage. Sans nous arrêter à considérer l’ordre moral qui s’établit dans les families en vertu de leur reunion & de la propriété successive, nous observerons seulement quel est l’intérêt que les hommes ont à étendre leurs possessions au delà de leurs besoins personnels, & à les disposer d’une maniere convenable de la prospérité générale, même lorsqu’ils sont prêts a descendre dans le tombeau. Les hommes ont intérêts de les conserver dans leurs families, & les conservent ou par le desir de perpétuer leur nom, ou par l’attachement du sang, ou par cette loi de continuité, cet instinct qui engage l’homme à ne point abandonner à lui-même 1’être à qui il a donné le jour ; à lui préparer un état analogue au sien ou à ses facultés ; à lui ménager un bien nécessaire à soutenir cet état. Le bien se perpétue dans les families en ligne directe, c’est-à-dire de pere en fils ; ou en ligne collatérale, c’est-à-dire après la mort d’un descendant direct, celui-là doit lui succéder qui en auroit joui sans son existence. Ainsi done en société la propriété de chaque membre consiste à jouir de ce qu’il a obtenu par son travail, par don, par échange, ou par succession; & cette loi de propriété est une loi fondamentale de la société. Celui qui The person who undermines this law disrupts the bonds of society, and deserves to be treated accordingly. The laws of social punishment derive from this. Some authors have said that property is the source of the evils of society. Others have regarded property as the right of invasion and usurpation. How could these authors delude themselves by founding the social contract on such principles? [7] ‘Some Moralists (says the author of La Politique naturelle) touched by the countless evils to which this distinction of properties gives birth among men, have wanted to proscribe it. They have believed that one would reestablish union and peace among them by taking away an apple of discord that ceaselessly troubles their happiness, they have imagined that the community of goods would remove any pretext for mortals to harm each other’.d,3 M.l’Abbé Raynal says that the Caribbeans of the island of St. Vincent laid down borders in order to distribute land, and that from that moment peace and happiness left the island.4 He remarks that if the monster with a human appearance who took it in his head to enclose a field in order to enjoy its fruits exclusively had been sacrificed to natural liberty, perhaps the human race would have been happy: that the spirit of property gives birth to avarice, usurpation, despotism, slavery, servitude and that all

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evils that desolate this sad globe have no other origin.e The same Author says that the Chinese are a people enlightened enough to understand that the respect for private property and the submission to laws are only duties of the second order, subordinate to the indefeasible needs instituted by Nature, who only intended to form societies for the needs of all men who compose them.f Perhaps brigands are enlightened enough, as one assumes the Chinese to be, to understand this paradox [8]. Whatever be the force of the needs of men, only disabled, old or infirm beggars may have rights to the property of rich citizens, by rousing their commiseration. Those rights have no other source than charity and commiseration; needs are thus subordinated to the rights of property. If one imagines a social system different from the one that is based on the ownership of goods acquired by labour, as a gift, through exchange or inheritance, like, for example, that of a community of men who are equal in wealth, or that which is based on the will of a despot, then the laws of those systems differ from those of the social system that we assume. But they have many causes of decadence and destruction in them and cannot last. Only the system founded on property suits the societies of men whose prosperity tends to increase continuously. d Polit. Nat. disc. I. Par. 27. [Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723–89) La politique naturelle ou Discours sur les vrais principes du gouvernement London 1773, p. 40]. e See la Basiliade [Morelly 1753; cf. Traité des richesses vol. II: 124–5, note n.] and J.J.Rousseau discours sur l’inégalité des conditions [1750]. [Raynal] Histoire philos[ophique] & politiq[ue des établissements et] du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes. Book xiv. f Hist[oire] Phil[osophique] & pol[itique. Volume I, Book I, Chapter XX].

attente à cette loi, rompt les liens de la société, & mérite d’être traité de même ; de la dérivent des loix des peines sociales. Quelques Auteurs ont dit, que la propriété étoit la source des maux de la société ; d’autres ont regardé la propriété comme le droit de l’invasion & de l’usurpation. Comment ces Auteurs ont-ils pu se flatter de fonder le contrat social sur de tels principes ? [7] « Quelques Moralités (dit l’Auteur de la Politique naturelle) touchés des maux sans nombre que la distinction des propriétés fait naitre parmi les hommes, ont voulu la proscrire ; ils ont cru qu’on rétabliroit l’union & la paix entre eux, en faisant disparoitre une pomme de discorde qui troubloit sans cesse leur félicité, ils se sont imaginés que la communauté de biens ôteroit aux mortels tout prétexte de se nuire » .(d) Mr. L’Abbé Raynal dit, que les Caraïbes de l’isle St. Vincent poserent des bornes pour la distribution des terres, & que dès ce moment la paix & le bonheur furent exilés de l’isle. Il remarque que si le premier monstre à figure humaine qui s’avisa d’enclorre un terrain, pour jouir exclusivement de ses fruits, eut été sacrifié à la liberté naturelle, peut-être le genre humain eut été heureux : que de l’esprit de propriété naissent ceux d’avarice, d’usurpation, de despotisme, d’esclavage, de servitude, & que tous les maux qui désolent ce triste globe n’ont pas d’autre origine.(e) Le même Auteur dit que les Chinois sont un peuple assez éclairé pour sentir que le respect pour le droit de propriété, que la soumission aux loix ne sont que des devoirs du second ordre subordonnés aux besoins imprescriptibles de la Nature qui n’a du former les sociétés que pour les besoins de tous les hommes qui les composent.(f) Il seroit possible que des brigands fussent assez éclairés pour sentir ce paradoxe, ainsi que le suppose des [8] Chinois. Quelle que soit la

At the origins of mathematical economics


force des besoins des hommes, il n’y a que les mendians estropiés, vieux ou infirmes qui puissent avoir des droits sur la propriété des citoyens riches, en excitant leur commisération. Ces droits n’ont d’autres sources que la charité & la commisération ; les besoins sont done subordonnés aux droits de propriété. Si l’on imagine un autre systême social que celui qui est fondé sur la propriété des biens acquis par le travail, par donation, par échange ou par succession, tels, par exemple, que celui d’une communauté d’hommes égaux en richesses, ou celui qui est fondé sur la volonté d’un despote, les loix de ces systêmes different de celles du systême social tel que nous le supposons : mais ils ont des causes multipliers de décadence & de destruction, & ne peuvent durer. Il n’y a que le systême fondé sur la propriété qui convienne aux sociétés d’hommes, & dont la prospérité tende à s’accroître continuellement. (d) Polit. nat disc I § 27 (e) Voy. la Basiliade & J.J.Rousseau discours sur l’inégalité des conditions. Histoire philos. & politiq. du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes. Liv. XIV. (f) Hist. phil. & pol.

If all wealth and all useful and necessary goods would happen to be produced on the land, the ruler of society could distribute them equally between all members in order to provide subsistence and enjoyment to every individual. The political system of such a society would not be complicated. However, in the actual order of things man can enjoy nothing without labour. Heaven and earth do not give him anything that he does not obtain with his sweat and his industry. One sometimes wants to apply to men who are united in order to enjoy the fruits of their labour, the laws suited to an imaginary community that receives everything from heavenly charity. It is as a consequence of this false principle that [9] Sovereigns are convinced that they are the distributors of the goods produced on the land and that they owe their subjects their subsistence. It is the duty of Kings to guarantee their subjects the enjoyment and the largest possible product of the fruit of their labours for their subsistence or for their happiness, through protection and the administration of public expenditure: but it is not the duty of Kings to provide subsistence to their peoples. The law to obtain nothing without labour, to which humanity is subjected, is the principle of the laws of political economy, since it founds the bonds of society on the right of property. Since man cannot enjoy without labour, it follows that he has to aim to enjoy as much as possible with the least labour and at the lowest possible costs. This consequence is engraved in all the tables of the laws of human industry. Nevertheless, we will see later how much the principles of some authors are contrary to it. Those laws are not at all arbitrary, because their end is determinate. It is the task of reason to determine which are the laws necessary to the end that is proposed. Any society whose laws are not founded on the law of property sooner or later tends towards despotism, and despotism sooner or later tends towards decadence and destruction. One can consider as despotic any State whose nature allows that one part of its society can affect the liberty of the persons of the other part.g [10]

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g A Sovereign who can be considered as the proprietor of the goods of his subjects would be a despot. ∆ πο αι means to be owned, to be acquired; πον ς means master, possessor. In our time the ancient distinction between governments has been altered and changed. One always used to distinguish three kinds of government. Monarchy in which one person governs justly and under good laws. Despotism was the opposite of that government, when a single person rules without law, and tyranny when a single person abuses his power. Aristocracy in which several govern by laws, as in Sparta. Oligarchy was the opposite of that government, when several rule against the laws, like the Triumvirat. And Democracy where the people govern justly, like the people of Rome after the expulsion of the Kings. Oclocracy was the opposite of that government, it is a kind of turbulent government where people rule without laws and against justice. Nations and cities are ruled either by the people, or by the principal members or by a single one.

Si les richesses & les biens utiles ou nécessaires aux hommes se trouvoient tout produits sur la terre, le chef d’une société pourroit les distribuer également entre tous les membres, afin de pourvoir à la subsistance de chaque individu & à ses jouissances ; le systême politique d’une telle société ne seroit pas compliqué : mais dans l’ordre actuel des choses, l’homme ne jouit de rien sans travail ; le ciel & la terre ne lui accordent rien qu’il ne l’obtienne par ses sueurs & son industrie. On veut quelquefois appliquer aux hommes réunis, pour jouir des fruits de leurs travaux, les loix propres à une communauté imaginaire qui recevroit tout de la bienfaisance céleste. C’est par une conséquence de ce faux principe, que l’on fait croire [9] aux Souverains qu’ils sont les dispensateurs des biens qui sont produits sur la terre, & qu’ils doivent la subsistance a leurs sujets. C’est aux Rois à assurer à leurs sujets la jouissance & le plus grand produit possible des fruits de leurs travaux pour leur subsistance, ou leur bonheur par la protection & l’administration des dépenses publiques : mais ce n’est pas aux Rois à pourvoir à la subsistance de leurs peuples. La loi à laquelle est assujettie l’humanité de ne rien obtenir sans travail, est le principe des loix de l’économie politique en fondant les liens de la société sur le droit de propriété. L’homme ne pouvant jouir sans travail, il s’ensuit qu’il doit tendre à jouir, le plus qu’il soit possible, avec le moins de travail & aux moindres fraix possibles ; cette conséquence est gravée sur toutes les tables de loix de l’industrie humaine : cependant, nous verrons par la suite combien les principes de quelques Auteurs y sont contraires. Ces loix ne sont point arbitraires, parce que leur but est déterminé ; c’est à la raison à déterminer les loix nécessaires au but qu’on se propose ; Toute société dont les loix ne sont pas fondées sur celle de propriété, tend avec plus ou moins d’activité au despotisme, & le despotisme tend avec plus ou moins de forces vers la decadence & la destruction. On peut regarder comme despotisme tout Etat par la nature duquel une partie de la société peut attenter à la liberté des personnes de l’autre partie.(g) [10] (g) Un Souverain qui pourroit être considéré comme propriétaire des biens de ses sujets seroit un despote. ∆ πo αι signifie être possédé, être acquis ; πον ς signifie maître, possesseur. On a altéré & changé de nos jours la distinction ancienne des gourvernemens, on a toujours distingué trois sortes de gouvernemens.

At the origins of mathematical economics


La Monarchic dans laquelle un seul gouverne justement & sous de bonnes loix : on a opposé à ce gouvernement le Despotisme, quand un seul gouverné sans loix, & la tyrannie, quand un seul abuse de son pouvoir. L’Aristocratic dans laquelle plusieurs gouvernent par les loix comme à Sparte : on a opposé à ces gouvernement l’Oligarchie, quand plusieurs gouvernent centre les loix, comme le Triumvirat. Et la Démocratic où le peuple gouverné justement, comme le peuple Romain, après l’expulsion des Rois : on a opposé à ce gouvernement l’Oclocratie, qui est une espece de gouvernement turbulent où le peuple gouverné sans loix & contre la justice. Cunctus nationes & urbes populus aut primores aut singuli regunt.

There are various ways to violate the liberty of individuals: via the spirit, by becoming master of the will; via the body, by enjoying the fruits of its labours, by making it suffer some pain, or by imprisoning or killing it. One can imagine a great number of types of despotism. The laws of despotism are those of violence and shrewdness, and those two motives have a multitude of means to arrive at their goal. Violence and error make despots. Fear and error make slaves. The error of the people is one of the foundations of despotism. The errors of Legislators lead to despotism. Authors whose sentiments are much opposed to this kind of government have sometimes dictated laws much opposed to the natural laws [11] of property, they have thus written in favour of despotism without realising it. Monsieur de Montesquieu has only observed despotism in places where the spirits are dazed by a despotism that is more dangerous than that of Sovereigns. That author abhorred that kind of government, but, as we will see later, he dictated and approved laws which tend to despotism or which may lead to it. There are laws [in Montesquieu’s work] whose principles he did not base on the right of property. There even are laws whose observation is prescribed and maintained by intermediary bodies, or by the depositories of laws in royal governments and which agree with despotism in that they are contrary to the rights of property.h In the collection of their laws the Romans have recorded the maxim that the will of the Prince has the power of law, when the people have trusted their power in him.i By elevating a Prince to the throne the people do not give him the power to violate their rights of property. The interest of a Minister of a false religion is to dominate despotically. The interest of a Sovereign is to preside as a Monarch. Only those sovereigns who misunderstood their own interests and those of their people, have subordinated the laws of property to their will. Not only are [12] laws that are destructive of the right of property contrary to the first principles of society; we will also demonstrate in the course of this work that laws that are contrary to the rights of property are contrary to the increase of wealth, to the affluence which increases the population and to the prosperity of States. h Even the good deeds of Sovereigns are acts of despotism when they are not enlightened by the torch of equity, i What pleases the prince, has force of law (ff. L.I.T. IV).

Il y a différentes manieres d’attenter à la liberté des personnes: sur l’esprit, pour se rendre maître de la volonté ; sur le corps, pour jouir du fruit de ses travaux, ou pour lui faire souffrir quelque douleur, ou pour le captiver, ou pour faire cesser son existence.

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On peut imaginer un grand nombre d’especes de despotismes. Les loix du despotisme sont celles de la force & de l’adresse, & ces deux mobiles ont une multitude de moyens de parvenir à leur but ; la force & l’erreur font des despotes ; la crainte & l’erreur font les esclaves. L’erreur des peuples est une des bases du despotisme ; les erreurs des Législateurs menent ellesmêmes au despotisme. Des Auteurs, dont les sentimens trèsopposés à cette nature de gouvernement, ont quelquefois dicté des loix très-contraires aux droits naturels [11] de propriété, ils ont ainsi écrit en faveur du despotisme sans qu’ils s’en soient apperçus. Monsieur de Montesquieu n’a vu de despotisme que dans les lieux où les esprits sont abrutis par un despotisme plus dangereux que celui des Souverains. Cet Auteur a eu ce gouvernement en horreur, mais il a dicté & approuvé des loix qui tiennent au despotisme ou qui peuvent y conduire, ainsi que nous le ferons voir par la suite. Il y a des loix dont il n’a pas établi les principes sur le droit de propriété. Il y a même des loix dont l’observation est prescrite & soutenue par les corps intermédiates, ou par les dépositaires des loix dans les gouvernemens monarchiques, & qui conviennent au despotisme, en ce qu’elles sont contraires aux droits de propriété.(h) Les Romains ont consigné en maxime, dans le recueil de leur loix, que la volonté du Prince a force de loi, lorsque le peuple a remis en lui sa puissance.(i) Le peuple en élevant un Prince sur le trône ne lui remet pas le pouvoir d’attenter à ses droits de propriété. L’intérêt du Ministre d’une fausse religion est de dominer despotiquement ; l’intérêt du Souverain est de présider en Monarque. Il n’y a que ceux qui ont méconnu leurs intérêts & ceux de leurs peuples, qui aient subordonné les loix de la propriété à leurs volontés. Non seulement les [12] loix destructives du droit de propriété sont contraires aux premiers principes de société ; nous démontrerons encore, dans le cours de cet ouvrage, que les loix contraires aux droits de propriété sont contraires à l’accroissement des richesses, à l’aisance qui accroît la population, & à la prospérité des Etats. (h) Les bienfaits même des Souverains sont des actes de despotisme, lorsqu’ils ne sont pas éclairés par le flambeau de l’équité. (i) Quod principi placuit, legi habet vigorem (ff. L.I. T. IV.).

[13] FIRST BOOK Of wealth in general and of the relation between kinds of wealth

FIRST CHAPTER Analysis of the use and production of wealth Man uses things to live, to breathe, to feed himself, to quench his thirst, to dress, to protect himself against harm, for his health, for enjoyment, and against boredom. Things have a final use, or assist in the composition of useful things. Fire, air, land, plants, minerals and animals, bread, hides, a cloth, a house, fruit or liquor which is extracted

At the origins of mathematical economics


from it, a flower, a concert, a lawn which invites to take a rest, a bed, spectacles which relieve one’s boredom, all the things which serve such purposes, or which are part of it, the very place which they occupy on the earth, are useful things. Man knows the qualities of things through the impressions he receives, or through the effects they produce and of which he receives the impressions. It is by these qualities that he judges whether things are useful or harmful to him.5 Things have different qualities, some of which are due to the activity of nature, and others to the activity of men. A block of marble taken from the bosom of the earth has useful qualities. It is white, hard, [14] large, square, but it can obtain new qualities. Its form can change in such a manner that it gives a new pleasure. If, for example, a sculptor makes a figure out of it, he imprints new qualities upon the marble. Like the qualities imprinted by the agency of nature, the new form, agreeable because of its analogy or resemblance, the smoothness, the new whiteness, the colour, the subtlety, the firmness and coherence of its parts, are useful qualities which give new enjoyments. Man thus adds qualities to those of nature. Those who maintain that the activity of man is not productive are therefore mistaken.6 Let us also analyse the effects of natural agency and human agency in the production of bread. Vegetative causes will by themselves only produce brambles or wild fruits. The land has to be prepared, worked and sowed. When the wheat has been produced it has to be harvested, winnowed, stored, milled, kneaded, baked and the wheat has to be transported from the place of production to the place where it undergoes changes and to the places where it is consumed. Therefore one can add to the primary agencies of fire, water, air, land and the vegetative faculties of nature, the activity of a plough put in motion by animals and they in turn by the cultivator; the activities of the arms that sow, weed, harvest, winnow and store; the activity of a mill driven by a stream, of the arm that kneads, of the oven [13] LIVRE PREMIER Des Richesses en général & de leur rapport CHAPITRE PREMIER Analyse de l’usage & de la production des Richesses L’homme use de choses pour vivre, respirer, se nourrir, se désaltérer, se couvrir, se garantir des injures extérieures, pour la santé, pour ses plaisirs ou contre son ennui. Les choses sont définitivement usuelles, ou servent à constituer ces choses usuelles. Le feu, l’air, l’eau, la terre, les végétaux, minéraux & animaux, le pain, la peau des animaux, le drap, une maison, le fruit ou la liqueur qui en est extraite, une fleur, un concert, un gazon qui invite au repos, le lit qui le procure, les spectacles qui désennuient, toutes les choses qui servent à celles-ci ou qui en font partie, la place même qu’elles occupent sur la terre sont des choses utiles. L’homme connoît les qualités des choses par les impressions qu’il reçoit ou par les effets qu’elles produisent, & dont il reçoit les impressions ; c’est par ces qualités qu’il juge de l’utilité des choses ou si elles lui sont nuisibles. Les choses ont différentes qualités dont les unes sont dues à l’action de la nature, les autres à l’action des hommes. Un bloc de marbre tiré du sein de la terre a des qualités

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utiles, il est blanc, dur, [14] grand, quarré : mais il peut avoir de nouvelles qualités ; il peut changer de forme, & en prendre une qui fasse un plaisir nouveau. Si, par exemple, un sculpteur en tire une figure, les nouvelles qualités imprimées à ce marbre, la forme nouvelle qui plait par son analogic ou sa ressemblance, le poli, la nouvelle blancheur, de même que les qualités imprimées par les agens de la nature, la couleur, la subtilité, l’adhérence & la cohésion des parties sont des qualités usuelles, donnent de nouvelles jouissances. L’homme ajoute done des qualités à celles de la nature ; ceux qui soutiennent que l’action des hommes n’est pas productive, sont done dans l’erreur. Analysons encore les effets de l’action naturelle & de l’action humaine dans la production du pain. Les causes végétatives abandonnées à elle-mêmes ne produiroient que des ronces ou des fruits sauvages. Il faut préparer la terre, labourer & semer : le bled produit, il faut cueillir, vanner, engranger, moudre, pétrir, cuire, & faire passer le bled du lieu de la production aux lieux où il doit subir des changemens, & au lieu où il doit être consommé. On peut done ajouter aux actions premieres du feu, de l’eau, de l’air, de la terre, & à la faculté vegetative de la nature, l’action d’une charrue mise en mouvement par des animaux, & de ceux-ci par le cultivateur ; l’action des bras qui sement, qui sarclent, qui moissonnent, qui vannent, qui engrangent ; l’action du moulin mû par un courant, celle du bras qui pétrit, and of the vehicle that transports. All these causes can be reduced to the activity of nature, or to natural objects put into operation by natural agents and to the activity of man, or [15] to objects put into operation by men. Therefore, both nature and man produceda One could consider the works and services of animals as agents, but their active qualities are so much subordinated to the active principles of the will and skill of men that they can be regarded as passive instruments, like levers, wedges and wheels, or all those things which through their forms, their magnitudes and their quantities become in the hands of men means that augment their powers.

[16] SECOND CHAPTER Of the relation between different kinds of wealth Homogeneous things are compared by their quantities or their magnitudes; but to compare heterogeneous things, one has to find between them some relation of homogeneity, that is to say, to find some homogeneous qualities.7 Useful things are very heterogeneous; in exchange they acquire relations that we want to know. When one considers useful things with the purpose of comparing them, they are called wealth, like things in general are called magnitudes when one considers them with the purpose of comparing them. The words wealth and magnitude are in discourse often used to express useful things, or things in general. However, those words cannot be the absolute expression of real things, they are only an expression for things that are compared: useful things stop being wealth when their relation is annulled. Different kinds of wealth are compared by means of money. When marketed useful things, or commodities, exchange against a certain quantity

At the origins of mathematical economics


a There are people who say that only God produces and that man does not produce. They confuse production with creation. Every particular action produces an effect; it is in that sense that man and natural agents produce. The silkworm produces silk and eggs through which he reproduces, the bee produces honey and wax, the action of the mill produces paper, oil, flour, bran, etc. It is principally against the Economists that we prove that human activity is productive and that the industry of men increases and multiplies wealth by giving new qualities to products of nature. The Economists claim that the products of the land are evidently the only real wealth and that all other products are only metamorphosed subsistence goods and products. We will prove later that human industry increases the general mass of wealth and the mass of disposable wealth and that a part of this disposable mass returns to each industrious person.

du foyer où la chaleur est concentrée, de la voiture qui transporte. Toutes ces causes se réduisent à l’action de la nature, ou des choses naturelles mises en action par les agens naturels, & de l’homme ou [15] des choses mises en action par les hommes ; ce sont done la nature & l’homme qui produisent.(a) On pourroit considérer les travaux & les services des animaux comme des agens ; mais leurs qualités actives sont tellement subordonnées aux principes actifs de la volonté & de l’adresse des hommes, qu’ils doivent être regardés comme des instrumens passifs, tels que les leviers, les coins, les roues, ou tous ceux qui par leurs formes, leurs grandeurs & leurs quantités deviennent entre les mains des hommes des moyens qui suppléent à leurs forces. [16] CHAPITRE SECOND Du rapport des Richesses On compare les choses homogenes par leurs quantités ou leurs grandeurs ; mais pour comparer les choses hétérogenes, il faut leur trouver quelque rapport d’homogénéité, c’est-à-dire, leur trouver quelques qualités homogenes. Dans les choses utiles, il y en a beaucoup d’hétérogenes ; elles acquierent dans les échanges des rapports que nous nous proposons de connoître. Lorsque l’on conçoit les choses utiles pour les comparer, on les nomme richesses, de même que lorsque l’on conçoit les choses en général pour les comparer, on les nomme grandeurs. On prend souvent dans le discours les mots de richesses & de grandeurs pour exprimer les choses utiles ou les choses en général ; cependant ces mots ne peuvent être l’expression absolue des choses réelles, ils ne sont que l’expression des choses comparées, les choses utiles cessent d’être richesses lorsque leur rapport devient nul. On compare les richesses par le moyen des monnoies ; lorsque les richesses mises en vente, ou les marchandises s’échangent contre une certaine quantité (a) Il y a des personnes qui disent qu’il n’y a que Dieu qui produit, & que l’homme ne produit pas ; ils confondent la production avec la creation. Toute cause particuliere produit un effet ; c’est en ce sens que l’homme & les agens naturels produisent. Le ver produit la soie & les œufs par lesquels il se reproduit, l’abeille produit le miel & la cire, l’action du moulin produit du papier, de l’huile, de la farine, du son, &c. C’est principalement contre les Economistes que nous prouvons que l’action humaine est productive, & que l’industrie des hommes accroit & multiplie les richesses, en donnant de nouvelles qualités aux productions de la nature. Les Economistes prétendent que les productions de la terre sont évidemment les seules richesses réelles, & que toutes les autres ne sont que des

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subsistances ou des productions métamorphosées. Nous prouverons, par la suite, que l’industrie humaine accroit la masse générale des richesses, & de la masses des richesses disponibles, & qu’il revient a chaque industrieux une part sur cette masse disponible.

of money, it is said that they are equivalent to that quantity; and consequently useful things can be compared by the quantities of money to which they are equal. If one supposes that money does not exist, then exchange would still be possible, although it would be very difficult. It then happens that a certain quantity [17] of one type of commodity equals a certain quantity of another type of commodity; that a given number of a units of one commodity equals a given number of b units of another. One can conclude from this that the value of the first stands to the value of the second in the ratio of b to a. If commodities have a ratio between them taken two by two, they also have ratios taken together. If one has three units of commodities M, M , M , such that M: M :: 1:2 and M : M :: 3:5, one will have M: M : M :: 3:6 : 10. Those ratios are the values of those units. The word value expresses therefore the ratio between two things that are compared to be exchanged.a How do things acquire value in exchange? How does this value depend on the quantity of goods, and the need that one has for them? How do the quantities depend on need and on values? How are the needs themselves subordinate to quantities and values? That is what has to be discovered successively.

[18] FIRST SECTION Of the relation between commodities in general Here we will consider the direct exchanges of commodities in general against other commodities in the same location, in order to investigate which values they have in terms of one another without the intermediacy of money. We will only consider exchanges between the producer and the consumer, without considering all the exchanges a good goes through from its production to its consumption: the intermediate producers only buy for the consumer. It is easy to see what would happen in an exchange between two isolated proprietors of two commodities, when the need for the surplus of one is equal to the need for the surplus of the other. If one supposes, for example, that the surplus of the first is a quantity a of units M of one commodity, and that that of the second is a quantity b of units M of the other. Since these goods can only be exchanged against one another, because they are supposed to be the only ones available, quantity a of unit M will be equal to quantity b of unit M : thus we will have aM=bM , and consequently

a Speaking of wealth, the word value is hardly taken in an absolute sense. The word which properly expresses the absolute meaning that can be given to it is utility.

At the origins of mathematical economics


de monnoies, on dit qu’elles équivalent à cette quantité ; & on compare les choses utiles par les quantités de monnoies auxquelles elles équivalent. Si l’on suppose que la monnoie n’existe pas, l’échange est plus difficile, il est néanmoins possible. Il arrive alors qu’une certaine quantité de [17] marchandises d’une espece équivaut à une certaine quantité de marchandises d’une autre espece ; qu’un nombre a de mesures déterminées d’une marchandise équivaut à un nombre b de mesures déterminées d’une autre; on peut en conclure que la valeur de la premiere est à la valeur de la seconde dans le rapport de b à a. Si les marchandises ont un rapport entre elles, prises deux à deux, elles ont aussi des rapports prises ensemble. Si on a trois mesures M, M , M , telles que M : M : : 1:2 & M : M : : 3:5, on aura M : M : M : : 3:6 : 10. Ces rapports sont les valeurs de ces mesures. Le mot de valeur exprime done le rapport de deux choses que l’on compare pour les échanger.(a) Comment les choses acquierent-elles une valeur dans les échanges ? Comment cette valeur dépend-elle de la quantité des choses & du besoin qu’on en a ? Comment les quantités dépendent-elles du besoin & des valeurs ? Comment les besoins sont-ils subordonnés eux-mêmes aux quantités & aux valeurs ? C’est ce qu’il faut découvrir successivement. [18] SECTION PREMIERE Du rapport des marchandises en général Nous considérerons ici les échanges immédiats des marchandises en général contre marchandises dans un même lieu, pour rechercher quelles valeurs elles ont entr’elles sans l’intermede des monnoies. Nous ne considérerons les échanges qu’entre le producteur & le consommateur, sans considérer tous les échanges que subit une denrée depuis sa production jusqu’à sa consommation : les producteurs intermédiates n’achetent que pour le consommateur. Il est facile de voir ce qui arriveroit dans un échange entre les propriétaires isolés de deux marchandises, dont les besoins du superflu de l’un équivaudroient aux besoins du superflu de l’autre. Si l’on suppose, par exemple, que le superflu des premiers est une quantité a de mesures M d’une marchandise, & que celui des seconds est une quantité b de mesures M d’une autre ; ces choses ne pouvant être échangées que l’une contre l’autre, puisqu’on les suppose seules, la quantité a de mesures M équivaudra à la quantité b de mesures M : ainsi on aura aM=bM , & par conséquent

(a) En parlant des richesses, on ne prend guere le mot de valeur dans un sens absolu. Le mot qui exprime proprement la signification absolue qu’on pourroit lui donner est l’utilité.

The value of each unit will thus be in inverse ratio to the quantity of units that is offered for exchange. If instead of two commodities, one supposes that three or more commodities are traded, the same will hold for the general value of commodities. Each particular unit [19] will be equal to the sum of offers made for it by the owners of the other commodities,

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divided by the quantity of units of it, or, what is the same thing, the values of commodities will be in direct proportion to the sum of the offers and in inverse proportion to the quantity of units. However, since the offers are composed of several heterogeneous commodities, it is not possible to deduce from the equality, or from the equation that we have just discussed, the relation between two particular commodities. To find the relation between commodities taken two by two, one would have to formulate as many equations as there are commodities. The first member of those equations would contain the quantity of commodities, and the second the sum of offers. We will later determine the quantity of commodities produced and brought to the market. Here it is sufficient to remark that, although each producer seems motivated to give as little as possible in order to receive as much as possible, nevertheless the quantities of produce offered increase because producers fear that each competitor will only obtain a greater quantity of the things they desire by offering more. Let there be three kinds of commodities, available to be exchanged against one another. Let there be a quantity a of units M of one, a quantity b of units M of another, and a quantity c of units M of a third kind. Let the quantity a of commodity M be divided into two parts am and an, which are respectively the sum of the fractions offered by each owner of units of M in order to receive units of M and of M ; let the quantity b of commodity M be divided in two parts bp and bq, which are respectively the sum of fractions [20] offered by each owner of units of M , in order to receive units of M and of M ; let the quantity c of commodity M be divided in two parts cr and cs, which are respectively the sum of fractions offered by each owner of units of M , in order to receive units of M and of M . Those assumptions yield three equations: aM=pbM +rcM , bM =maM + scM , cM =qbM +naM. One can deduce from those three equations the relations between the commodities taken two by two, and one will have

One can also deduce from this the value of each commodity relative to each other one, and the quantities each proprietor will get in exchange for his offers.8 We can also form an idea of the way in which the quantities of particular offers are determined. One cannot say that the offers are relative to the qualities that are desired since those qualities are heterogeneous. One La valeur de chaque mesure sera done en raison inverse de la quantité qui en est exposée en échange. Si au lieu de deux marchandises on en suppose dans le commerce trois, ou un plus grand nombre, il en sera de même pour la valeur générale des marchandises. Chaque mesure particuliere [19] sera égale à la somme des offres faites par les propriétaires des autres marchandises divisée par la quantité des mesures, ou, ce qui est la même chose, les valeurs des marchandises seront en raison directe de la somme des offres & en raison inverse de la quantité des mesures. Mais les offres étant composées de plusieurs marchandises hétérogenes, il n’est pas possible de déduire de l’égalité, ou de l’équation dont nous venons de parler, le rapport de deux marchandises particulieres; pour trouver le rapport des marchandises prises deux a deux, il faudroit former autant d’équations qu’il y a de marchandises ; le premier membre de ces équations contiendroit la quantité de marchandises, le second la somme des offres.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Nous déterminerons par la suite la quantité des marchandises produites & mises dans le commerce ; il nous suffit de remarquer ici que, quoique chaque producteur semble porté à donner le moins qu’il soit possible, pour recevoir le plus qu’il soit possible, les quantités de production croissent, parce que les producteurs craignent que chaque concurrent n’obtienne une plus grande quantité de ce qu’ils désirent qu’eux en offrant davantage. Soient trois marchandises exposées pour être échangées les unes contre les autres ; soient une quantité a de mesures M de l’une, une quantité b de mesures M de l’autre, & une quantité c de mesures M d’une troisieme. Soit divisée la quantité a de marchandises M en deux parties am & an, dont chacune soit la somme des parties offertes par chaque propriétaire des mesures M pour recevoir des mesures M & M ; soit divisée la quantité b de marchandises M en deux parties bp & bq, done chacune soit la somme des parties [20] offertes par chaque propriétaire des mesures M pour recevoir des mesures M & M ; soit divisée la quantité c de marchandises M en deux parties cr & cs, dont chacune soit la somme des parties offertes par chaque propriétaire des mesures M en échange des mesures M & M . Ces suppositions donnent trois équations aM=pbM +rcM , bM =maM+ scM , cM =qbM +naM. On peut déduire de ces trois équations les rapports des marchandises prises deux à deux, & l’on aura

On peut done en déduire aussi la valeur de chaque marchandise relativement à chaque autre, & les quantités que chaque propriétaire attirera en échange de ses offres. Nous pouvons encore nous former une idée de la maniere dont se déterminent les quantités des offres particulieres. On ne peut dire que les offres sont relatives aux qualités que l’on desire lorsque ces qualités sont hétérogenes ; on can compare an ox and a sheep by the quantities of food that can be obtained from those animals, abstraction made from their heterogeneous qualities, such as those that affect taste, or others of that nature. But one cannot compare heterogeneous qualities by their quantities. However, the relation between the quantities of units of one commodity offered, or attracted, in exchange for other heterogeneous commodities, is determined in exchange. The offers of owners of the same commodity differ from one another according to the interest they have in increasing them in order to obtain the preference, when they want to acquire more [of other commodities], or in decreasing [their offers] when they are satisfied with fewer [other commodities]. Those offers also increase or decrease relative [21] to one another, according to the way in which they are desired or abandoned by other owners. It is easy to imagine how values vary as a result of variations in offers. One can see how, proceeding from the assumption that m=n, p=q, and r=s, to the assumption that the quantities n, q, and s equal zero, how, I say, between the extreme suppositions, progressive changes in the offers have an influence on all values. One only has to assume various numbers in place of the algebraic quantities we have just used, assuming always, as we have done up to now, that the quantities of commodities remain constant.

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SECOND SECTION Of the relation of commodities to one of their number, or of the use of money If there are several commodities, M, M , M , M , M , etc., whose values are known, and which are in the ratio of a to b to c to d to e, etc., one could compare all these commodities in terms of one of their number. Thus one will have M : M : : a : b, M : M : : a : c, M : M : : a : d, M : M : : a: e, etc. The values of M , M , M , M will thus be

From this it follows, 1. that the unit of one of the commodities can serve as a common measure for all the others, and that one can always relate the value of all other commodities to it. [22] 2. If this commodity is very valuable in small quantities, it also follows that it could serve as a convenient medium of exchange for all the others. Commodities that thus serve as common measures and media of exchange are called moneys. There are authors who have thought that money is nothing peut comparer le bœuf au mouton par les quantités de nourriture que l’on peut tirer de ces animaux, abstraction faite de leurs qualités hétérogenes, telles que celles qui affectent le goût, ou autres de cette nature; mais on ne peut comparer les qualités hétérogenes par leurs quantités : cependant le rapport des quantités de mesures d’une marchandise offerte, ou attirée en échange de marchandises hétérogenes, est déterminé dans les échanges. Les offres des propriétaires d’une même marchandise varient les unes relativement aux autres par l’intérêt qu’ils ont de les accroître pour obtenir la préférence, s’ils désirent acquerir davantage, ou de les diminuer s’ils sont satisfaits de peu. Ces offres croissent encore ou diminuent les unes [21] relativement aux autres, suivant la maniere dont elles sont désirées ou délaissées par les autres propriétaires. Il est aisé de se rendre compte des variations des valeurs par les variations des offres ; on peut voir comment depuis la supposition où m=n, p=q, r=s, jusqu’à la supposition où les quantités n, q, s, seroient égales à zéro, comment, dis-je, entre les suppositions extrêmes les changements progressifs dans les offres influent sur toutes les valeurs ; il ne faut pour cela que faire différentes suppositions en nombres à la place des quantités algébriques dont nous nous sommes servis, en supposant toujours, ainsi que nous avons fait jusqu’à present, que les quantités de marchandises restent constantes. SECTION SECONDE Du rapport des marchandises à l’une d’elles, ou de l’usage de la monnoie Si l’on a plusieurs marchandises M, M , M , M , M , &c., dont les valeurs soient connues, & qui soient dans le rapport de a à b, à c, à d, à e, &c. on pourra comparer toutes les marchandises à l’une d’elles ; ainsi l’on aura M : M : : a : b, M : M : : a : c, M : M : : a : d, M : M : : a : e, &c. les valeurs de M , M , M , M seront done

At the origins of mathematical economics


D’où il suit, 1°. que la mesure d’une des marchandises peut servir de mesure commune à toutes les autres, & qu’on peut toujours rapporter à cette marchandise les valeurs de toutes les autres. [22] 2°. Si cette marchandise a beaucoup de valeur sous peu de volume, il s’ensuit encore qu’elle pourra servir de gage commode de toutes les autres. Les marchandises qui servent ainsi de mesures communes & de gages sont appellées monnoies. Il y a des Auteurs qui ont pensé que la monnoie n’est autre but a piece of matter to which authorities have given a certain weight and value to serve as price for all others in trade. This is a mistake. Moneys have real values, which metals acquire through their useful qualities, or qualities that make them fit for consumption. It is by virtue of those values that they serve as media for exchange of commodities that may be needed, when one disposes of one’s surplus. It is also a mistake to believe that moneys have a value by convention, or that men have given an imaginary value to money by a general agreement.9 The price of commodities expressed in terms of silver can be considered as a method of counting, whereby one object is taken for comparison. The price expressed in livres, sols and deniers, may be expressed in any other measure, or even in abstract numbers and in fractions. Silver in its function of numéraire is therefore indeed a convention. However, if one considers it as money, one cannot say that it only has a value by convention when serving as medium of exchange. It is natural that the units of commodities that serve as money, at the same time serve as numéraire. There are others who argue that money is only wealth in the country that produces it, and that in other countries it is a connection of trade and medium of exchange. Money is wealth [23] in any place where it has value, just like all products, regardless of the country they come from. It is known that peoples in different times have had different currencies. Some peoples of Asia and Africa have as money shells called cauris or cowries, which are gathered on the Maldive Islands. Those shells have value because those people use them as ornaments. Tobacco has served as money in America. On the African coast makutes, or pieces of nattes of an ell long are used. Oxen among the Athenians and sheep among the Romans served as money before the art of minting coins was invented. Herodotus remarksb that the Athenians learned the art of minting from the Lydians. The first coins of the Athenians carried the imprint of oxen, which had previously been used as money. All commodities that have any value can thus serve as money. Gold, silver and the other metals do not have value by convention, but as a consequence of laws that are common to all commodities.

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THIRD SECTION Consequences of the previous two sections M. de Montesquieu had a false idea of the manner in which the price of things is determined by the [24] variation in currency and he has drawn false conclusions from this mistake. He saysc: ‘If one compares the mass of gold and silver b [Herodotus, The Histories] Book 1. [Par. 94]. c Esprit des Lois, book xxii, chap. 7. [English translation of this passage from Montesquieu 1748 (1989):403].

chose qu’une portion de matiere à laquelle l’autorité a donné un poids & une valeur certaine pour servir de prix à toutes choses dans le commerce. C’est une erreur ; les monnoies ont des valeurs réelles que les métaux acquierent par leurs qualités usuelles ou propres à la consommation ; c’est à raison de ces valeurs qu’ils servent de gages des marchandises dont on peut avoir besoin, lorsqu’on se défait de son superflu. C’est encore une erreur de croire que les monnoies ont une valeur de convention, ou que les hommes out, par un consentement général, donné une valeur imaginaire à la monnoie. Le prix des marchandises exprimé en argent peut être considéré comme une maniere de compter, pour laquelle on prend un objet de comparaison. Le prix exprimé en livres, sols & deniers, auroit pu être exprimé en toute autre mesure, ou même en nombres abstraits & en fractions. L’argent considéré comme numéraire est done en effet de convention; mais si on le considere comme monnoie, on ne peut dire que c’est pas convention qu’il a une valeur en servant de gage. Il est naturel que les mesures des marchandises qui servent de monnoie servent en même temps de numéraire. Il y en a d’autres qui prétendent que l’argent n’est richesse que dans les pays qui le produisent, & que dans les autres il est lien du commerce & gage des échanges. L’argent est richesse [23] partout où il a une valeur, de même que toutes les productions de quelque pays qu’elles viennent. On sait que les hommes dans les différens temps ont eu de monnoies différentes. Quelques peuples d’Asie & d’Afrique ont pour monnoies des coquillages appellés cauris ou cowries, qui se pêchent aux iles Maldives ; ces coquillages ont des valeurs parce qu’ils servent a ces peuples de parures ; le tabac a servi de monnoie en Amérique ; on se sert sur les côtes d’Afrique de makutes, ou de pieces de nattes d’une aulne de longueur ; les bœufs chez les Athéniens, les moutons chez les Romains ont servi de monnoie avant l’invention de l’art de fabriquer des pieces de monnoie. Hérodote rapporte(b) que les Athéniens ont appris des Lydiens l’art de battre monnoie. Les premieres monnoies des Athéniens porterent l’empreinte des bœufs dont on s'étoit servi antérieurement. Toutes les marchandises qui ont quelque valeur peuvent done servir de monnoie. L’or, l’argent, & les autres métaux, n’ont point des valeurs par convention, mais par une suite des loix communes à toutes les marchandises.

At the origins of mathematical economics


SECTION TROISIEME Suite des deux sections précédentes M. de Montesquieu a eu une fausse idée de la maniere dont le prix des choses se fixe dans la variation [24] des richesses de signe, & il a tiré de fausses conséquences de cette erreur. Il dit(c) : « Si l’on compare la masse de For & de l’argent (b) Liv. I. (c) Esprit des Loix, Liv. XXII. Chap. 7.

in the world to the total of commodities there are, it is certain that each kind of produce or commodity can be compared to a certain portion of the entire quantity of gold or silver. As the total of one is to the total of the other, the part of the one will be to the part of the other. Let us assume that there is only a single product or commodity in the world, or that there is only one that is purchased and that it is divisible like silver; a part of that commodity will correspond to a part of the quantity of silver; half of the total of one to half of the total of the other; the tenth, the hundredth, and the thousandth of the one to the tenth, the hundredth, and the thousandth of the other. But as what forms property among men is not all in commerce at the same time and because metals or monies, which are the sign of it, are not all there at the same time either, prices will be fixed in a compound ratio of the total of things in commerce with the total of the signs that are also there; and as the things not in commerce today can be there tomorrow, and as the signs not there today can likewise return there, the establishment of the price of things always depends fundamentally on the ratio of the total of things to the total of signs’. [25] M. de Montesquieu assumes that the sum of commodities in the world is equal to the sum of gold and silver that exists. Each product or commodity says the author, could be compared to a certain portion of the mass of gold and silver. That is true. As the total of merchandises is to the total of gold and silver, a part of the one will be to a part of the other. That is also true. As the total of commodities is to the total of gold and silver, each product or commodity is to a portion of the mass of gold and silver. That is still true. However, this portion is not the value of the products in trade unless the total of commodities is not equivalent to the total of signs, which is absurd, or unless all products and commodities would have the same value. Montesquieu would have been on surer ground had he supposed that the sum of commodities traded is equal to the sum of gold and silver traded within the same unit of time. But he would not have been able to determine by his reasoning the relative prices of things; half, a tenth, a hundredth, a thousandth part of the total of commodities and half, a tenth, a hundredth, a thousandth part of the total of gold and silver stand unquestionably in the same relation as those totals. But what matters is to know what is the relation between one good and the sum of the others in order to determine its value relative to the mass of gold and silver. That is what Montesquieu did not solve. If we suppose, for example, that there are in the world or in trade 1000M+2000M +3000M and a mass of money equal to A. One cannot [26] divide the sum of commodities M, M , and M into one thousand equal parts unless one takes a thousandth part of each. It is certain that

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M+2M +3M is the thousandth part of the sum of money A, as the sum of commodities 1000M+2000M + qui est dans le monde avec la somme des marchandises qui y sont, il est certain que chaque denrée ou marchandise en particulier pourra être comparée à une certaine portion de la masse entiere de l’or & de l’argent. Comme le total de l’une est au total de l’autre, la partie de l’une sera à la partie de l’autre. Supposons qu’il n’y ait qu’une seule denrée ou marchandise dans le monde, ou qu’il n’y ait qu’une seule qui s’achete & qu’elle se divise comme l’argent ; une partie de cette marchandise répondra à une partie de la masse de l’argent ; la moitié du total de l’une a la moitié du total de l’autre ; la dixieme, la centieme, la millieme de l’une à la dixieme, à la centieme, à la millieme de l’autre. Mais comme ce qui forme la propriété parmi les hommes n’est pas tout à la fois dans le commerce, & que les métaux, ou les monnoies qui en sont les signes, n’y sont pas aussi dans le même tems : les prix se fixeront en raison composée du total des choses avec le total des signes, & de celle du total des choses qui sont dans le commerce avec le total des signes qui y sont aussi : & comme les choses qui ne sont pas dans le commerce aujourd’hui peuvent y être demain, & que les signes qui n’y sont point aujourd’hui peuvent y rentrer de même, l’établissement du prix des choses depend toujours fondamentalement de la raison du total des choses au total des signes ». [25] Montesquieu suppose que la somme des marchandises qui est dans le monde est égale à la somme d’or & d’argent qui y est aussi. Chaque denrée ou marchandise, dit cet auteur, pourra être comparée à une certaine portion de la masse d’or & d’argent; cela est vrai : comme le total des marchandises est au total d’or & d’argent, la partie de l’une sera à la partie de l’autre ; cela est vrai aussi : comme le total de marchandises est au total d’or & d’argent, chaque denrée ou marchandise est à une portion de la masse d’or & d’argent ; cela est encore vrai ; mais cette portion n’est pas la valeur de cette denrée dans le commerce, à moins que le total des marchandises n'équivaille au total des signes, ce qui est absurde, ou à moins que toutes les denrées & marchandises soient de même valeur. Montesquieu eût été plus fondé a supposer que la somme des marchandises qui sont dans le commerce est égale à la somme de For & l’argent qui y est aussi dans une même unite de temps ; mais il n’auroit pas déterminé par ses raisonnemens le prix des choses les unes relativement aux autres, la moitié, la dixieme, la centieme, la millieme partie de la somme des marchandises, & la moitié, la dixieme, la centieme, la millieme partie de la somme d’or & d’argent sont sans contredit dans le même rapport que ces sommes : mais il s’agit de savoir quel est le rapport d’une denrée à la somme des autres pour déterminer sa valeur relativement à la masse d’or & d’argent. C’est ce que Montesquieu n’a pas résolu. Supposons, par exemple, qu’il y ait dans le monde ou dans le commerce 1000M+ 2000M +3000M & une masse d’argent égale à A. On ne peut diviser [26] la somme des marchandises M, M , M , en mille parties égales si ce n’est en prenant la millieme partie de chacune. Il est constant que M+2M + 3M est la millieme partie de la somme d’argent A, comme la somme des 3000M is to the sum of money A, but the relations of M, M , and M to the sum of money are still not determined. The subsequent reasoning of Montesquieu about the determination of prices in a compound ratio of the total of things and of the total of signs and of the total of things in trade and of the total of signs that are also there is chimerical.

At the origins of mathematical economics


It is far from true that the value of all commodities present in trade would be doubled by the presence of moneys, because many sales are made through the acquittal of reciprocal debt, and because the same sum can serve in the exchange of several commodities. We will also see later how the mass of tradable wealth differs from the mass of money destined for trade through the effects of credit and circulation. Finally, it is not due to their presence as moneys that metals have values relative to commodities that are being traded, as Montesquieu supposes, it is as commodities suited to needs of consumption and exchange that they have a value. In the first section we have seen how one could calculate the values of commodities in exchange, when one takes the offers of the owners as given. Such calculations would be very complicated in a system with a [27] great number of commodities. We have seen in the second section how the use of a common measure simplifies those calculations. We will see hereafter that the distribution of wealth and the reciprocal means of the owners determine the order of spending, and rule the needs. The means and the needs determine the particular offers which are estimated individually by a common measure. Those offers increase or decrease following the means and the needs. The abundance, or the scarcity of the commodities brings changes to the particular offers, because if the rich do not want to go without the objects of their consumption as a result of scarcity or the fall in quantity, they have to increase their offers relatively to others, in order to obtain the preference and in order to oblige the less rich and the poor to go without those objects or to decrease their consumption because of dearness. Producers and manufacturers compete, and strive to outdo one another to attract the offers of consumers; they deploy all means suggested by taste, skill, invention and emulation, to excite in their favour the taste and capriciousness of the rich, and to set the fashions, which the times cause to appear and disappear rapidly, or to increase consumption by renewing them. There are things that are only bought to produce other things. The desire and need of the consumer rule the degree of preference attached to those goods by the intermediary buyers and producers. [28] There are products that fall or rise in price when the materials needed to grow or produce them become scarcer. Animals for example are cheap, when their food is scarce; certain types of grain become more marchandises 1000M+2000M +3000M est à cette somme d’argent A, mais les rapports de M, de M & de M à la somme d’argent sont encore indéterminés. Les raisonnemens subséquens de Montesquieu sur l’établissement des prix en raison composée de celle du total des choses & du total des signes & de celle du total des choses qui sont dans le commerce & du total des signes qui y sont aussi sont chimériques. Il s’en faut de beaucoup que la valeur de toutes les marchandises qui sont dans le commerce soit doublée par la présence des monnoies, parce qu’il y a beaucoup de ventes faites & payées par acquittement de dettes réciproques, & parce qu’une même somme peut servir à l’échange de plusieurs marchandises. Nous verrons encore dans la suite combien la masse des richesses commerçables differe de la masse d’argent destinée au commerce par les effets du credit & de la circulation. Enfin ce n’est pas leur presence comme monnoies que les métaux ont des valeurs relativement aux marchandises qui sont dans le commerce, ainsi que le suppose Montesquieu, c’est comme marchandises propres aux besoins de la consommation & des échanges.

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Nous avons vu dans la premiere section comment on pourroit calculer les valeurs des marchandises dans les échanges, si l’on formoit des suppositions pour les offres des propriétaires. Un tel calcul seroit très-compliqué dans le systême d’un [27] grand nombre de marchandises. Nous avons vu dans la seconde comment l’usage d’une mesure commune ou de la monnoie étoit propre à simplifier ces calculs. Nous verrons par la suite que la distribution des richesses & les facultés réciproques des propriétaires déterminent l’ordre des dépenses & reglent les besoins. Les facultés & les besoins déterminent les offres particulieres qui sont estimées en particulier par une mesure commune. Ces offres croissent ou décroissent suivant les facultés & les besoins ; l’abondance, ou la rareté des marchandises apporte des changemens dans les offres particulieres, parce que si les riches ne se privent pas des objets de leurs consommations en raison de la rareté ou de la diminution de la quantité, il est nécessaire qu’ils accroissent leurs offres relativement aux autres, pour obtenir les préférences & pour obliger les moins riches & les pauvres à se priver de ces objets ou à diminuer leurs consommations à cause de la cherté. Les producteurs & fabricateurs concourent & s’empressent à l’envie des autres à attirer les offres des consommateurs ; ils déploient tous les moyens que le goût, l’adresse, l’invention & l'émulation leur suggerent pour exciter le goût & le caprice des riches & pour fixer en leur faveur les modes que le temps fait paroître & disparoître rapidement, ou pour multiplier la consommation en les renouvellant. Il y a des choses que l’on n’achete que pour en produire d’autres ; c’est le desir & le besoin du consommateur qui reglent le degré de préférence que leur attachent les acheteurs & producteurs intermédiaires. [28] Il y a des productions qui baissent ou qui haussent de prix lorsque les matieres propres à les nourrir ou à les produire deviennent plus rares. Les bestiaux, par exemple, sont à bon marché lorsque leur nourriture est rare; expensive when others are scarce. Thus particular products share in the dearness that results from the decrease in the quantity of products with similar or homogeneous qualities, and the prices of things do not only depend on their own abundance or scarcity, but also on the abundance or scarcity of other products that have relations of utility or homogenity with them. Everything that is owned and desired for the enjoyment it gives to mankind, and everything that contributes to the production of that which gives enjoyment, is susceptible to exchange; subsistence goods, primary materials which industry makes fit for use, manufactures, precious metals which serve as money, or which can be used as primary materials in industry; land fit for cultivation, for housing or workplaces, all those objects can be exchanged for one another, they thus acquire values like all commodities of which we have spoken in general.

At the origins of mathematical economics


[29] FOURTH SECTION Of the value of labour, services or offices of men The labour, services or offices of men are capable of being exchanged against each other, or against any commodity or product, like one exchanges commodities or products against other commodities or products. The useful qualities that are produced by the labour of men are exchanged against things or useful qualities produced by nature, or by some machine. The value of labour will therefore follow the same laws as that of commodities. The value of homogeneous labours or of homogeneous qualities, produced by labour, will be equal to the sum of offers divided by the quantity of that labour. In particular we estimate the labour of workers during a certain time, by the work that they can do during that time. The value of the labour of a man, during a certain time, is equal to the sum of offers divided by the number of workers, supposing that the training and skill of the workers are the same, and their work is homogenous. Everyone knows that the daily work of workers is paid differently in different countries, as a result of their quantity and the need for them, and that those values differ between periods for the same reasons. The proprietor no more regulates the day’s pay, nor has any control over this price, than he determines the prices [30] of any commodity, nor has any control over those prices. des especes de grains particuliers renchérissent lorsque d’autres sont rares ; ainsi des productions particulieres participant à la cherté qui résulte de la diminution de la quantité des productions qui ont des qualités semblables ou homogenes, & les prix des choses dépendent non seulement de leur abondance ou de leur rareté particulieres, mais encore de l’abondance ou de la rareté des autres productions qui ont avec elles des rapports d’utilité ou d’homogénéité. Tout ce qui est possédé ou desire pour procurer des jouissances aux hommes, & tout ce qui contribue à produire ce qui procure des jouissances, sont susceptibles d'échange ; les productions nécessaires à la vie, les matieres premieres que l’industrie rend propres aux usages, la main d'œuvre, les métaux précieux qui servent de monnoies, ou qui peuvent être employés comme matiere premieres de l’industrie, les terreins propres à produire, à loger, ou à contenir les travaux, tous ces objets peuvent être échanges réciproquement les uns contre les autres, ils acquierent done des valeurs ainsi que toutes les marchandises dont nous parlé en général. [29] SECTION QUATRIEME De la valeur des travaux, services, ou fonctions des hommes Les travaux, services, ou fonctions des hommes sont propres à être échangés entr’eux, ou contre des marchandises ou productions quelconques, ainsi qu’on échange des marchandises ou des productions contre des marchandises ou des productions. Les qualités utiles qui sont produites par les travaux des hommes sont échangées contre des

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choses ou des qualités utiles produites par la nature, ou par un méchanisme quel que ce soit. Les valeurs des travaux suivront done les mêmes loix que celles des marchandises ; la valeur des travaux homogenes ou des qualités homogenes, produites par le travail, sera égale à la somme des offres divisée par la quantité de ces travaux. On estime en particulier le travail des ouvriers, pendant un certain temps, par l’ouvrage qu’ils peuvent faire pendant cet espace de temps. La valeur du travail d’un homme, pendant un certain temps, est égale à la somme des offres divisée par la quantité des travailleurs, en supposant que l’instruction & l’adresse des travailleurs sont les mêmes, & que leurs travaux sont homogenes. Tout le monde sait que les journées d’ouvriers acquierent des valeurs différentes dans les différens pays, à raison de leur quantité & du besoin que l’on en a, & que ces valeurs different dans les différens temps par les mêmes raisons. Le propriétaire ne regle pas plus les journées, & n’a pas plus d’empire sur ce prix, qu’il ne regle les prix [30] de toutes les marchandises, & qu’il n’a d’empire sur ces prix.

FIFTH SECTION Of the interest on wealth, of the value of land, and of the interest on money There is wealth which is destined for immediate enjoyment; there is other wealth destined for production: among the latter, there is wealth whose productive properties are durable, and which yields products, either after repeated periods, or during a period which can be divided into recurrent parts. We will call this fixed capital: it mainly consists of workshops, warehouses, barns, mills and factories, ships, vehicles and productive animals, machines, instruments, tools and productive aids. This wealth annually produces useful things, by adding useful qualities to nature’s raw materials. The annual product of fixed capital acquires value in exchange, like all commodities and products of nature and human activity. Things have values as a result of offers and the desires and the needs of men determine these offers: but one can ask what is the value of those things needed for production. Amongst the things needed for production, or those which form the productive fund, some are only suited to production, and others are [31] both suitable for enjoyment and production: the demand for the former is determined by the competition among producers, and by the needs which each has for those things. The offers made to acquire the things that are suitable both for production and enjoyment are determined by the competition of producers and consumers. Production fights against enjoyment, not only in the division of means between costs of production and consumptive expenditure, but also in the values of things suited to production and enjoyment. That what remains after deducting from the product of capital, or from the value of the useful qualities produced by this capital, the value of the capital necessary to the maintenance, the repair and the replacement of capital, is the surplus which is the interest on capital. It is wealth which in exchange yields to every producer wealth, which he uses in production. That interest is perpetual, because it is such that the owner does not lose

At the origins of mathematical economics


his capital, since we have subtracted from the total quantity of wealth received, in exchange for the annual utility of the productive fund, the costs necessary to maintain and replace it. Let B be the annual value of the useful things produced by the sum R of capital. Let E be the value of capital necessary for upkeep and replacement, and x/I the ratio of the value of the fund to the interest. B−E will be the perpetual interest of R, such that we will have x : I: : R : B−E, and SECTION CINQUIEME De l’intérêt des richesses, de la valeur des biens fonds, & de l’intérêt de l’argent gent Il y a des richesses destinées immédiatement à la jouissance ; il en est d’autres destinées à la production : parmi les dernieres, il en est dont les propriétés productives sont durables & qui rapportent des produits, soit après des intervalles de temps répétés, soit pendant un temps dont on peut diviser l’espace en parties périodiques. Nous appellerons celles-ci des richesses foncieres : elles consistent principalement dans les maisons productives, les magazins, les granges, les moulins & uzines, les vaisseaux, voitures & animaux productifs, les machines, instrumens, outils & ustensiles de la production. Ces richesses produisent annuellement des choses utiles, en ajoutant des qualités utiles aux matieres premieres de la nature. Les produits annuels des richesses foncieres acquierent dans les échanges des valeurs, ainsi que toutes les marchandises & productions de la nature & de l’action humaine. Les choses ont des valeurs en raison des offres, & ces offres sont déterminées par les desirs & les besoins des hommes : mais on peut demander quelle est la valeur des choses propres à la production. Dans les choses propres à la production ou à former des fonds productifs, il y en a qui ne sont propres qu’à la production, & d’autres qui sont [31] propres aux jouissances & à la production : les offres faites pour acquérir les unes sont déterminées par la concurrence des producteurs entr’eux, & par les besoins qu’ils ont des choses les unes relativement aux autres’; les offres faites pour acquérir les choses propres à la production & à la jouissance sont déterminées par la concurrence des producteurs & des consommateurs. La production lutte contre les jouissances, non seulement dans la distribution des moyens en frais de production & en dépenses de jouissances, mais encore dans la valeur des choses propres aux productions & aux jouissances. Après avoir prélevé sur le produit des richesses foncieres ou sur la valeur des qualités utiles produites par ces richesses, la valeur des richesses nécessaires à l’entretien, aux réparations & au renouvellement des richesses foncieres, le surplus est l’intérêt des richesses foncieres ; ce sont les richesses qui rentrent à chaque producteur en échange des richesses qu’il emploie à la production. Cet intérêt est perpetuel ; car il est tel que le propriétaire ne perd pas sa propriété fonciere, puisque nous avons soustrait de la quantité totale de richesses reçue annuellement, en échange de l’utilité annuelle des fonds productifs, les frais nécessaires à les entretenir & à les renouveller. Soit B la valeur annuelle des choses utiles produites par la somme R des richesses foncieres, soit E la valeur des richesses nécessaires à leur entretien & à leur renouvellement, & x/I le rapport de la valeur du fonds à l’intérêt; B—E sera l’intérêt perpetuel de R, ainsi l’on aura x : I : : R : B—E &

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[32] The quantity of capital necessary to renew capital is equal to the value of that capital divided by its durability. Supposing that the sum of capital of the same type is B, that it lasts nine years, and that the replacement is uniform, then it will every year be replaced by one ninth. In general, if d is the time the capital of the same kind lasts, of which the total mass is B, then the value of the annual replacement will be equal to B/d.10 This only applies to capital for which a constant durability is supposed. Otherwise the value of capital which is deemed necessary for replacement, and the interest on that capital, vary as a result of accidents which can be foreseen with more or less precision. When productive capitals have been formed, or composed, by the combination of several moveable capitals, then their values are determined by that of their integral parts. As we have explained, they only have exchange value relative to other wealth, because of their productive properties: thus among the values of capitals, there are ones that determine the rate of interest, and there are ones determined by that rate. Suppose that the mass of productive capital were composed of two parts R and Y, where the value of the first determines the rate of interest, and where the value of the other is determined by that rate. Let B and B be the products of those capitals, or the values of their products; let E and E be the value [33] necessary for their upkeep, repair and replacement; let x be the rate of interest, then one will have x : I: : R+Y : B+B −E−E , and Y: B -E : :x: I. One can always conclude from those two proportions that x : I: : R : B—E. The rate of interest of capitals is therefore determined by given quantities. The valuation of grounds or land, of workshops or real estate, of machines and animals that only have useful qualities in production, comes after the establishment of the rate of interest. This valuation is ruled by what those productive capitals can yield. There are several of those capitals that are not only valued by their products, or by their productive qualities11, but also by their suitability, as perceived by the producer, relative to the productive capital that he already owns. Land has a capital value and an annual value: the former is the selling price, the latter is the rental price. The level of interest determines the relation between those two values. Nevertheless the value of land, relative to the revenue, often differs from the interest rate on capital for several reasons which we will discuss hereafter.12 The interest on money also differs from the interest on capital. The interest on money is the periodical payment which borrowers pay to lenders, or

[32] La quantité des richesses nécessaires au renouvellement des richesses foncieres est égale à la valeur de ces richesses foncieres divisées par le temps de leur durée. En supposant que la somme des richesses foncieres d’une même espece soit B, que ces richesses durent neuf ans, & que le renouvellement se fasse uniformément, il s’en renouvellera tous les ans un neuvieme.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Soit en général d le temps de la durée des richesses d’une même espece dont la masse to tale est B, la valeur du renouvellement sera égal annuellement à B/d. Ceci ne s’applique qu’aux richesses dont on suppose la durée constante, sans quoi la valeur des richesses, que l’on estime nécessaires au renouvellement des richesses foncieres, & l’intérêt de ces richesses foncieres, varient à raison des accidens que l’on prévoit avec plus ou moins d’exactitude. Lorsque les richesses productives ont été formées ou composées par le concours de plusieurs richesses mobiliaires, & que leurs valeurs ont été déterminées par celles de leurs parties intégrantes, ainsi que nous venons de le dire, elles n’ont de valeur vénale, relativement aux autres richesses, que par leurs propriétés productives : ainsi dans les valeurs des richesses foncieres, il en est qui déterminent le taux de l’intérêt ; il y en a qui sont déterminées par ce taux. Supposons que la masse des richesses productives soit composée de deux parties R & Y, dont la valeur des premieres determine le taux de l’intérêt, & dont la valeur des autres soit déterminée par ce taux ; soit B & B les produits de ces richesses ou les valeurs de leurs productions ; soient E & E les valeurs des richesses nécessaires [33] à leur entretien, aux réparations & renouvellement ; soit x le taux de l’intérêt, on aura x : I : : R+Y: B+B −E−E , & Y : B −E : : x : I. On peut toujours conclure de ces deux proportions que x : I : : R : B−E, le rapport de l’intérêt des richesses est done déterminée par des quantités déterminées. L’estimation des terrains ou biens fonds, des maisons productives ou des immeubles, des machines ou des animaux, qui n’ont que des qualités utiles a la production, est postérieure a l’établissement des taux de l’intérêt ; cette estimation est reglée sur ce que ces richesses productives peuvent rapporter. Il y a plusieurs de ces richesses qui sont estimées non seulement par leurs productions, mais encore pour lesquelles les offres sont accrues à raison des convenances que le producteur apperçoit relativement aux richesses productives dont il est déjà propriétaire. Les biens fonds ont une valeur fonciere & une valeur annuelle : la premiere est la valeur de la vente, la seconde est celle du louage ; le taux de l’intérêt détermine le rapport de ces deux valeurs. Cependant la valeur des biens fonds, relativement au revenu, differe souvent du rapport de l’intérêt des richesses par plusieurs raisons, dont nous parlerons par la suite. L’intérêt de l’argent differe encore de l’intérêt des richesses. L’intérêt de l’argent est la retribution périodique que les emprunteurs payent aux prêteurs, which debtors pay to creditors for a fund of which the former make use. We will see what the advantages of loans are to circulation. The interest on money tends to become the same as the interest on capital, because [34] every capitalist tends to draw the same product from his money as he would if he were a producer himself, but many causes prevent the interest on money from reaching that goal. On the one hand, the desire of producers to increase their productivity and to borrow money to increase their profits, and to obtain the preference over one another, tends to raise the interest on money; [on the other hand,] the competition among lenders and the abundance of saved capitals tends to lower it. It is not precisely the abundance of money which diminishes the rate of interest, it is the abundance of capitals destined for production, it is the multiplicity of savings, in favour of production, made on the wealth suited to consumption.

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The multiplicity and the competition of buyers of land tend to raise its value relative to the revenue, and to raise the ratio of that value to that revenue relative to the ratio of fixed capitals to their interest. The multiplicity and the competition of moneylenders tend to diminish the interest rate on money relative to the interest rate on capital.

SIXTH SECTION Of the relation between the costs of production and objects of enjoyment, or disposable wealthd As we have seen, the values of products are established without [35] the costs or expenditures of producers being considered in the deal: but those producers will not produce useful things, if they do not expect to recover their costs, that is to say, the value of the advances necessary to the existence of that commodity. One has to assume therefore that the value of a commodity is at least equal to the costs of production. This value can also surpass the value of those costs. When this is the case, the difference is for the producer the revenue drawn from his enterprise. Those costs consist of the purchase of raw produce, which he has to employ or consume in production, of payment for the labour of men or of workers, and of fixed capital. One can consider costs in relation to wealth, and in relation to producers. Of the sum of particular types of foodstuffs and products, there is one part d In the analysis of the wealth of a nation one often confuses that what constitutes the costs with that what constitutes consumption: the former are the means, the latter the goal. Nevertheless one has often protected the costs under the pretext of splendour scattered over the towns, at the expense of disposable wealth. One will see in the rest of this work of which importance the distinction between costs and disposable wealth is.

ou que les débiteurs payent aux créanciers sur un fonds dont les premiers jouissent. Nous verrons quels sont les avantages des emprunts dans la circulation. L’intérêt de l’argent tend à devenir semblable à l’intérêt des richesses, parce [34] que tout capitaliste tend à tirer de son argent le même produit que s’il étoit lui-même producteur, mais plusieurs causes empêchent l’intérêt de l’argent de parvenir à ce but. Le desir des producteurs, d’une part, d’augmenter leurs effets productifs, d’emprunter pour accroître leurs profits & obtenir la preference les uns sur les autres, tend à accroître l’intérêt de l’argent ; la concurrence des prêteurs & l’abondance des capitaux épargnés tendent à le diminuer. Ce n’est pas absolument l’abondance de l’argent qui diminue le taux de l’intérêt, c’est l’abondance des capitaux destinés à la production, c’est la multiplicité des épargnes faites en faveur de la production sur les richesses propres à la consommation. La multiplicité & la concurrence des acquéreurs de biens fonds tendent à en accroître la valeur relativement au revenu, & a accroître le rapport de cette valeur à ce revenu relativement au rapport des richesses foncieres à leur intérêt. La multiplicité & la concurrence des prêteurs d’argent tendent à diminuer le taux de l’intérêt de l’argent relativement au taux de l’intérêt des richesses.

At the origins of mathematical economics


SECTION SIXIEME Du rapport des frais de productions aux jouissances, ou des richesses disponibles(d) Les valeurs des productions s’établissent, ainsi nous l’avons vu, sans que l’on considere dans [35] le marché les frais ou les dépenses des producteurs : mais ceux-ci se garderont bien de faire naître une chose utile, s’ils n’ont pas l’espérance de retirer leurs frais, c’està-dire la valeur des avances nécessaires à l’existence de cette marchandise. On doit done supposer que la valeur d’une marchandise est au moins égale aux frais de production : cette valeur peut surpasser la valeur de ces frais ; lorsqu’elle la surpasse, la différence est pour le producteur le revenu qu’il en tire de son entreprise. Ces frais consistent dans l’acquisition des matieres premieres qu’il faut employer ou consommer pour la production, dans le payement du travail des hommes ou des ouvriers, & dans les richesses foncieres. On peut considérer les frais des richesses relativement aux richesses, & relativement aux producteurs. Sur la somme des especes particulieres de (d) On confond souvent dans l’analyse de la richesse d’une nation ce qui constitue les frais des richesses & ce qui constitue les richesses de la consommation : l’un est le moyen, l’autre le but ; cependant on a souvent protégé les frais des richesses sous le prétexte de la splendeur qu’ils répandent dans les villes, au prejudice des richesses disponibles. On verra dans la suite de cet ouvrage de quelle importance est la distinction des frais & des richesses disponibles.

employed in production, and another part used for enjoyment: thus of the total sum of wealth, there is really, and abstracting from values, one part employed in production and another used for enjoyment. The producer deducts from the selling price of every type of commodity, the price of the primary materials he has employed or consumed in production, the price of [36] the labour of the workers whom he has paid, and the value of the upkeep, repair and replacement of fixed capital. He can dispose of the rest according to his desires and his enjoyment, or to increase the mass of productive wealth. This portion, which the owner can enjoy freely, constitutes the mass of disposable wealth. It is the noble part of goods. It is the part that the owners enjoy nobly. Let there be two types of commodities 40M and 60M . Suppose that to produce 40M, a consumption of 10M+10M is necessary, and to produce 60M , 5M+10M . Thus, to produce the total of the two products, a consumption of 15M+20M is required, and the value of disposable wealth is equal to 25M+40M . To know what each producer receives of that disposable wealth, one has to suppose values to those two products. Assume, for example, taking a common measure M , that M is worth M , and that M is worth 2M . The producers of 40M would have to incur the costs of 30M or 30M , and could freely dispose of 10M or 10M . The producers of 60M would have to incur the costs of 12½M or 25M , and could freely dispose of 47½M M or 95M . If the quantities produced remain the same, and the offers start to change, both the values and the disposable revenue of the producers will change. If one supposes that M=M , and that M =3M , the disposable revenue of the proprietors or of the producers of 40M will be equal to zero, and that of the producers of 60M will be equal to the total mass of disposable wealth, 25M+40M , or 48⅓M , or [37] 145M . Thus the particular revenues of the producers depend upon the variation of values. The total sum of the disposable products depends absolutely upon the needs of nature. She requires a certain portion of

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the general mass of wealth; she leaves the rest to the enjoyment and the needs of man. The part each producer draws from that portion which is destined for enjoyment, is relative to the particular values of the products. The industry that simplifies the costs of production raises the total of disposable wealth, regardless of variations in values. One can remark that 1. the sum of disposable revenues of owners, is equal to the sum of disposable wealth that nature leaves for enjoyment, after having used the products which are necessary, regardless of the variations in values. Because the value of the products used is equal to the value of the expenditure of producers, and those [disposable] values are the difference between those sums and the general mass of wealth. denrées & de productions, il y a une partie employee à la production, & l’autre à la jouissance : ainsi sur la somme totale des richesses, il y a réellement, & abstraction faite des valeurs, une partie employee à la production, & l’autre partie aux jouissances. Sur le prix de chaque espece de marchandise, le producteur, après avoir prélevé le prix des matieres premieres qu’il a employées ou consommées pour la production, le prix du [36] travail des ouvriers qu’il a payés, & la valeur de l’entretien, des réparations & du renouvellement des richesses foncieres, peut disposer du reste au gré de ses desirs & de ses jouissances, ou pour accroître la masse des richesses productives. Cette portion, dont les propriétaires jouissent librement, constitue la masse des richesses disponibles ; c’est la portion noble des biens ; c’est la portion dont les propriétaires jouissent noblement. Soient deux especes de productions 40M & 60M : on suppose que pour faire naître 40M il faille consommer 10+10M , & que pour faire naître 60M il faille consommer 5M+10M ; pour faire naître la somme de ces deux productions, il a done fallu consommer 15M+20M , & la valeur des richesses disponibles est égale à 25M+40M . Pour savoir ce qui revient à chaque producteur sur cette masse de richesses disponibles, il faut supposer des valeurs a ces deux productions. Supposons, par exemple, en prenant une mesure commune M , que M vaille M , & que M vaille 2M , les producteurs de 40M auront à dépenser en frais la valeur de 30M ou 30M , & pourront disposer de 10M ou de 10M ; les producteurs de 60M auront à dépenser en frais la valeur de 12½M ou 25M , & pourront disposer de 47½M ou 95M . Les quantités de ces productions restant les mêmes, & les offres venant à changer, les valeurs varieront ainsi que les revenus disponibles des producteurs. Si l’on suppose que M=M , & que M =3M , le revenu disponible des propriétaires ou producteurs de 40M sera égal à zéro & celui des producteurs de 60M sera égal à la masse totale des richesses disponibles, à 25M+40M , ou à 48⅓ M , ou [37] à 145M . Les revenus particuliers des producteurs dépendent done des variations des valeurs. La somme des productions disponibles dépend absolument des besoins de la nature ; elle veut une certaine portion de la masse générale des richesses ; elle abandonne le reste aux jouissances & aux besoins des hommes ; la part que chaque producteur retire sur cette portion destinée aux jouissances est relative aux valeurs particulieres des productions. L’industrie qui simplifie les frais de la production accroît la masse de richesses disponibles, quelque soient les variations des valeurs. On peut remarquer 1°. que la somme des revenus disponibles des propriétaires est égale à la somme des richesses disponibles que la nature abandonne à la jouissance, après avoir absorbé les productions qui lui sont nécessaires quelles que soient les variations des valeurs ; car la valeur de ces productions absorbées en frais est égale à la valeur des

At the origins of mathematical economics


dépenses des producteurs, & ces valeurs sont les differences de ces sommes & de la masse générale des richesses. 2. It is easy to see that the increase in a particular commodity causes a decrease in disposable wealth of the owners of this commodity, and an increase for the others; because the more the quantity of this commodity augments, the more its value falls. The producer consequently recovers proportionally less relative to the costs. Thus the more a productive activity increases, the less productive [of revenue] it is to the producer; but it is all the more productive with respect to the general mass of wealth. The more products there are, the more enjoyment there is. The less is consumed by costs, the more disposable wealth there is. [38] 3. When a product does not yield a disposable revenue to its owner, one should not conclude that his activity is not productive; because it produces in reality a part of the things used up as costs, and a part of the things which will, through exchange, end up in the class of disposable wealth. The workers, artists and artisans of every kind, the owners of moveable and immovable capital, the owners of foodstuffs and other agricultural products, divide between them the mass of disposable wealth according to the values of the commodities they expose to the market, or the qualities and useful things they have produced, and the values of the expenses which they have to incur in production. 1. It is possible that because of the ease with which workers or servants are multiplied, they will only be paid in exchange for the products of their work the quantity of products necessary to their subsistence during the period of their work.e Workers should be seen as the owners of the things, or of the useful qualities, which their labour is capable of producing. The things necessary to the subsistence of workers should be seen as the necessary costs of the production of things, or qualities, in question. If the value of labour is such that the workers get a greater value than that [39] of necessary consumption, then the surplus is disposable. The less labour is worth, the more the disposable wealth of other owners will increase through the products of that labour. The more labour is worth, the more the workers will receive of the disposable wealth. M.Quesnai and the Economists were mistaken when they stated as a general fact that industry is not productive. It is possible that labour is not productive relative to workers, in the case that the number of workers would be such that the price of labour is equal to the price of the workers’ subsistence during the period of work. But industry really produces useful qualities, and increases wealth by increasing the total mass of disposable wealth. When the value of labour surpasses the value necessary to the existence of the workers, then industry is productive both relative to the workers, and relative to other owners. e When the ease of multiplication of things is such that one would not have to increase the offers in order to obtain the preference, then those offers will be the least possible, they only consist in what is necessary for the existence of things.

2°. Il est aisé de voir que l’accroissement d’une denrée particuliere produit aux propriétaires de cette denrée une diminution de richesses disponibles & un accroissement pour les autres ; car plus la quantité de cette denrée augmente, plus sa valeur diminue ; le producteur en retire par conséquent d’autant moins relativement aux frais. Ainsi plus une action productive s’accroît, moins elle est productive pour le producteur ; mais elle en est

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d’autant plus productive relativement à la masse générale des richesses. Plus il y a de productions, plus il y a de jouissances ; moins il faut consommer en frais, plus il y a de richesses disponibles. [38] 3°. Lorsqu’une production ne rend point à son propriétaire de revenu disponible, il n’en faut pas conclure que son action n’est pas productive ; car elle produit réellement une portion de choses absorbées par les frais, & une portion de choses qui passe dans la classe des richesses disponibles par les échanges. Les ouvriers travailleurs, artistes & artisans de toutes espece, les propriétaires de richesses foncieres mobiliaires & immobiliaires, les propriétaires des denrées & productions de la terre, partagent entre’eux la masse de richesses disponibles en raison des valeurs des marchandises qu’ils exposent en échange, ou des qualités & choses utiles qu’ils ont produites, & des valeurs des dépenses qu’ils ont a faire pour la production. 1°. Il est possible que par la facilité de la multiplication des travailleurs ou serviteurs, il ne leur rentre, en échange des productions de leurs travaux, que la quantité de productions nécessaires à leur subsistance pendant le temps de leurs travaux.(e) On doit considérer les travailleurs comme des propriétaires des choses ou des qualités utiles que leurs travaux sont propres à produire. Les choses nécessaires à la subsistance des travailleurs doivent être regardées comme les frais nécessaires à la production des choses ou qualités dont il s’agit. Si les valeurs des travaux son telles que les travailleurs retirent une plus grande valeur que celle [39] de ce nécessaire, le surplus est disponible. Moins vaudront les travaux, plus la part de richesses disponibles des autres propriétaires sera accrue par les productions de ces travaux ; plus vaudront les travaux, plus les travailleurs retireront de richesses disponibles. M.Quesnai & les Economistes ont done été induits en erreur, lorsqu’ils ont dit généralement que l’industrie n’étoit pas productive. Il seroit possible que les travaux ne fussent pas productifs relativement aux travailleurs, dans le cas où la quantité des travailleurs seroit telle que le prix des travaux fût égal au prix de la subsistance des travailleurs pendant le temps du travail ; mais l’industrie produit réellement des qualités utiles, & multiplie les richesses en augmentant la masse générale de richesses disponibles. Lorsque la valeur des travaux surpasse la valeur du nécessaire à l’existence des travailleurs, (e) Lorsque la facilité de la multiplication des choses est telles qu’il ne faille point accroître les offres pour obtenir la preference, ces offres sont les moindres qu’il soit possible, elles ne consistent que dans le nécessaire à l’existence des choses.

2. We have seen that of the value of things produced by capital a part will be subtracted for upkeep, repair and replacement of that capital. The surplus is a part of the mass of disposable wealth, which is enjoyed by owners of capital. 3. Agricultural products, like the things of which we have spoken, give to landowners a part of the disposable wealth, due to the difference between their value and the costs which are necessary to their existence. We can demonstrate what we have said about disposable wealth by giving the example of a system of wealth. [40] Suppose there to be 300 men needed to execute work T during a certain time, and 600 men needed to execute work T . Let there be any number of owners of 800 products P,

At the origins of mathematical economics


and owners of 1,000 products P . Let there be a mass N of fixed capital. Assume the costs necessary to the existence of 300T, 20T + 100P + 20P + 1/12Nf the costs of 600T , 10T + 40P + 200P + 1/6N those of 800P, 30T + 20T + 100P + 1/4N those of 1000P , 20T + 30T + 60P + 1/2N

and let the costs necessary to the upkeep, repair, and replacement of N be 110T + 200T +300P + 90P . The total costs will be 170T + 270T +500P + 41 0P + N. The sum of disposable wealth will be 130T + 330T' +300P + 590P .

One has to suppose values to labour, to products and to fixed capital, to be able to determine what precise part of the disposable wealth must be obtained by the workers, the owners of products and of fixed capital. The different assumptions of values must make those parts vary, or reduce them to zero. One cannot therefore maintain, as the Economists do, that there are activities which do not produce any disposable wealth, and which, to use their expression, are sterile such as the activities of industry and of fixed capital.g f It is supposed that those things are capable of producing the subsistence goods of workers. g The Economists have said that industry is not productive and that the class of those who work up the products of the land is a sterile class, that industrial products are only additions and not multiplications and that adding up is not multiplying [see Quesnay 1766:207]. Those authors have not at

l’industrie est productive relativement aux travailleurs, & relativement aux autres propriétaires. 2°. Nous avons vu que sur la valeur des choses produites par les richesses foncieres, une partie étoit prélevée pour l’entretien, les reparations & le renouvellement de ces richesses, le surplus est une part de la masse des richesses disponibles dont jouissent les propriétaires des richesses foncieres. 3°. Les productions de la terre donnent, ainsi que les choses dont nous avons parlé, aux propriétaires des terres, une portion de richesses disponibles par la difference de leur valeur, & de celle des frais nécessaires à leur existence. Nous pouvons démontrer, par exemple, d’un systême de richesses, ce que nous venons de dire sur les richesses disponibles. [40] Soient supposés 300 hommes propres à exécuter les travaux T pendant un certain temps, & 600 hommes propres à exécuter les travaux T , soit des nombres quelconques de propriétaires de 800 productions P, & de propriétaires de 1000 productions P , soit une masse N de richesses foncieres. Soit les frais nécessaires à l’existence de 300T, 20T' + 100P + 20P' les frais de 600T , 10T + 40P + 200P ceux de 800P, 30T + 20T + 100P ceux de 1000P , 20T + 30T + 60P

+ 1/12N(f) + 1/6N + 1/4N + 1/2N

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soient les frais nécessaires a l’entretien, aux reparations & au renouvellement de N, 110T + 200T +300P + 90P . La somme des frais sera 170T + 270T +500p + 410p +N la masse des richesses disponibles sera 130T + 330T + 300P+ 590P .

Il faut done supposer des valeurs aux travaux, aux productions & aux richesses foncieres, pour déterminer quelle est la part de richesses disponibles qui doit revenir en particulier aux travailleurs & aux propriétaires de productions & de richesses foncieres. Les différentes suppositions de valeurs doivent done faire varier ces parts ; ou les réduire à zero ; on ne peut done affirmer, ainsi que les Economistes, qu’il y a des actions qui ne produisent point de richesses disponibles, & qui sont stériles, suivant leur expression, telles que celles de l’industrie & des richesses foncieres.(g) (f) On suppose que ces choses sont propres à produire les subsistances des travailleurs. (g) Les Economistes ont dit que l’industrie n’est pas productive, & que la classe de ceux qui travaillent sur les productions de la terre est une classe sterile, que les productions industrielles ne sont que des additions, & non des multiplications, & qu’additionner n’est pas multiplier. Ces auteurs n’ont point

[41] Suppose, for example, taking A as a common measure, that T=A, T =2A, P=A, P =3A, and N=1200A. The value of 300T will be 300A, that of 600T will be 1200A, that of 800P will be 800A, that of 1000P will be 3000A, and that of N 1200A. The total value of the mass of wealth will be 6500A; the value of the costs of 300T will be 300A, that of the costs of 600T will be 850A, that of the costs of 800P will be 670A, that of the costs of 1000P will be 740A, the costs of upkeep, repair and replacement of N will be [42] 1080A. The total value of costs will be 3640A. The disposable revenue of the owners of T will be equal to zero; that of the owners of T will be 350A, that of the owners of P will be 130A, that of the owners of P will be 2260A, and that of the owners of N will be 120A. 1. One can remark that it is only by virtue of a supposition of value that the owners of T do not have any disposable wealth, and that one could make an infinite number of other suppositions where those owners would get a part of the disposable wealth. 2. One can make other suppositions where the other owners do not have any disposable revenue, but the real mass of disposable wealth, 130T+ 330T +300P+590P , will always be divided among those owners for whom the value of their products exceeds the value of the costs. 3. Under the supposition of values which we have just made, the interest is one tenth of the value of the funds, the interest rate is 10%.13 4. One can suppose that N is a mass of any kind of commodities; and one can note that although that mass would be completely used up as costs, the production of N nevertheless yields a disposable portion to the producers of those commodities.

At the origins of mathematical economics


SEVENTH SECTION Of the quantity of things or of commodities The quantity of each type of commodity tends to grow in order to satisfy the needs and [43] desires, which are unlimited for every individual person, all regarded the interest on wealth as a disposable product. They have regarded the product of the sale of the things produced by capital as a repayment of those costs; they have said that taxes levied on that interest would cause the funds to waste away [perhaps see Turgot 1766, par. 96]; they have said that in the general distribution of wealth labour and capital only receive the salaries due to that labour and to that capital. One could reproach them for having represented the landowners as being seated on a throne and distributing to both sides the salaries of the two classes according to how they value their advances, their talents, their activity, etc. They have not realised that according to their own principles about the freedom of exchange, wheat is no more the salary of labour than labour is the salary of wheat, interest is no more the salary of the capitalist than the things which he produces are the salary of interest. There is exchange everywhere and it is in exchange that values are determined, it is through the values that each proprietor of labour, of products and of capital attracts a part of the disposable wealth. [41] Supposons, par exemple, en prenant une mesure commune A que T=A, T =2A, P=A, P =3A & N=1200A. La valeur de 300T sera 300A ; celle de 600T sera 1200A, celle de 800P sera 800A, celle de 1000P sera 3000A, & celle de N sera 1200A, la valeur totale de la masse des richesses sera 6500A ; la valeur des frais de 300T sera 300A, celle des frais de 600T sera 850A, celle des frais de 800P sera 670A, celle des frais de 1000P sera 740A, les frais d’entretien, de reparation & de renouvellement de N vaudront [42] 1080A ; la valeur totale des frais sera de 3640A ; le revenu disponible des propriétaires de T sera égal a zero, celui des proprié-taires de T sera 350A, celui des propriétaires de P sera 130A, celui des propriétaires de P sera 2260A, celui des propriétaires de N sera 120A. 1°. On peut remarquer que ce n’est qu’en vertu d’une supposition de valeur que les propriétaires de T n’ont point de revenus disponibles, & que l’on peut faire une infinite d’autres suppositions où ces propriétaires retireront une portion de richesses disponibles. 2°. On peut faire différentes suppositions où d’autres propriétaires n’auront point de revenu disponible, mais la masse réelle de richesses disponibles 130T+330T +300P+590P sera toujours partagée entre ceux dont la valeur des productions excédera la valeur des frais. 3°. Dans la supposition de valeurs que nous venons de faire, l’intérêt est le dixieme de la valeur des fonds ; cet intérêt a 10 pour %. 4°. On peut supposer que N est une masse de marchandises quelconques; & l’on peut remarquer que quoique cette masse soit entiérement employee en frais, la production de N ne rapporte pas moins une portion disponible aux producteurs de ces marchandises.

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SECTION SEPTIEME De la quantité des choses ou des marchandises La quantité de chaque espece de marchandises tend a croître pour satisfaire aux besoins & aux [43] desirs qui, considered dans les hommes en regardé l’intérêt des richesses comme un produit disponible, ils ont regardé le produit de la vente des choses produites par les richesses foncieres comme la rentrée de ces frais ; ils ont dit que les frais publics, pris sur cet intérêt, causeroient le dépérissement des fonds; ils ont dit que les travaux & les capitaux ne reçoivent dans la distribution générale des richesses que le salaire dû a ces travaux & a ces capitaux. On pourroit leur reprocher d’avoir représenté les propriétaires des terres assis sur un trône & distribuant de part & d’autre des salaires aux autres classes, selon qu’ils estimoient leurs avances, leurs talens, leur activité &c. Ils n’ont pas songé que d’après leurs principes mêmes sur la liberté des échanges, le bled n’est pas plus le salaire du travail que le travail n’est le salaire du bled, l’intérêt n’est pas plus le salaire du capitaliste que les choses qu’il produit ne sont le salaire de l’intérêt. Il y a par tout échange, c’est dans les échanges que les valeurs sont déterminées, c’est par les valeurs que chaque proprié-taire de travaux de production & des capitaux attiré une part de richesses disponibles. but which within a social system are limited by one another. There are men whose needs and physical desires could only be satisfied by controlling the whole world, by owning all land, all inhabitants, their labour, and all the products of the land and the sea. When the quantity of a commodity increases through whatever cause, then either its value falls proportionally, when the offers remain the same, or the offers increase, because the poorest consumers, discouraged by the dearness [of other commodities], are attracted by the fall in price and the abundance [of the commodity in question]. In this second case, the price does not fall as a result of the increase in quantity. When the quantity of a commodity decreases, the opposite will happen. Either its value increases as a result, when the offers remain the same, or the offers diminish, because the poorest consumers, discouraged by the dearness, redirect their offers to other commodities which they enjoy less, but which they can afford. In this second case the price does not increase as a result of the decrease in quantity. The value of a commodity is equal to the sum of the offers divided by its quantity, and the value of the total quantity of a commodity is equal to the sum of offers. Let B be the sum of offers, a the quantity of a commodity, let F be the cost per unit, and P the disposable part which is obtained by all owners. One will have P=B−aF. Therefore the disposable product is equal to zero when B=aF, or when a=B/F. [44] Consequently, 1. the limits to the increase in quantities of commodities will be the sum of the offers given to the owners divided by the costs necessary to their existence. 2. When the quantity of some type of commodity is equal to the sum of offers divided by the unit costs, the disposable product is equal to zero.

At the origins of mathematical economics


3. If the ease of multiplication of a thing is such that one would not have to increase the offers to obtain the preference, then the offers will be the least possible, and that minimum will be what is necessary to the existence of this thing. 4. The more the quantity increases, the more the disposable product decreases, assuming that the offers stay the same. 5. The more the sum of offers increases relative to the quantity of a commodity, the more the disposable product increases. 6. If the costs increase, the disposable product decreases; but if the costs increase when that product is equal to zero, then it must be that the sum of offers increases, or that the quantity decreases. That is to say, the thing in question either has to be so necessary that the offers are redirected from elsewhere in preference of other things, or the quantity diminishes if that thing is not so necessary. 7. If costs decrease, the disposable product will increase. But when those costs decrease and that product remains equal to zero, this is because the offers will be decreased or the quantity will be increased. We will apply this to labour, to products and to fixed capital. particulier, n’ont point de limites assignables, mais qui sont limités les uns par les autres dans un systême social. Il est des hommes dont les besoins & les desirs physiques ne pourroient être satisfaits que par l’empire du monde, que par la propriété de la terre entiere, de tous les habitans, de leurs travaux, & de toutes les productions terrestres & maritimes. Lorsque la quantité d’une marchandise augmente, par quelque cause que ce soit, ou sa valeur diminue en même raison, si les offres restent les mêmes, ou les offres augmentent, parce que les consommateurs les moins riches, rebutés par la cherté, sont attirés par la diminution de prix & l’abondance; dans ce second cas, le prix ne diminue pas en raison de l’accroissement de quantité. Lorsque la quantité d’une marchandise diminue, il arrive l’inverse ; ou sa valeur augmente en même raison, si les offres restent les mêmes, ou les offres diminuent, parce que les consommateurs les moins riches, rebutés par la cherté, porteront leurs offres vers d’autres marchandises dont ils estiment moins la jouissance, mais qu’ils auront le moyen de payer ; dans ce second cas, le prix n’augmente pas en raison de la diminution de quantité. La valeur d’une marchandise étant égale à la somme des offres divisée par la quantité, ou la valeur de la quantité to tale d’une marchandise égale à la somme des offres, soit B la somme des offres, a la quantité d’une marchandise, soient F les frais de chacune, & P la part disponible qui revient à tous les propriétaires. On aura P=B—aF, ainsi le produit disponible est égal à zero, lorsque B=aF, ou lorsque a=B/F. [44] Par consequent 1°. les limites de l’accroissement des quantités de marchandises seront les sommes des offres faites aux propriétaires divisées par les frais nécessaires à leur existence. 2°. Lorsque la quantité de marchandises d’une espece est égale à la somme des offres divisée par les frais de chacune, le produit disponible est égal à zero. 3°. Si la facilité de la multiplication d’une chose est telle qu’il ne faille point accroître les offres pour obtenir la preference, les offres seront les moindres qu’il soit possible, & ce minimum sera le nécessaire à l’existence de cette chose.

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4°. Plus la quantité augmentera, plus le produit disponible diminuera, les offres restant les mêmes. 5°. Plus la somme des offres augmentera relativement a la quantité d’une marchandise, plus le produit disponible augmentera. 6°. Si les frais augmentent, le produit disponible diminuera ; mais si ces frais augmentent lorsque ce produit est égal à zéro, il faut, ou que le somme des offres augmente, ou que la quantité diminue ; c’est à dire, il faut que la chose dont il s’agit soit d’une nécessité telle que les offres soient retirées d’ailleurs pour lui être apportées préférablement, ou que la quantité diminue si cette chose n’est pas de cette nécessité. 7°. Si les frais diminuent, le produit disponible augmentera ; mais si ces frais diminuent, ce produit restant égal à zero, c’est parce que les offres seront diminuées ou la quantité sera augmentée. Nous allons appliquer ceci aux travaux, aux productions & aux richesses foncieres.


Of the number of workers It follows from what we have just said that, 1. the number of workers can grow until it becomes equal to the sum of offers divided by that which is necessary to the existence of each worker, or at least to the existence and the subsistence of each during the time of uninterrupted work or interrupted only by the necessary breaks.14 2. Every time the number of workers during a given period, will be equal to the sum of offers divided by that which is necessary to the maintenance of each worker during that period, the value of their labour will be equal to that maintenance, and the worker will be reduced to necessary consumption. 3. The more the sum of offers increases relative to the number of workers, that is to say, the more is offered to obtain the preference when the number [of workers] is insufficient, the higher the wages will be, that is to say, the more they will receive remunerations above the necessary. 4. The more the offers decrease, the more they tend to be reduced to the necessary. 5. If labour is made easier, that is to say, if less labour is required to produce the same thing,h either the sum of offers will remain the same, [46] in which case the disposable portion of workers will increase, and all will gain, or the sum of offers will fall, and the decrease will be offered to other labours and to other objects of enjoyment, in which case the workers will share with the consumers the increase in disposable wealth, or the products of labour will increase until the workers are reduced to the necessary. It is in the interest of the consumers of disposable wealth that the objects of their consumption are produced by the smallest number of workers and the least labour possible, and that each type of product is multiplied as much as possible, in order that the quantity of disposable wealth is increased as much as possible.

At the origins of mathematical economics


SECOND ARTICLE Of the quantity of products of the earth There are products of the earth which exist completely formed in her bosom, which are born, multiply, or grow in her bosom or on her surface, and whose increase is only limited by the slow course of nature. Such are the mines, the quarries and animals of every kind. The quantities of h Breaks, or any forced interruptions, are complications to activities within a given time. These interruptions or rest periods increase the necessary [costs] to the existence of the workers during the working time.

[45] ARTICLE PREMIER De la quantité des travailleurs Il suit de ce que nous venons de dire que, 1°. la quantité des travailleurs peut croître jusqu’à ce qu’elle devienne égale à la somme des offres divisée par ce qui sera nécessaire à l’existence de chacun, ou au moins à l’existence & à la subsistance de chacun pendant le temps du travail interrompu ou non interrompu [que] par des temps de repos nécessaires. 2°. Toutes les fois que la quantité de travailleurs, dans un temps déterminé, sera égale à la somme des offres divisée par ce qui sera nécessaire à l’entretien de chacun pendant ce temps, la valeur de leur travail sera égale à cet entretien, & les travailleurs seront réduits au nécessaire. 3°. Plus la somme des offres augmentera relativement à la quantité des travailleurs, c’est-à-dire, plus on leur offrira pour obtenir la préférence lorsque la quantité sera insuffisante, plus forts seront les salaires, c’est-à-dire, plus ils auront de retribution audelà du nécessaire. 4°. Plus les offres diminueront, plus ils approcheront d’être réduits au nécessaire. 5°. Si des travaux se simplifient, c’est-à-dire, s’il faut moins de travail pour produire la même chose,(h) ou la somme des offres restera la même, [46] & alors la portion disponible des travailleurs croîtra, & ils gagneront chacun davantage ; ou la somme des offres diminuera, & la diminution sera offerte à d’autres travaux & à d’autres jouissances, alors les travailleurs partageront avec les consommateurs l’augmentation de richesses disponibles, ou les productions du travail croîtront jusqu’à ce que les travailleurs soient réduits au nécessaire. Les consommateurs de richesses disponibles sont intéressés à ce que les objets de leur consommation soient produits par le moins d’hommes & le moins de travail qu’il soit possible, & à ce que les moindres frais possibles, pour chaque espece de production, soient multiplies le plus qu’il soit possible, afin d’accroître les quantités de richesses disponibles le plus qu’il soit possible.

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ARTICLE SECOND De la quantité des productions de la terre Il y a des productions de la terre qui existent toutes formées dans son sein, qui naissent, se multiplient, ou s’accroissent dans son sein ou sur sa superficie, & dont l’accroissement ne rencontre de limites que dans la marche lente de la nature, tels sont les mines, les carrieres & les animaux de toute espece. (h) Des interruptions de travail, ou des repos forces par des causes quelconques, sont des complications de travail dans un même temps ; ces interruptions ou ces repos augmentent le nécessaire a l’existence des travailleurs pendant le temps du travail.

those productions follow the laws of things in general, of which we have spoken. As for vegetable products, the limit to the increase of their total sum is the amount of cultivable land, and the limit of the increase of the quantities of particular products [47] is the surface of the earth suitable to the cultivation of that product. But since there are lands which are suitable to several products, the distribution of those products, in order to satisfy the demands, determines the limits between the particular quantities. What determines this distribution? In which ratio is the earth divided for [the cultivation of] the different products? Who determines the ratios between the cultivation of wheat, of vines, of wood, of pasturage, their conservation or their continuation, the mutability or the immutability of these cultivations?i It is nothing but the gain of the proprietor, or the profit of the producer. The cultivation of products is distributed in such a manner that each yields the greatest possible product relative to costs. And on lands that are equally suited to different products, because of their exposures, slopes, their soil or climate, [48] the cultivation is divided in such a manner that the disposable products are equal in a same space. If one supposes the commodities M and M , the total quantities of those two products will become such that the disposable products are in inverse ratio to the quantities c and d which equal plots of land could produce. Because, supposing that an equal piece of land could produce cM or dM , the disposable products P and P from lands producing these different products, have to be equal. Thus one will have cP=dP .15 The disposable products depend upon the change in quantities, the offers remaining the same. Therefore it has to be that the quantities will be such that the disposable products of each product will be in inverse ratio to those quantities. iSeveral writers have written in a very vague manner about the division of cultures. Some have said that vines should be suppressed, others that pastures should be suppressed, others that forests should be suppressed in order to substitute them for cultivable lands. The needs of men, their abilities to pay and their offers determine this division. This natural division has often been disturbed by laws and prohibitions. The Roman laws regulated the size of farms: colonis prohibitum plus quigenta jugera habere (Gellius [The Attic Nights] cap. 3. 1. 7). Jugerum was that what a team of two oxen could work in a day. The Carthaginians forbade the Sardinians to cultivate the soil on penalty of death. Domitian had all vines in Gaul uprooted. In France the parliaments have followed his example. In the past similar laws were made in England. In order to repopulate the isle of Wight, which had too many fields and pastures, Henry VII had all hedges and fences of

At the origins of mathematical economics


those fields destroyed. A statute from the reign of that same prince fixes the number of acres of which each farm had to consist and enjoined all proprietors of a surface of 30 to 50 acres to build a house on it. Elizabeth limited the number of those houses. Some people still think that one should limit the size of farms in order to favour population. We will later [pp. 80–9] examine the relation between prohibitive laws and population.

Les quantités de ces productions suivent les loix des choses en général dont nous avons parlé. Quant aux productions végétales, la limite de l’accroissement de leur somme est la surface de la terre propre à la vegetation, & la limite de l’accroissement des quantités de productions particulieres [47] est la surface de la terre dont la faculté végétative est propre à cette production ; mais comme il y a des terres propres à plusieurs productions, la distribution de ces productions, de maniere à satisfaire aux demandes, determine les limites entre les quantités de productions particulieres. Comment se fait cette distribution ? Dans quel rapport est partagée la terre pour les différentes productions ? Qu’est-ce qui determine les rapports des cultures de blé, de vignes, de bois, de paturage, leur conservation ou leur continuation, la mutabilité ou l’immutabilité de ces cultures?(i) Ce n’est autre chose que le gain du propriétaire ou le profit du producteur. La culture des productions est distribuée de maniere que chacune donne le plus grand produit qu’il soit possible relativement aux frais & dans les terrains indifféremment propres, par leurs expositions, leurs inclinaisons, le sol ou le climat, à différentes especes de productions, [48] les cultures se distribuent de maniere que les produits disponibles soient égaux dans un même espace. Supposant des mesures M & M de deux productions, les quantités totales de ces deux productions deviendront telles que les produits disponibles soient en raison inverse des quantités c & d que peuvent produire des surfaces égales de terrain ; car supposant qu’une mesure commune de terrain produise cM & dM , les produits disponibles P & P des terrains qui produisent différentes denrées doivent être égaux, ainsi l’on aura cP=dP . Les produits disponibles dépendent du changement des quantités, les offres restant les mêmes. Il faudra done que les quantités soient telles que les produits disponibles de chaque production soient en raison inverse de ces quantités. (i) Plusieurs Ecrivains ont écrit d’une maniere très vagues sur la distribution des cultures ; les uns ont dit qu’il falloit supprimer des vignes, d’autres qu’il falloit supprimer des paturages, d’autres qu’il falloit supprimer des bois pour y substituer des terres labourables. Les besoins des hommes, leurs facultés & leurs offres reglent cette distribution. On a souvent gêné cette distribution naturelle par des loix & des prohibitions. Les loix romaines régloient l’étendue des fermes : colonis prohibitum plus quingenta jugera habere. (Gellius cap.3. 1.7.) jugerum étoit ce que deux bœufs attelés pouvoient labourer en un jour. Les Carthaginois défendirent aux Sardes de cultiver la terre sous peine de la vie. Domitien fit arracher les vignes dans la Gaule ; les parlements ont suivi son exemple en France. On a fait autrefois en Angleterre des loix semblables. Henri VII pour peupler l’isle de Whigt, qui contenoit trop de prairies & de paturages, fit détruire toutes les hayes & les clotures de ces prairies. Un statut du regne de ce même Prince fixa le nombre d’acres dont chaque ferme devoit être composée, & enjoignit à tous les propriétaires d’une superficie de 30 à 50 acres d’y bâtir une habitation. Elisabeth limita le nombre de ces habitations. Plusieurs personnes pensent encore qu’on doit limiter l’étendue des fermes pour favoriser la population. Nous examinerons par la suite le rapport des loix prohibitives avec la population.

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THIRD ARTICLE Of the quantity of fixed capital 1. Fixed capitals distribute themselves to serve the different uses in agriculture, [49] industry, and commerce, in such a way that their values will be in the same ratio to the offers made in exchange for their products minus the costs of upkeep, repair and replacement, so that the ratios of funds to the interest will be uniformly the same in the different enterprises. This uniformity is achieved, and equilibrium establishes itself, because funds make themselves available, and flow to the places where the interest is highest, and because like things have the same value. When things have a higher price in one place than in another, they flow there and equilibrium is re-established.16 Let F be the value of the funds employed in agriculture, and let F be that of the funds employed in industry; let B be the sum of offers given for the value of the agricultural products, minus the costs of upkeep, repair and replacement, and B the sum of offers given for the value of the industrial products, minus the same costs. The ratio of F to F must be equal to the ratio of B to B , for the ratio of F to B to be equal to the ratio of F to B , or for the rate of interest to be uniformly the same. This uniformity is not only achieved between agricultural and industrial enterprises in general, but also between all individual enterprises. 2. If it were possible that the fixed capitals of agricultural, industrial and commercial enterprises were in such great number and so much within the means of those who employ them that no offers would have to be made in order to obtain the preference when purchasing the products of those capitals, then the interest would be reduced to zero. 3. The more fixed capitals increase, [50] the offers remaining the same, the more interest falls. 4. The more the sum of offers increases to attract the preference, the more interest rises. 5. If the costs of upkeep or replacement increase or decrease, then the increase will diminish interest, the decrease will raise interest. 6. The more fixed capitals tend to produce their greatest possible effects, by means of their active forces, or by means of the duration of their employment, the lesser will be the quantity [of capital] required to achieve the same effect, and the lower will be their value relative to their product. The lower this value is, the higher the interest on those capitals will be, assuming that the offers remain the same, or until a change in the offers takes place. As a result of this fall in the value of fixed capital because of a similar effect, new capital goods could be produced, and this could result in the increased production of consumption goods. This real increase in wealth will either be shared between producers and consumers, or will be obtained by either of them, according to the changes that will take place in the offers or the values. It is therefore the same with the effects of fixed capital, as with the

At the origins of mathematical economics


ARTICLE TROISIEME De la quantité des richesses foncieres 1°. Les richesses foncieres se distribuent pour servir aux différens usages de l’agriculture, de [49] l’industrie & du commerce, de maniere que leurs valeurs soient en même raison que les offres qui sont faites en échange de leurs productions, moins les frais d’entretien, de réparations & de renouvellement, afin que les rapports des fonds à l’intérêt soient uniformément les mêmes dans les différentes entreprises. Cette uniformité a lieu, & l’équilibre s’établit, parce que les fonds se rendent & affluent dans les lieux où l’intérêt est le plus fort, & par la même raison que les choses semblables ont une même valeur, lorsque les choses sont plus payées dans un lieu que dans un autre, elles y affluent, & l’équilibre se rétablit. Soit F la valeur des fonds employés à l’agriculture, & soit F celles des fonds employés à l’industrie ; soient B la somme des offres faites pour la valeur des productions des uns, moins les frais d’entretien, de reparations & de renouvellement, & B celle des offres faites pour la valeur des productions des autres, moins les mêmes frais ; il est nécessaire que le rapport de F à F soit égal au rapport de B à B , pour que le rapport de F à B soit égal au rapport de F à B , ou pour que le taux de l’intérêt soit uniformément le même. Cette uniformité a lieu non seulement entre les entreprises de l’agriculture & de l’industrie en général, mais encore entre toutes les entreprises particulières. 2°. S’il étoit possible que les richesses foncieres des entreprises de l’agriculture, de l’industrie & du commerce, fussent en si grand nombre, & tellement à la portée de ceux qui les emploient qu’il n’y eût point d’offres à faire pour obtenir la preference, en se procurant les productions de ces richesses, l’intérêt se réduiroit à zero. 3°. Plus les richesses foncieres augmenteront, [50] les offres restant les mêmes, plus l’intérêt diminuera. 4°. Plus la somme des offres augmentera pour attirer la préférence, plus l’intérêt augmentera. 5°. Si les frais d’entretien ou de renouvellement augmentent ou diminuent, l’augmentation diminuera l’intérêt, la diminution l’augmentera. 6°. Plus les richesses foncieres approcheront de produire leurs plus grands effets possibles, soit par leurs forces actives, soit par le temps de leur emploi, ou moindre sera leur quantité pour un même effet, moindre sera leur valeur relativement à leur produit ; moindre sera cette valeur, plus fort sera l’intérêt de ces richesses, en supposant que les offres restent les mêmes, ou jusqu’à ce que le changement des offres survienne. A raison de cette diminution de richesses foncieres pour un même effet, il pourra en naître de nouvelles pour de nouveaux effets, il pourra naître de nouvelles jouissances; cette augmentation réelle de richesses & de jouissances sera le partage des producteurs, ou des consommateurs, ou des deux ensemble, suivant les changemens qui surviendront dans les offres ou les valeurs. Il en est done effects of human activity: one has to simplify both with respect to their particular effects, and multiply them with respect to the total product.

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[51] BOOK TWO Of the circulation of wealth

FIRST CHAPTER Of the circulation of wealth between the classes of society Speaking of wealth in general, we have distinguished between the products of the land and the products of industry; speaking of disposable wealth, we have distinguished between the costs of the products of the land, the costs of the products of industry, and the shares destined to enjoyment. These distinctions of wealth will form a distinction between the classes of citizens who work the land, those who exercise a craft or a profession, and those who enjoy without work the disposable products of the works the other classes execute for them. The farmers draw foodstuffs from the bosom of the earth and return to the proprietors the part agreed upon, reserving for themselves from the total product the payment of their efforts and their advances. The proprietors use this part for their subsistence by exchanging specific products between themselves; they procure their various objects of enjoyment and satisfy their different needs by paying the entrepreneurs of exploitation or mining for primary materials, such as [52] wood, metals, stone, marble, diamonds and other materials whose production precedes the labour of men, the entrepreneurs of transport and trade of primary materials, foodstuffs and commodities, those who by submitting the products of the land to industrial activities produce useful and consumable things, and finally those who exercise useful professions. The farmers exchange between themselves the fruits of their specific productions, and they procure from the class of the other producers the objects that are suited to satisfying their needs relative to their means; and finally the producers of that last class, by satisfying the needs of the other two, procure the means to produce for themselves and satisfy reciprocally each others’ needs.a a In the table of circulation, which the Economists have called the economic table, those Authors have not accounted for the products of industry which the entrepreneurs or the workers of the class they call sterile, exchange between themselves.

des effets des richesses foncieres, ainsi que de ceux de l’action humaine ; il faut les simplifier chacune relativement a leurs effets particuliers, & les multiplier relativement au produit général.

At the origins of mathematical economics


[51] LIVRE SECOND De la circulation des richesses CHAPITRE PREMIER De la circulation entre les classes de la Société En parlant des richesses en général, nous avons distingué les productions de la terre & les productions de l’industrie ; en parlant des richesses disponibles nous avons distingué les frais des productions de la terre, les frais des productions de l’industrie, & les portions destinées à la jouissance. Ces distinctions des richesses formeront une distinction entre les classes des citoyens qui travaillent la terre, ceux qui exercent quelque métier ou profession, & ceux qui jouissent sans travail des produits disponibles des travaux qu’ils font exécuter par les autres classes. Les cultivateurs tirent les subsistances du sein de la terre & remettent aux propriétaires la part dont ils sont convenus en se réservant sur le produit total l’acquittement de leurs peines & de leurs avances. Les propriétaires emploient cette portion à leurs subsistances en échangeant entre eux les productions particulières ; ils se procurent les diverses jouissances & satisfont leurs différens besoins en payant les entrepreneurs de l’exploitation ou de la fouille des matieres premieres, telles que [52] les bois, les métaux, les pierres, les marbres, les diamans, & autre matieres, dont la production est antérieure au travail des hommes, les entrepreneurs du transport & des échanges des productions des matieres premieres, des subsistances & des marchandises, ceux qui en soumettant les productions de la terre à l’action de l’industrie produisent les choses usuelles & consommables, enfin ceux qui exercent des professions utiles. Les cultivateurs échangent entre eux les fruits de leurs productions particulieres, & se procurent dans la classe des autres producteurs les objets propres à satisfaire leurs besoins en raison de leurs facultés : & définitivement les producteurs de cette derniere classe en satisfaisant les besoins de deux autres se procurent les moyens de produire pour eux-mêmes, & satisfont réciproquement entr’eux les besoins les uns des autres.(a) (a) Dans le tableau de la circulation, que les Economistes ont appellé le tableau économique, ces Auteurs n’ont pas fait entrer en ligne de compte les productions de l’industrie que les entrepreneurs ou ouvriers de la classe, qu’ils ont appelée sterile, échangent entre eux.

Such is the succinct analysis of the circulation between the classes of society. It is evident that agriculture is the source of all wealth; one has to subsist before enjoying and working. In a society there exist artisans only when the production of subsistence goods exceeds the necessary consumption of the producers, and the number of artisans multiplies relative to the increase in this difference.

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[53] SECOND CHAPTER Of expenditures, consumption and sales Man produces little by the work of his hands without the assistance of agents and aids of nature and industry. Therefore the producer needs to be able to procure those agents and those aids. This ability consists in wealth; wealth is necessary for production. Wealth owes its quality to exchange and circulation, and it can only return to producers through exchange. The goal of exchanges is consumption, the active means of these exchanges consist of expenditure, and the passive means consist of sale. Consumption, sales and expenditures are therefore closely related to wealth and reproduction. Expenditures are relative to means and to the distribution of wealth, and through their successive renewal they favour each kind of production. But if their natural order is disturbed by some powerful cause, they bring a prejudice to reproduction, which is the more considerable the closer the scourges are to the source, or when the first principles of political life are attacked in particular. Let us analyse these relations of expenditures.

[54] FIRST SECTION Of the relation between expenditures and the distribution of wealth Between the extremes of the equal division of wealth and the greatest inequality, one perceives different orders of expenditures. Under the extreme assumption of equality, or of the equal division of lands, the word wealth is hardly known. Expenditures are limited to subsistence goods; everyone works for himself; there is little or no trade and exchange; since everyone has some land to cultivate, everyone cultivates the fruits suited to their own needs. If one imagines that some member of such a community would work for the needs of others, one would imagine the first degree of inequality of wealth. Agriculture is the only art that is suited to this community; the others only emerge with inequality. Peoples on whom a law of equality has been imposed would not know any expenditure and Telle est l’analyse succincte de la circulation entre les classes de la société. Il est évident que l’agriculture est la source de toutes les richesses ; il faut subsister avant de jouir & de travailler ; il n’y a d’artisan dans une société que lorsque le produit des subsistances excede le nécessaire des producteurs, & les artisans se multiplient en raison de l’accroissement de cette différence. [53] CHAPITRE SECOND Des dépenses, de la consommation & du debit L’Homme par le travail de ses mains produit peu s’il n’est aidé des agents & des ressorts de la nature & de l’industrie ; ainsi le producteur doit nécessairement avoir les facultés de se procurer ces agens & ces ressorts. Ces facultés consistent dans les richesses ; il faut

At the origins of mathematical economics


des richesses pour produire. Les richesses doivent leurs qualités aux échanges & à la circulation, & ne peuvent rentrer aux producteurs que par les échanges. Le but des échanges est la consommation, le moyen actif de ces échanges consiste dans la dépense, & le moyen passif consiste dans le débit. La consommation, le débit & les dépenses ont done un grand rapport avec les richesses & la reproduction. Les dépenses sont relatives aux facultés & à la distribution des richesses, & favorisent par leur renouvellement successif chaque espece de production ; mais si leur ordre naturel est troublé par quelque cause puissante, elles portent à la reproduction un préjudice d’autant plus considérable que les playes sont plus voisines de la source, ou que les premiers mobiles de la vie politique sont plus particulierement attaqués. Analysons ces rapports de dépenses. [54] SECTION PREMIERE Du rapport des dépenses à la distribution des richesses Depuis l’égalité du partage des richesses jusqu’à la plus grande inégalité, on conçoit différens ordres de dépenses. Dans la supposition extreme de l’égalité ou du partage égal des terres, le mot richesses est à peine connu ; les dépenses sont bornées aux subsistances; chacun travaille pour soi ; il n’y a que peu ou point de commerce & d’échanges ; chacun ayant une portion de terre à cultiver cultive les fruits propres à ses besoins. Si l’on conçoit que quelque membre d’une telle communauté travaille pour les besoins des autres, c’est concevoir le premier degré de l’inégalité des richesses. L’agriculture est le seul art qui convienne à cette communauté ; les autres ne naissent qu’avec l’inégalité. Les peuples auxquels ont fit une loi de l’égalité ne connurent point les dépenses & le luxury; their frugality would be founded on this law. It would exist in their minds and their morals only because of this law: if a legislator had inspired their frugality, it would have been to urge them to respect a law that makes [frugality] necessary. Montesquieu saysa that frugality and the equality of fortunes are such that one cannot subsist without the other, and that both of them are cause and effect. It seems to me that equality [55] necessitates frugality; but I can imagine frugality without equality. Often the frugal man is he who, through his productive savings, prepares for the multiplication and the diversity of enjoyments, and who becomes the source of it. When inequality of wealth arises, industry finds sustenance, and the arts become refined and perfected. The arts and industry are the children of needs. Apart from the needs for subsistence, needs have no limits but wealth, and there is only wealth when there is inequality in the distribution of goods. The imagination could conceive of needs without wealth: but they come to naught if the means and the abilities do not exist, and they reduce to vain desires. On the other hand, what man does not have needs when he has the ability to satisfy them. Whatever the laws that would exact equality, the natural forces of man and the different products of nature soon destroy this chimera; is existed scarcely for some moments among the ancients. Most of the republics that started with equality became industrious, mercantile, rich and powerful; in the end, when the inequality of wealth had established sufficiently the inequality of ranks, their final lot was to be conquered or to be ruled by a Sovereign.

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As soon as wealth becomes more unequal, needs start to grow and to emerge and from that products and exchanges. There exists a progression according to which goods are preferred; this progression of needs is founded on the progression of incomes. It is known that needs consist principally [56] of food, drink, housing, clothing, furniture, pleasures and services. Relative to one’s income, everyone successively procures that what is most useful to him, and expenditure increases in proportions with incomes. The poor man is restricted to the necessary; he contents himself with bread of oats and with water; he covers himself in rags, sleeps on straw and lives under a thatch. The workman adds what is healthy to the necessary; he eats bread of wheat and barley, or of rye, he drinks wine, dresses himself in whole cloths, lives under a roof and marries. The well-to-do person increases his enjoyments and satisfies some particular tastes in food, cloths, furniture, housing or pleasures. The rich man fills his house with domestic servants; he buys horses, and packs of dogs; he lives in comfortable houses, castles or palaces; he adorns himself with silk, gold and jewels, choosing everything art and novelty allows him to procure of the most sought after trinkets; he invites parasites and his a Esprit des Lois, [part I] book V. ch. VI.

luxe ; leur frugalité étoit fondé sur cette loi ; elle n’existoit dans leur esprit & dans leurs mœurs qu’à raison de cette loi: si la frugalité leur étoit inspirée par le législateur, c’étoit pour les engager a respecter une loi qui la rendoit nécessaire. M. de Montesquieu dit(a) que la frugalité & l’égalité des fortunes sont telles qu’elles ne peuvent subsister l’une sans l’autre, & que chacune d’elles est la cause & l’effet. Il me semble que l’égalité est [55] le principe nécessaire de la frugalité ; mais je conçois la frugalité sans l’égalité. L’homme frugal est souvent celui qui par son œconomie productive prépare la multiplication & la diversité des jouissances & en devient la source. Lors de l’inégalité des richesses l’industrie trouve des alimens, & les arts sont rafinés & perfectionnés. Les arts & l’industrie sont enfans des besoins; les besoins, si l’on en excepte ceux de subsistances, n’ont de limites qu’en raison des richesses, & il n’y a de richesses que dans l’inégalité de la distribution des biens. L’imagination peut concevoir des besoins sans les richesses: mais ils sont anéantis si les moyens & les facultés n’existent pas, & ils se réduisent à de vains desirs. Quel est l’homme, au contraire, qui n’a pas des besoins lorsqu’il a les facultés propres a les satisfaire. Quelques soient les loix qui assujettissent l’égalité, les forces naturelles de l’homme & les produits différens de la nature détruisent bientôt cette chimere; elle s’est à peine réalisée quelques instans chez les anciens. La plûpart des républiques, qui ont commence par l’égalité, sont devenues industrieuses, commerçantes, riches & puissantes ; enfin lorsque l’inégalité des richesses eût suffisamment établi l’inégalité des rangs, leur dernier sort fut d’être conquise ou commandée par un Souverain. Dès que les richesses deviennent inégales, les besoins commencent à croître & à naître, & de là les productions & les échanges. Il est une progression suivant laquelle les biens sont préférés ; cette progression des besoins est fondée sur la progression des facultés. On sait que les besoins consistent principalement [56] dans la nourriture, la boisson, le logement, l’habillement, les meubles, les plaisirs & les services. Chacun, à raison de ses facultés, se procure successivement ce qui lui est plus utile, & la dépense croît en raison

At the origins of mathematical economics


des facultés. Le pauvre s’en tient au nécessaire ; il se contente de pain d’avoine & d’eau ; il se couvre de haillons, couche sur la paille, & loge sous le chaume. Le manouvrier joint la salubrité au nécessaire, il mange du pain de froment & d’orge ou de seigle, il bois du vin, se couvre de tissus entier, loge sous un toit, & se marie. L’homme aisé accroît ces jouissances, & satisfait quelques goûts particuliers dans sa nourriture, dans ses habits, dans ses meubles, dans son logement ou dans ses plaisirs. Le riche monte sa maison de domestiques ; il se procure des chevaux, des meutes ; il bâtit des maisons de plaisance, des châteaux ou des palais ; il se pare de soie, d’or & de bijoux, en choisissant tout ce que l’art & la nouveauté peuvent lui procurer de plus recherché ; il ouvre (a) Esprit des Loix, liv. VI.

friends for dinner, offering the most exquisite dishes and the most sensual natural or manufactured products. It is in this increase of affluence and wealth that one recognises the increase and the diversity of needs which open up the most extended career to industry and trade, and for which man travels the four corners of the world and braves all dangers. From the frugality to which the well-to-do man is reduced to the magnificence to which the rich abandons himself, one can imagine all intermediary states and discover in each increase of income, the origin of a new need, and the birth of a [57] new product or a new invention. Thus the inequality of wealth has engendered luxury and the diversity of expenditures. M.J.J.Rousseau has investigated the origins and foundations of inequality among men. This writer has dared to declaim in favour of life of the savage, against society and property. He has said that man would not have left the state of nature and equality but for some disastrous accident which, for the common good, should never have happened17…that iron and wheat have civilised men, and ruined humanity18…that the evils that have grieved humanity are the first effects of the emergence of property and inequality19…that property rights are based merely on rights of usurpation20…that even those whom industriousness alone had enriched could scarcely base their property on better titles21…that one can ask of those who have built walls and gained lands by their labour, who has allotted them their lands22, and that one can ask them the grotesque and ridiculous question: by virtue of what do you lay claim to be paid at our expense for labour that we did not impose on you23 …that laws transformed a skilful usurpation into an irrevocable right24 etc., etc. To prove that the life of the savage is preferable to life in society, that same writer has argued that several Europeans have experienced the charms of Savage retreats, while no Savage introduced to civilised societies has stopped longing for their primitive state and that several hurried back to it.25 It is surprising that one would draw from those particular facts a consequence for all humanity and that that Author would paint a cheerful picture of [58] all humanity scattered person by person, or in groups, in a universal forest, getting their subsistence from some scattered orchards on plains fertilised by nature. That man, who had such talents to seduce the senses with the charms of arts, dared to regard them useless to the happiness of men, and wanted to bury them with society, property and wealth, in order to see humanity subsist happily without objects of enjoyment. There are doubtless charms in retreat and solitude, or in the midst of a family closely united by

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bonds of friendship and concord, especially for those who, having experienced a reverse in fortune, feel the sweet melancholy that succeeds the extinction of passions, desires and hope. But if a retiring life holds some attraction, this is mainly true for those whose temperament produces a natural apathy, or for those who through reflection have become convinced of a great principle without which they cannot be happy, who sa table aux parasites ou a ses amis en la couvrant des mets les plus exquis, & des productions de la nature ou de l’art les plus sensuelles. C’est dans ces accroissemens d’aisance & de richesses qu’on reconnoît l’accroissement & la diversité des besoins qui ouvrent la carriere la plus étendue à l’industrie & au commerce, & pour lesquels l’homme parcourt les quatre parties du monde & brave tous les dangers. Depuis la frugalité à laquelle est réduite l’homme aisé jusqu’à la magnificence à laquelle se livre le riche, on peut se représenter tous les états intermediates, & découvrir à chaque accroissement de faculté l’origine d’un nouveau besoin, & la naissance d’une [57] nouvelle production ou d’une nouvelle invention. L’inégalité des richesses a done engendré le luxe ou la diversité des dépenses. M.J.J.Rousseau a recherché l’origine & les fondemens de l’inégalité parmi les hommes. Cet Ecrivain a osé déclamer en faveur de la vie sauvage contre la société & la propriété. Il a dit que l’homme n’a dû sortir de l'état de nature & d’égalité que par quelque funeste hazard qui, pour l’utilité commune, eût dû ne jamais arriver…que ce sont le fer & le bled qui out civilise les hommes., & perdu le genre humain…que les maux qui out désolé le genre humain sont le premier effet de la propriété & de l’inégalité naissante…que les droits de propriété ne sont fondés que sur des droits d’usurpation…que ceux mêmes que la seule industrie avoit enrichis ne pouvoient gueres fonder leur propriété sur de meilleurs litres…qu’à ceux qui ont bati des murs & gagné des terrains par leur travail, on peut demander qui leur a donné les allignemens, & qu’on peut leur faire la question grotesque & ridicule : en vertu de quoi prétendez-vous être payé à nos dépens d’un travail que nous ne vous avons point impose…que les loix firent d’une adroite usurpation un droit irrévocable, &c., &c. Ce même Ecrivain, pour prouver que la vie sauvage est preferable à la vie sociale, a mis en fait que plusieurs Européens ont trouvé des charmes dans les retraites des Sauvages, tandis qu’aucun Sauvage amené dans les sociétés civiles n’a cessé de regretter son état primitif, & que plusieurs se sont empressés d’y retourner. Il est surprenant que de ces faits particuliers on ait tiré une consequence pour tout le genre humain, & que cet Auteur se soit fait un tableau riant de [58] tout le genre humain répandu un à un ou par bandes, dans une forêt universelle, tirant la subsistance de quelques vergers épars dans les plaines que la nature a fertilisées ; cet homme, qui avoit les organes les plus propres à séduire les sens par les charmes des arts, a osé les regarder comme inutiles au bonheur des hommes, & les enfouir avec la société, la propriété & les richesses, pour se représenter le genre humain comme heureux de subsister sans jouissances. Il y a des charmes sans doute dans la retraite & la solitude, ou dans le sein d’une famille étroitement unie par les liens de l’amitié & de la Concorde, sur-tout pour ceux qui, après avoir éprouvé des revers de fortune, ressentent cette douce mélancolie qui succede à l’extinction des passions, des desirs & de l’espérance : mais si la vie retirée a quelques appas, c’est principalement pour ceux dont le tempéramment ne produit qu’une apathie naturelle, ou pour ceux que

At the origins of mathematical economics


are convinced that man must proportion his desires, his needs and his expenditures to his means. There is a great distance between the retiring life and the life of the savage. The one who praises the charms of a retiring life and the one who declaims in favour of the life of the savage have the same tastes for solitude and distance from the world and society. But they differ in that the latter would want to see the whole of humanity filled by the same indifference and by the same distaste for enjoyment, wandering with no thought but the stings of hunger, thirst and wariness. M.Rousseau claims that war, crime, murder, misery and horror [59] are due to civilisation, and find their origin in the establishment of the right of property. It is not only in human societies that war, murder and horror exist and where hunger and passions excite those calamities. A large part of the animal world lives from the murder of others, and whatever the reasoning of M.Rousseau to prove, against experience, that men are frugivores, one cannot determine up to what point they could have been cannibals if there had not for them been natural causes of civilisation. Instead of attributing the evils of society to the principles of the social order, that Author should have seen that the passions of men often excite the horrors that revolted him when they are not suppressed by the true principles of society and by a knowledge of the true interests of citizens. Those evils and those misfortunes will not cease as long as the veil that robs the light from men is not torn open, and as long as citizens, seduced by their own ease of writing and proving by the splendour and displays of style, will use this ability to assert principles that are contrary to civilisation, and to cloud all fundamental notions. M.Rousseau cites two or three facts in favour of his case. We will only cite one, but it is universal and it destroys the system of that Author from top to bottom. From North to South, from the West to the East the world is filled with societies. If there still exist some hordes of Savages it is because the perfection of human nature is slow and only occurs successively and from place to place. Declaiming against society and the principles [60] of society is to delight oneself with chimeras. The right of property is the first among those principles and that right is the source of the inequality of wealth.

SECOND SECTION Of the relation of expenditures to production and to enjoyment One spends either to enjoy or to reproduce. The expenditures of production relate to the cultivation of subsistence goods or of primary materials la réflexion a convaincus d’un grand principe sans lequel on ne peut être heureux, qui sont persuades que l’homme doit proportionner ses desirs, ses besoins, & ses dépenses à ses facultés. Il y a encore bien loin la vie retirée à la vie sauvage : celui qui vante les charmes de la vie retirée, & celui qui déclame en faveur de la vie sauvage, avec les mêmes goûts pour la solitude & l’éloignement du monde & de la société, different en ce que le dernier voudroit voir tout le genre humain pénétré de la même indifference & du même dégoût

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pour les jouissances, errant sans autre pensée que les aiguillons de la faim, de la soif & de la lassitude. M.Rousseau prétend que les guerres, les crimes, les meurtres, les miseres & les horreurs [59] proviennent de la civilisation, & ont pris leur source dans l’établissement du droit de propriété. Ce n’est pas dans les sociétés humaines seulement qu’il existe des guerres, des meurtres & des horreurs, & que la faim ou les passions excitent ces malheurs ; une grande partie des animaux vit du meurtre des autres : & quelques soient les raisonnemens de M. Rousseau pour prouver, contre l’expérience, que les hommes sont frugivores, on ne peut déterminer jusqu’à quel point ils auroient pu être antropophages s’ils n’avoient pas existé pour eux des causes naturelles de civilisation. Au lieu d’attribuer les maux de la société aux principes de l’ordre social, cet Auteur auroit dû voir que les passions des hommes les excitent souvent aux horreurs qui l’ont révolté, faute d’être réprimées par les véritables principes de la société, & par la connaissance des véritables intérêts des citoyens. Ces maux & ces malheurs ne cesseront pas, tant que le voile qui ravit aux hommes la lumiere ne sera pas déchiré, & que les citoyens, séduits eux-mêmes par leur propre facilité d’écrire & de prouver par l’éclat & les tableaux du style, emploieront cette facilité à faire valoir les principes contraires à la civilisation, & à troubler toutes les notions fondamentales. M.Rousseau cite deux ou trois faits en faveur de ses cause ; nous n’en citerons qu’un, mais il est universel, & il détruit de fond en comble le systême de cet Auteur. Du nord au midi, de l’occident a l’orient, le monde est peuplé de sociétés ; s’il existe encore des hordes de Sauvages, c’est que le perfectionnement de la nature humaine est lent, & ne s’opère que successivement & de place en place. Déclamer contre la société & les principes [60] de la société, c’est se repaître de chimeres ; le droit de propriété est le premier de ces principes, & ce droit est la source de l’inégalité des richesses. SECTION SECONDE Du rapport des dépenses aux productions & aux jouissances On dépense pour jouir ou pour reproduire. Les dépenses de la production sont propres à la culture des subsistances & des matieres premieres & à and to industry, or to the extraction of primary materials, and they yield a periodical or continuous reproduction. This reproduction is distributed anew between the workshops of production and the homes of consumption; the maintenance of the population and the propagation of domestic animals are part of those productive expenditures. […]

[92] ARTICLE FIVE Of expenditures in relation to objects of enjoyment and dissipation While a part of the products of the land is destined to the maintenance and renewal of the fund for new reproduction, or to the establishment of new productive funds, there is an other part that is absolutely free and destined to the needs and enjoyments of men. This second part is not onlyf the share of the class of men [93] who live the noble life and who

At the origins of mathematical economics


freely enjoy the products of the labour of other classes, but also belongs to the producers themselves. For we have seen that producers, after having deducted the costs or the expenses necessary for reproduction, still find a revenue in the sales value of their products. They enjoy and dispose of it as freely as the landowners enjoy the net product, or the price of the lease paid by their farmers.g Of those two parts of wealth one stands for the end of production and the other represents the means of production. When the money value of the wealth of two countries is the same, one must acknowledge a great difference between the country that is rich of disposable wealth, or freely consumable goods and the country that is rich of productive funds.h It is possible that of the two countries the one [94] that has fewer productive funds is the richest, when those funds are more productive. f Montesquieu had so little idea of the difference between the costs of production and the mass of disposable wealth that he says in his book on l’Esprit des Lois [part 4, book 21, chapter 22]: ‘The mines of Germany and Hungary, which return little above the costs [of exploitation], are more useful (than those of America) because they are products of the country’. g In the system of wealth a field is a commodity that serves reproduction. It is exposed to trade and ceded for a certain period to an agricultural entrepreneur, like grounds that are suited to house a manufactory, a grinding mill, a sawmill etc. The product that the owner of a field receives is comparable to the rents received by the owners of grounds that are suited to manufactories, mills and factories. Therefore the Economists were deluded when they argued that only agriculture had a real net product and disposable wealth and that industry is not productive. h There are countries that overflow with money, because they lack the ability to apply their capital to productive expenditures.

l’industrie ou à l’extraction des matieres premieres, & rapportent une reproduction périodique ou continuelle. Cette reproduction se répartit de nouveau entre les atteliers de productions & les foyers de consommation ; l’entretien de la population & la propagation des animaux domestiques font partie de ces dépenses productives. […] [92] ARTICLE CINQUIEME Des dépenses dans le rapport qu’elles ont avec les jouissances & les dissipations Lorsqu’une partie des biens de la terre est destinée à l’entretien & au renouvellement des fonds d’une nouvelle reproduction, où à établir de nouveaux fonds productifs, il y en a une autre partie absolument libre & destinée aux besoins & aux jouissances des hommes. Cette seconde partie est la part non seulement(f) de la classe des hommes [93] qui vivent noblement & jouissent librement des produits des travaux des autres classes, mais encore des producteurs eux-mêmes ; car nous avons vu que les producteurs, après avoir retire les frais ou les dépenses nécessaires à la reproduction, trouvent encore par la valeur vénale de leurs productions un revenu dont ils jouissent & disposent aussi librement que les propriétaires des terres jouissent du produit net ou du prix du bail de leurs fermiers.(g) De ces deux parties des richesses l’une remplit le but de la production, l’autre représente les moyens de la production. A égalité de valeur du numéraire des richesses de deux nations, ont doit faire une grande différence entre celle qui est riche de richesses disponibles ou consommables en jouissances, & de celle qui est riche de fonds

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productifs.(h) Il est possible que de deux nations celle [94] qui a le moins de fonds productifs soit la plus riche, si ces fonds produisent plus d’effet. (f) Montesquieu avoit si peu d’idée de la difference des frais de production à la masse de richesses disponibles qu’il dit dans le livre de l’Esprit des Loix : « Les mines d’Allemagne & de Hongrie, dont on ne tire que peu au delà des frais, sont plus utiles (que celles de l’Amérique) parce qu’elles font manufactures du pays ». (g) Dans le systême des richesses, un champ est une marchandise servant à la reproduction, exposée dans le commerce & cédée pour un certain temps à un chef d’entreprise de culture, de même qu’un territoire propre à contenir une manufacture, un moulin propre à moudre, une scierie &c. Le produit que tire le propriétaire du champ est comparable aux loyers que tirent les propriétaires des terrains propres aux manufactures, des moulins & des usines. Les Economistes étoient done dans l’illusion, lorsqu’ils préten-doient qu’il n’y a de produit net réel que celui de l’agriculture, de richesses disponibles que celles de l’agriculture, & que l’industrie n’est pas productive. (h) Il y a des nations qui regorgent d’argent, parce qu’elles n’ont pas toutes les facilités d’appliquer leurs capitaux a des dépenses productives.

A level of spending that would be dangerous is one that would reduce the means of reproduction, that is to say, if reproduction were to wither away. Spending would then be squandering. It is savings from the revenue that maintain, renew or create productive funds. One person enjoys less in order to increase his reproduction; another enjoys less in order to accumulate his money. But by means of loans [the latter’s] money is allocated to the support of reproduction. In this way, the stinginess of the miser becomes beneficial to the state. When gold has been locked up in the coffers of a miser, it is a metal that is mined by his heirs at little cost. If this accumulated treasure is employed in the creation of productive capitals, then this is a great good for reproduction, because the employment alters the ratio between productive expenditure and expenditure for use. When the gold of the miser leaves his coffers, the amount in circulation of the commodity that measures the mass of wealth increases. It is nevertheless a reduction in wealth for the rest of society if the heir uses this sum for luxury consumption, because in that case it is a new claim on reproduction, which his predecessor seemed to have given up. A large part of the disposable share of reproduction is consumed by men who enjoy it unencumbered without effort or labour. This class of proprietors, which in all nations has acquired the characteristics of nobility (which becomes the more distinguished the more time has elapsed since their ancestors abandoned labour in order to enjoy their property rights) [95] could indulge in the idle lifei. However, fulfilment in life and in rural pursuits occasionally calls them back to the occupations of their ancestors who made their fortune, and ambition and the desire for honours and even wealth calls them to the functions of state. The idle man is to society like a field that is left barren through the apathy of its owner. It would be desirable if all rich men could be serviceable to the fatherland. Idleness is blameful with regards to the interest of society. However, it should be observed that the multiplicity of administrative functions is at the expense of the state,k and the rewards distributed by the fatherland through the machinery of state are often excessive relative to the services rendered. One should consider that the noble man would often be more useful to the state if he lived on his landed property, and if he directed his efforts and a part of his wealth to the improvement of agriculture or to the increase of

At the origins of mathematical economics


production. One should also consider that he often enjoys rights at the expense of the nation that are obtained through i Certain nairs of Calicut are born with legs that are as thick as the body of other men. This hereditary dropsy rather agrees with those gentlemen of the Malabar coast whose noble privilege it is to do nothing, and, like Piritoüs of the fable, always to remain seated. Phil. De la nature, [J.B.C.Izouard, Delisle de Sales (1770) De la Philosophie de la Nature Amsterdam: Arkstée & Merkus] vol. 4. k A state impoverishes when its servants enrich themselves at costs that are superabundant to production.

La multiplicité des dépenses seroit dangereuse si elle diminuoit les moyens de reproduction, c’est-à-dire, si la reproduction venoit à dépérir ; les dépenses seroient alors dissipatrices. Ce sont les épargnes sur le revenu qui entretiennent, renouvellent ou créent les fonds productifs. L’un jouit peu pour accroître sa reproduction, l’autre jouit peu pour conserver son argent ; mais cet argent est placé par le moyen des emprunts de maniere à entretenir la reproduction ; c’est ainsi que la lésine de l’avare devient profitable à l’Etat. Lorsque l’or a été enfermé dans le coffre d’un avare, c’est un metal que ses héritiers tirent de la mine à peu de frais. Si ce trésor amassé est employé à créer des capitaux productifs, c’est un grand bien pour la reproduction, parce que cet emploi augmente le rapport des dépenses productives aux dépenses usuelles. Lorsque l’or de l’avare sort de son coffre, le numéraire de la masse des richesses répandues dans le commerce augmente ; c’est cependant une diminution de richesses pour le reste de la société, si cette somme est destinée aux jouissances du successeur ; c’est un nouveau droit qu’il réclame sur la reproduction, & auquel son devancier sembloit avoir renoncé. Une grande partie de la portion disponible de la reproduction est consommée par des hommes qui en jouissent librement sans peine & sans travaux. Cette classes des propriétaires qui dans toutes les nations ont acquis les caracteres de noblesse d’autant plus distinguée qu’ils s’éloignoient davantage de l’époque où leurs ayeux avoient abandonné le travail pour jouir de leurs droits de propriété, [95] pourroit s’abandonner a la vie oisive,(i) si les agrémens de la vie & des travaux champêtres ne les rappelloient quelquefois aux occupations des ancêtres qui les ont enrichis, ou si l’ambition & le desir d’acquerir des honneurs, & même des richesses, ne les appelloient aux fonctions de l’administration. L’homme oisif est pour la société un terrain que l’apathie d’un propriétaire abandonne à la stérilité ; il seroit à desirer que tous les hommes riches pussent rendre des services à la patrie. L’oisiveté est blamable relativement à l’intérêt de la société ; mais il faut considérer que la multiplicité des emplois de l’administration est à la charge de l’Etat,(k) & que les recompenses que la patrie distribue par l’organe de son chef sont souvent excessives relativement aux services qui lui sont rendus. En considerant que le gentilhomme seroit souvent plus utile à l’Etat s’il habitoit dans ses terres, & s’il employoit ses soins & une partie de ses richesses à l’amélioration de la culture ou à l’accroissement de la production ; & en considerant qu’il jouit souvent au préjudice de la patrie du tribut que l’intrigue lui obtient pour prix des (i) Certains naires de Calicut naissent avec des jambes aussi grosses que le corps d’un autre homme. Cette hydropisie héréditaire convient assez à ces gentilshommes de la côte de Malabar, qui

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font consister les privilèges de leur noblesse à ne rien faire, & à rester, comme le Piritous de la fable, éternellement assis. (Phil, de la nature T.4). (k) Un Etat s’appauvrit, quand les serviteurs des frais surabondans de la production s’enrichissent.

intrigue and favours from the ministers of the sovereign. Then it is easy [96] to see that what is called idleness is not as reprehensible, nor even as punishable as some philosophers have argued. If society owes recognition to those individuals who render her services, I do not see why she would punish those who peacefully enjoy the fruits of their labour, or of that of their ancestors. I do not say this to encourage idleness, but only to defend it against the allegation of injustice. If some author would undertake to write in favour of idleness, the ambition of the reader, his appreciation of his own talents and his desire to be productive would soon destroy the arguments of the writer. If some man is idle it is because his mind does not have enough energy to be of some use to society, or because he is enjoying the fruits of his toils, or because he has a complaint about the income or recognition that he expects. Consumption is necessary for reproduction. The reproducer only acts in response to the sale for his products.l For the production [97] of any thing it is necessary that its value be at least equal to the costs that are necessary for its existence. If consumption and sale do not assure this value, production will stop, because the producers will attempt to employ their funds more usefully. From the fact that sale is necessary, it has been concluded that luxury is necessary and since that term is unclear and subject to different interpretations it has engendered contradictory discussions. No agreement exists about the definition of luxury. Some have considered it in relation to morals or to the physical constitution of man and have regarded it as something that weakens the body, softens courage and produces feebleness that affects one part of men while need exhausts the other part. Some other authors have considered luxury in relation to politics and have defined it either as the excessive share in total spending of spending that is superfluous to physical needs; or any superfluity in expenditure. Others have regarded it as an expenditure that makes the superfluous of some provide for the necessity of others.m There are other Authors l Rather than consumption, it is sale that is useful in the countryside. I have heard it said that monasteries are quite useful in the countryside, because of the consumption that takes place there. Would the peasant who fattens the bellies of those blessed idlers, not be richer if his produce would have been used to fertilize his lands and to fatten up his animals. We will see that it would be advantageous to the State that proprietors consume their revenue in the proximity of its production, but I do not see that why proprietors should be monks. m M.[Jean François] Melon [Essai politique sur le commerce, 1734], M.[François Marie Arouet de] Voltaire [The Philosophical Dictionary, 1752. Entry ‘Luxury’] and M.[David] Hume [Essays Literary, Moral and Political, 1752. See esp. Essay xxiv ‘Of Refinement in the Arts’] were great apologists of luxury. Montesquieu, a great partisan of political distinctions, has banished luxury from republics and considered it more suited to monarchical governments; ‘the less luxury there is in a democracy, he says, the more perfect it is… The nobles are rich and do not have to spend’ [Esprit des Lois, Part I, Book 7, Chapter 2]. Montesquieu thinks that things are different in a nation where there is a royal council, instead of one that is ruled by a popular council; ‘if the rich do no spend much,

At the origins of mathematical economics


dignités qu’il sollicite auprès des ministres du souverain, on reconnoîtra [96] facilement que ce que l’on appelle oisiveté n’est pas aussi condamnable, ni même aussi punissable que l’ont prétendu quelques philosophes. Si la société doit de la reconnaissance à ceux dont elle reçoit des services, je ne vois pas pourquoi elle puniroit les hommes qui jouissent en paix du fruit de leurs travaux, ou de ceux de leurs ayeux. Je ne dis pas ceci pour encourager l’oisiveté, mais seulement pour la mettre à l’abri de l’injustice avec laquelle on la condamne. Si quelque Auteur se proposoit d’écrire en faveur de l’oisiveté, l’ambition du lecteur, le sentiment intérieur de ses talens & le desir de les produire auroient bientôt détruit les argumens de l’écrivain. Si quelque homme est oisif, c’est parce que son ame n’a pas assez d’énergie pour qu’il puisse être de quelque utilité à la société, ou parce qu’il jouit des fruits de ses fatigues, ou parce qu’il a à se plaindre du tribut ou de la reconnaissance qu’il espéroit. La consommation est nécessaire pour la reproduction. Le reproducteur n’agit qu’en raison du débit des ses productions.(l) Il est nécessaire pour [97] la production d’une chose quelconque que sa valeur soit au moins égale à celles des frais nécessaires à son existence ; si la consommation & le débit ne lui assurent pas cette valeur, la production cesse, parce que les producteurs cherchent à employer leurs fonds plus utilement. De la nécessité du debit on a conclu que le luxe étoit nécessaire ; & comme cette phrase est peu claire & sujette à distinctions, elle a engendré des discussions contradictoires. On ne s’est pas accordé sur la definition du luxe. Les uns l’ont considéré dans son rapport avec les mœurs ou avec la constitution physique de l’homme, & l’ont regardé comme propre à amollir le corps, à affoiblir le courage, & à produire la mollesse qui énerve une partie des hommes, tandis que le besoin exténue l’autre ; quelques Auteurs l’ont considéré dans son rapport avec la politique, & l’ont tantôt défini, l’excès des dépenses superflues aux besoins physiques sur la faculté de dépenser ; tantôt toute superfluité dans la dépense ; d’autres l’ont regardé comme une dépense qui met a profit le superflu des uns pour subvenir à la nécessité des autres.(m) (l) C’est plus le débit qui est utile dans les campagnes que la consommation. J’ai oui dire que les couvents de moines étoient fort utiles dans les campagnes, à cause de la consommation qu’ils y font. Le paysan qui engraisse les pauses [sic panses ?] de ces bienheureux fainéants n’auroit-il pas été plus riche si ses denrées eussent été employées à engraisser ses terres & ses bestiaux. Nous verrons qu’il seroit avantageux à l’Etat que les propriétaires consommassent leur revenu à la proximité de la production, mais je ne vois pas qu’il soit nécessaire que ces propriétaires soient des moines. (m) M.Melon, Voltaire & M.Hume ont été grands apologistes du luxe. Montesquieu, grand partisan des distinctions politiques, a banni le luxe des républiques & l’a regardé comme convenable au gouvernement monarchique ; « moins il y a de luxe, dit-il, dans une démocratic, plus elle est parfaite…Les nobles sont riches & ne doivent pas dépenser ». Montesquieu pense différemment d’une nation régie par un conseil royal, au lieu de l’être par un conseil populaire ; « si les riches ne dépensent pas beaucoup, les pauvres mourront de faim…Auguste & Tibère s’opposerènt au rétablissement des loix somptuaires, le premier fondoit une monarchie, le second la soutenoit ». Montesquieu ne bannit cependant pas entiérement les loix somptuaires de la

who have [98] distinguished luxury, which carries the meaning of an excess of harmful spending, from splendour, which is only a sumptuous use of property. Others have regarded luxury as necessary to population, because if luxury would be constrained

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in a society, or if it were to diminish, it would not have the same number of workers that are necessary for agricultural labour or for the production of luxury goods.n The last remark is correct, but the working population is only a means in the economy of wealth, and not the end. The apologists of luxury see in the refinement of sensual men consumption that is useful to the poor of the country, providing them with the necessities they need. [99] To me it seems that it would be desirable if there would be fewer sensual men and fewer poor. An Englishman has said that luxury is the son of wealth and the father of poverty. Luxury does not harm morals when morality, founded on the principles of society, directs spending in such a way that it protects men from the abuse of consumption goods. It is not so much necessary to rail against luxury as it is to preach against the abuse of consumption goods that undermine and weaken man and the national spirit.o Not wealth, but education and the temperaments shape the inclinations that are the basis of human conduct. Luxury harms the Oriental peoples; in their climes it has brought about the deprivation of morals and the weakening of moral and physical constitutions, while the peoples of Europe, who are wealthier, still have a courageous and fierce spirit. If the physical constitution is altered in Europe, it is through an intemperance that is not in the first place caused by wealth. Let us leave the task of describing all causes of the deprivation of morals to the Moralists. It is not difficult to conceive that it is to be found more in the example of Princes and teachers and in the ignorance of true principles than in affluence and the multiplicity of objects of enjoyment. What would be the principles of [100] conduct in nations lacking legal principles? When the legislative body, or the body fulfilling this function, does not have any first principles of propriety, what respect for morals can it then inspire? the poor will die of hunger…August and Tiberias opposed the reintroduction of sumptuary laws, the first founded a monarchy, the second maintained it’ [Esprit des Lois, Part I, Book 7, chapter 4]. Nevertheless, Montesquieu does not completely ban sumptuary laws from monarchies; he says that the spirit of sumptuary laws is to prevent the importation of commodities at too high a price., when this importation requires the exportation of own commodities: that the nation deprives itself of more of what it needs by doing the latter than it satisfies by doing the former; lastly., that to know if one should encourage or proscribe luxury one should first of all look at the relation between the number of people and the capacity to provide for them., and that luxury would be pernicious to China because of its large population [Paraphrases of Esprit des Lois, Part I, Book 7, Chapters 5 and 6]. The chancellor [Michel] de l’Hôpital [1505–1573] enforced detailed and tyrannical sumptuary laws, such as those regulating meals, by giving the superintendents of police the power to enter houses at meal time to see if they conform to the will of the king. n Elémens du commerce of Forbonnais [2nd edition, 1754, part 2, p. 292]. o The Genevois prohibit the conveniences of life to millionaires. The law bans embroidery and the use of coaches to attend events in the town, but is the abuse of harmful consumption goods less there than elsewhere?

Il y a des Auteurs qui ont [98] distingué le luxe qui emporte l’idée d’un excès de dépenses nuisibles du faste qui n’est que l’usage somptueux de la propriété. D’autres ont regardé le luxe comme nécessaire à la population, parce que si le luxe étoit restreint dans une société, ou s’il venoit à diminuer, elle ne posséderoit que le nombre d’ouvriers nécessaires au travail, soit des terres, soit des commodités permises ou en usage.(n) Cette

At the origins of mathematical economics


derniere remarque est exacte, mais la population des ouvriers n’est que le moyen de l’économie des richesses, & n’en est pas le but. Les apologistes du luxe voient dans le raffinement des hommes sensuels une consommation utile aux pauvres de l’Etat, & qui leur fournit le nécessaire dont ils manquent. [99] Il me semble qu’il seroit a desirer qu’il y eût moins d’hommes sensuels & moins de pauvres. Un Anglois a dit que le luxe est fils de la richesse & pere de la pauvreté. Le luxe n’est point nuisible aux mœurs lorsque la morale, fondée sur les principes de la société, dirige les dépenses de maniere à preserver l’homme de l’abus des jouissances. Il ne faut pas tant déclamer contre le luxe que prêcher contre l’abus des jouissances qui énervent & affoiblissent l’homme & l’esprit national(o) ; ce sont l’éducation & le tempéramment qui forment les inclinaisons & qui sont la base de la conduite des hommes, ce ne sont pas les richesses. Le luxe nuit aux Orientaux, il entretient dans leurs climats la dépravation des mœurs & la foiblesse des constitutions morales & physiques, tandis que les peuples d’Europe, qui sont plus riches, ont encore l’ame courageuse & fiere ; si la constitution physique est altérée en Europe, c’est par une intempérance dont les richesses ne sont point le premier principe. Laissons aux Moralistes le soin de chercher toutes les causes de la dépravation des mœurs ; nous concevons aisément qu’ils en découvriront davantage dans l’exemple des Princes & des Ministres de l’instruction & dans l’ignorance des vrais principes que dans l’aisance & la multiplicité des jouissances. Que peuvent devenir les principes de [100] conduite chez les nations qui manquent de principes de legislation ? Lorsque le Corps législatif, ou celui qui le représente, n’a pas les premiers principes de propriété, monarchie ; il dit que l’esprit des loix somptuaires qui conviennent aux monarchies est de défendre l’entrée des marchandises d’une trop haut prix, lorsque cette entrée demanderoit une telle exportation des marchandises nationales : que la nation se priveroit de plus de ses besoins par celles-ci qu’elle n’en satisferoit par celles là ; enfin, que pour savoir s’il faut encourager le luxe ou le proscrire, on doit d’abord jetter les yeux sur le rapport qu’il y a entre le nombre du peuple & la facilité de le faire vivre, & que le luxe seroit pernicieux a la Chine a cause de la multiplication des hommes. Le chancelier de l’Hôpital fit rendre des loix somptuaires, minutieuses & tyranniques, telles que celles sur les repas, en donnant pouvoir aux commissaires de la police d’entrer dans les maisons a l’heure des repas, pour voir s’ils étoient conformes a la volonté du roi. (n) Elémens du commerce de Forbonnois. (o) Les Genevois interdisent aux millionnaires les commodités de la vie. La loi defend les broderies & les voitures pour vaquer aux affaires intérieures, mais l’abus des jouissances propres a énerver y est-il moindre qu’ailleurs ?

It is true that intemperance has little connection with propriety, but how many vices are not founded on a disregard for its laws? The eradication of vices such as bad faith, disregard of agreements and duties, untruthfulness, ambition or intrigue, which harm the interests of fellow citizens, and the hatred that is the result of these vices is much more difficult than [the eradication] of intemperance, against which nature itself has provided a curb in each individual’s urge for preservation. If society would be founded on the just and natural laws of property, no administrative regimes would be known that by violating the rights of some in favour of others, by favouring the extreme inequality of wealth, and by moving men of all ranks from one

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class into another, inspire in the multitude the envy of making fortune, and that make them sacrifice the sentiments dictated by morality to projects of getting ahead. If the rigidity of social morality, which surpasses that of religious morality, is followed one will observe that it abandons the one who in the age of reason has once renounced its principles; from that moment vices multiply and grow the more rapidly the more contagious they are. Corruption, or the scarcity of laws, are the first causes of the extreme inequality in wealth, which engenders a ruinous luxury. The distribution of wealth in an extreme disproportion [101] establishes an order of expenditure harmful to reproduction and to the prosperity of the State. It is not so much the money value of the mass of wealth that constitutes the wealth of a society, as the order and harmony of distribution. It has already been remarked that a thousand well-to-do men are more useful to the State than one hundred extravagantly rich ones. Two neighbouring provinces have the same nominal wealth; in one, lands are at 2% as a result of the prejudices of the nobility. Those lands are poorly cultivated, because the people are enslaved, and reproduction is less than poor relative to the extent of the terrain. Capital in the other [province] is at 4%, but the order of wealth is such that the peasant nourishes animals or strong horses capable of labouring. That peasant is well housed, well fed, well dressed; he is capable of reaping the products of his harvests, in such a manner that he does not have to sell them hastily and despite his better judgement. His animals and his flocks furnish him with enough manure to draw the greatest possible produce from his land. Of those two provinces the second is richer than the first. The inequality of wealth, by varying expenditures, diversifies and increases the types of products; but extreme inequality becomes ruinous. We intend to consider luxury especially in relation to the political order. On the one hand, if wealth that could be employed productively is used for enjoyment, [then] this kind of luxury could be harmful to reproduction. On the other hand, if the authorities employ wealth, which the proprietors wish to use for enjoyment, in reproduction then it is true that [102] the wealth of the next period will increase, but the goal of the proprietors is not achieved. quel respect peut-il inspirer pour les mœurs ? L’intempérance, il est vrai, n’a point de rapport avec la propriété ; mais combien de vices sont fondés sur le mépris de ses loix ? L’extirpation des vices, tels que la mauvaise foi, le mépris des engagemens & des devoirs, le mensonge, l’ambition ou l’intrigue qui nuisent aux intérêts des concitoyens, & les haines qui résultent de ces vices, est beaucoup plus difficile que celle de l’intempérance contre laquelle la nature a mis elle-même un frein dans le sentiment de la conservation de chaque individu. Si la société étoit fondée sur les loix justes & naturelles de la propriété, on ne connoîtroit pas les régimes d’administration qui en attentant aux droits des uns au préjudice des autres, en favorisant l’extrême inégalité des richesses, & faisant passer alternativement des hommes de tous les rangs d’une classe dans une autre, inspirent à la multitude l’envie de faire fortune, & leur font sacrifier les sentimens que dicte la morale aux projets de parvenir. Si l’on suit la rigidité de la morale sociale, qui surpasse celle de la morale religieuse, on observera qu’elle a abandonne celui qui dans Page de raison a une fois renoncé à ses principes ; dès lors les vices se multiplient & s’accroissent d’autant plus rapidement qu’ils sont plus contagieux.

At the origins of mathematical economics


La corruption, ou la disette des loix, sont les premières causes de l’extrême inégalité des richesses qui engendre un luxe ruineux. La distribution des richesses dans une disproportion extrême [101] établit un ordre de dépenses nuisible à la reproduction & à la prospérité d’un Etat. Ce n’est pas tant le numéraire de la masse des richesses qui constitue la richesse d’une société que l’ordre & l’harmonie de la distribution. On a déjà remarqué que l’ordre & l’harmonie de la distribution. On a déjà remarqué que mille hommes aisés sont plus utiles à l’Etat que cent hommes puissamment riches. Deux provinces voisines ont le même numéraire de richesses ; dans l’une, par les suites des préjugés de la noblesse, les terres sont à 2 pour %. Ces terres sont mal cultivées, parce que le peuple est esclave, & la reproduction est au dessous du médiocre relativement aux espaces de terrains : le capital de l’autre est à 4 pour %, mais l’ordre des richesses est tel que le paysan nourrit des bestiaux ou des chevaux forts & propres au labourage. Ce paysan est bien logé, bien nourrit, bien vêtu ; il est en état de recueillir les produits de ses récoltes, de manière à ne les pas vendre malgré lui & précipitamment ; ses bestiaux & ses troupeaux lui fournissent assez d’engrais pour tirer de ses fonds le plus grand produit possible : de ceux deux provinces la seconde est plus riche que la premiere. L’inégalité des richesses, en variant les dépenses, diversifie & accroît les genres de productions ; mais l’extrême inégalité devient ruineuse. C’est surtout relativement a l’ordre politique que nous nous proposons de considérer le luxe. D’un côté, si les richesses qui peuvent devenir productives sont destinées à la jouissance, cette espèce de luxe peut être nuisible à la reproduction ; de l’autre, si les richesses destinées par les propriétaires à la jouissance sont employees par autorité pour la reproduction, les richesses de l’époque [102] suivante doivent, il est vrai, s’accroître ; mais le but des propriétaires If the law forbids spending on objects of enjoyment in the hope of augmenting productive expenditures, then the law is contrary to the end it tries to achieve. Enrichment is only imaginary if the political order does not leave the rich man the ability to choose among all objects of enjoyment and expenditures permitted by morality. Someone, who advocates luxury in order to increase production, encourages spending in order to augment wealth: 1. It should be noted that luxury does not require encouragement, because more people are tempted to spending than to saving. 2. Rather than encouraging spending one should stimulate trade; one should open up channels through which wealth passes from places of its production to workshops and from there to places of consumption. Consumption that takes place close to production diminishes costs and increases disposable wealth.P Someone who prohibits luxury in order to increase production, sacrifices the end to the means. Such a prohibition must be regarded as absurd. The public interest can only be the sum of private interests. It is up to the private interests to know the means by which to increase private fortunes and to establish a proportion between [103] reproduction, or the renewal of wealth, and objects of enjoyment. The State can never become truly rich if the proprietors and producers will not be allowed to establish this proportion freely. The interest of the State—which can differ from the public interest since the former is the interest of the administration while the latter is the sum of the private interests—may seem to justify sumptuary laws in order to increase production and hence public revenue. However, the State cannot do this without violating the rights of property and the natural rights of man to enjoy his goods.

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This power of the administration to violate natural rights and property rights will in most cases be arbitrary, though couched in pretexts, and will in many circumstances be so harmful to the State that it should be forbidden. Moreover, the legislator should regard the freedom of spending as the cause that is least harmful to reproduction. This is so because there are many other causes of the increase of spending that harm production founded on the arbitrary [political] power of which we have just spoken. Inequality of fortunes is the first and principal cause of the multiplicity and diversity of expenditures. Yet this inequality is itself mainly the result of many unjust laws and arbitrary forms, or ancient administrative prejudices, that are contrary to the rights of property. Numerous and excessive public charges and taxes harm production immediately, by depriving the producer of a large part of his profits. They also harm production by giving rise to a class of [104] rich men who increase p This is why the spending of visiting foreigners favours the increase of wealth, and it is why several nations do their best to attract them by welcoming them.

n’est pas rempli. Si la loi interdit les dépenses des jouissances dans l’espoir d’augmenter les dépenses productives, la loi est contraire au but qu’elle se propose. L’enrichissement n’est qu’imaginaire si le riche n’a pas dans l’ordre politique la faculté de choisir parmi toutes les jouissances & les dépenses dont la morale lui permet le choix. La loi a-t-elle pour but d’enrichir ? Ce but lui échappe si elle défend de jouir des richesses. Celui qui favorise le luxe pour accroître la production excite à la dépense pour augmenter les richesses : 1°. On doit observer que le luxe n’est pas besoin d’encouragement parce qu’il y a plus d’homme portés à la dépenses qu’à l’épargne : 2°. Il faut plus favoriser le debit qu’il ne faut encourager à la dépense ; il faut ouvrir les canaux par lesquels les richesses passent du lieu de la production dans les atteliers d’industrie, & de là au lieu de la consommation. La consommation voisine de la production diminue les frais de transport & augmente le produit disponible.(p) Celui qui prohibe le luxe pour accroître la production sacrifie le but aux moyens ; une telle prohibition doit paroître absurde. L’intérêt public ne peut être que la somme des intérêts particuliers. C’est aux intérêts particuliers à connoître des moyens d’accroître les fortunes particulières & à établir une proportion entre la [103] reproduction ou le renouvellement des richesses & les jouissances. L’Etat ne pourra jamais devenir réellement riche que lorsque les propriétaires & producteurs établiront librement cette proposition. Quoique l’intérêt de l’Etat, qui peut différer de l’intérêt public en ce que l’un est l’intérêt de l’administration, l’autre la somme des intérêts particuliers, semble devoir se proposer d’augmenter par des loix somptuaires la reproduction pour accroître la part du revenu public, l’Etat ne le peut faire sans attenter aux droits de propriété & aux droits naturels que l’homme a de jouir de ses biens : ce pouvoir que l’on supposeroit à l’administration d’attenter aux droits naturels & à ceux de propriété d’une maniere qui, quoique colorée de prétextes, seroit le plus souvent arbitraire, seroit si nuisible à l’Etat dans une multitude de circonstances qu’il doit être interdit. D’ailleurs il y a tant de causes qui multiplient les dépenses au prejudice de la production, & qui pour la plupart sont fondées sur le pouvoir arbitraire dont nous

At the origins of mathematical economics


venons de parler, que le législateur doit regarder la liberté des dépenses comme la cause la moins nuisible a la reproduction. L’inégalité des fortunes est la première & la principale cause de la multiplicité & de la diversité des dépenses : or cette inégalité a elle-même pour cause la plupart des loix injustes & contraires aux droits de propriété & les formes arbitraires, ou les anciens préjugés d’administration. La multiplicité & l’excès des charges publiques & des contributions nuisent immédiatement à la production, en privant le producteur d’une grande partie de ses profits ; elles nuisent encore a la production en donnant (p) C’est pourquoi la dépense intérieure des étrangers est favorable à l’accroissement des richesses, & c’est pourquoi plusieurs nations s’empressent à les accueillir de maniere à les attirer.

[luxurious] spending. The inequality of fortunes influences noblemen and heads of productive enterprises by making them feel obliged or tempted to increase their luxurious spending, at the expense of production. It also compels the administration to raise its rewards and salaries to the level of the class of financiers.q Prohibitive laws that augment costs of production or restrain trade harm reproduction, as we will demonstrate below. Production is harmed by the multiplicity of administrative expenditures and of ministerial and under-ministerial gifts, which are widespread and serve to maintain the favour, credit and influence of ministers. Production is harmed by charges and sums borrowed and spent by the administration, for which producers annually pay emoluments and interest, by all duties that producers pay to the holders of those charges, by the privileges enjoyed by those office holders, and by feudal rights that crush the people. The [105] fetters that feudal rights impose on property harm production. They hamper the sale and purchase of land that tends to create large farms run by a single farmer. They divide up produce and dimmish the interest proprietors have in the improvement of agriculturer. They deny cultivators the freedom to employ the most economic methods, suggested to them by their activities. Excessive costs of [legal] processes and procedures, which are the higher the more entangled and complicated laws and formalities become and the more courts there exist, are harmful to production. They ruin producers, they increase the inequality in fortunes, and create a numerous class of formalists and jurists whose fortunes increase in pace with the illegal increase of other classes at the expense of producers and proprietors. The enormous revenues of a numerous class of society, whose functions prevent its members from engaging in most employments and even from making a large part of productive expenditures, harm production. Ministers of religion and of education, who certainly have an indispensable necessity, draw their fees from the source of wealth ahead of the producer. But the q Nothing exposes the impoverishment of the nobility, and the increase in expenditures forced on it by the luxury of financiers, more than the fact that the government has been forced to increase the salaries of military officers. A noble man, who commands a body of warriors is hardly conspicuous in society by his expenditures, compared to salaried men of finance or of administrative offices. The luster that befalls most officers only derives from the esteem and acknowledgment for the defenders of the fatherland of which the people are penetrated. Public consideration and honour pay the warriors.

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r The landowner who draws an income from his land that is diminished by tithes and seigniorial rights has less interest in making productive expenditures than a landowner who collects the whole produce; the collectors of tithes and seigniorial rights do not make productive expenditures.

l’existence à une classe d’enrichis [104] qui multiplient les dépenses. L’inégalité des fortunes, sur le ton desquelles sont obliges ou tentés de s’élever les nobles & les chefs d’entreprise de production, multiplie les dépenses au prejudice de la production, & contraint l’administration à élever les récompenses & les salaires au niveau des richesses de la classe financière.(q) Les loix prohibitives qui augmentent les frais de production, ou restreignent le debit, nuisent à la reproduction, ainsi que nous le démontrerons par la suite. La multiplicité des dépenses d’administration & des graces ministérielles & sousministérielles, répandues avec profusion pour soutenir la faveur, le credit & l’influence des Ministres, nuit à la production. Les charges & les emprunts dont les fonds sont dépenses par l’administration, & dont les producteurs payent annuellement les émolumens & les intérêts, tous les droits que les producteurs payent aux titulaires de ces charges, les privileges dont ces officiers jouissent, les droits féodaux dont les peuples sont écrasés, nuisent à la production. Les [105] entraves que les droits féodaux apportent à la propriété, soit en gênant les ventes & les achats qui tendent a rassembler plusieurs territoires dans une même ferme, sous un même chef de culture, soit en morcelant les produits & diminuant l’intérêt des propriétaires à l’amélioration de la culture,(r) soit en ôtant aux cultivateurs la liberté d’user des moyens d’économie que leur suggere leur industrie, nuisent à l’agriculture. Les frais excessifs de procès & de procédures qui sont d’autant plus multipliés que les loix & les formalités sont plus embrouillées & plus compliqués, & qu’il y a plus de tribunaux, nuisent à la production, soit en ruinant les producteurs, soit en augmentant l’inégalité des richesses & créant un classe innombrable de formalistes & juristes dont les fortunes s’élevent en raison de l’accroissement illégal des autres classes au prejudice des producteurs & des propriétaires. Les revenus énormes d’une classe nombreuse de la société, dont les fonctions interdisent à ses membres la plûpart des travaux, & même une grande partie des dépenses productives, nuisent à la production ; les ministres de la religion & de l’instruction, dont nous nous gardons bien de contester la nécessité indispensable, puisent à la source des richesses leur honoraires (q) Rien n’est plus propre à faire connoître l’appauvrissement de la noblesse, & l’augmentation de dépenses à laquelle elle a été assujettie par le luxe financier, que la nécessité à laquelle l’administration a été réduite d’accroître les appointemens des officiers militaires. Un gentilhomme commandant une troupe de guerriers brilloit à peine dans la société par sa dépense, à côté des salariés de la finance ou des bureaux de l’administration. La plupart des officiers ne reçoivent de lustre que par l’estime & la reconnaissance dont les peuples sont pénétrés pour les defenseurs de la patrie ; la consideration publique & l’honneur payent les guerriers. (r) Le propriétaire qui ne tire de son terrain qu’un produit diminué par les dixmes & par les droits seigneuriaux a moins d’intérêt à faire les dépenses productives qu’un propriétaire qui réuniroit tous les produits ; les décimateurs & percepteurs de droits seigneuriaux ne font pas de dépenses productives.

At the origins of mathematical economics


ones who have the lightest [106] functions receive the highest rewards.s The laws that enforce the celibacy of those useless spendthrifts harm population, and production is deprived of their wealth. Feasts harm production. Displacements of wealth and productive capitals that are directed by the administration, harm production.t The pride of the nobility, who have contempt for those who employ their wealth in certain productive expendituresu, also harms production. The prejudice of the nobility often excluded from their ranks those who are engaged in productive labour. Nowadays parvenus have acquired such superiority over the nobility by means of their fortunes that the nobles are obliged to maintain their names and their freedoms by allying themselves through marriage. [107] Having had contempt for enrichment, the nobles are compelled to sell their lands and their prerogatives to enriched commoners and to request their credit. It is thus that by taking away from man his rights of property, all estates intermingle, some enriching themselves at the expense of others; the order of society is inverted and society languishes. It is thus that governments that establish sumptuary laws and violate the liberty of the natural rights of citizens are corrupted, or rather that they have the venom of such corruption in them, because as soon as it assumed that the administration can violate property, all the abuses we have spoken of are only the consequences or results of this disastrous principle. We are no longer surprised about what is reported of antiquity about the extravagant wealth that peoples acquired, the immense works that Princes and rich proprietors had executed, the immense population of some nations and the fertility of their land. These extravagances now appear supernatural to us because of the limitations that suppress our population, and because of the little increase of which, according to the experience of our days, it seems susceptible, and because of the slowness with which our production increases and because of the upheavals to which wealth gained in trade is subjected. Since long the principles that are most contrary to production have been regarded as the ones that were most suited to the s We do not speak here of the revenues of bishops, curates, parish priests, or of their chaplains whose respectable function it is to instruct the people and who work continuously to maintain their purity of morals, the exercise of virtues, and to keep them from vice. t It has been noted that the intolerance of Spain contributed much to the depopulation of that kingdom, even more than the establishment of the two Indies. It seems to me that the displacement of wealth and productive capitals is one of the principal causes of the decline of that empire. u By an ancient prejudice, mercantile nobility would lose their rank; nowadays this only happens to retail traders. As early as 1629 cardinal Richelieu passed an edict by which the King declared that noblemen who were engaged in maritime trade would not lose their nobility.

avant le producteur ; mais ce sont ceux qui ont le moins de [106] fonctions à remplir qui ont les parts les plus considérables.(s) Les loix qui astreignent ces dépensiers inutiles au célibat nuisent à la population, & la production est privée de leurs richesses. Les fêtes nuisent à la production. Les transports de richesses & de capitaux productifs, dirigés par l’administration, nuisent à la production.(t)

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L’orgueil des nobles, qui méprisent ceux qui emploient leurs richesses à certaines dépenses(u) productives, nuit encore à la reproduction. Le préjugé des nobles exclud souvent de leur ordre celui qui s’adonne aux travaux productifs ; maintenant les nouveaux parvenus ont acquis une telle supériorité au dessus de la noblesse par leurs fortunes que les nobles sont obliges de soutenir leurs noms & leurs liberté en s’alliant dans leurs [107] families. Les nobles, en méprisant de s’enrichir, sont contraints de vendre leurs terres & leur prérogatives à des roturiers enrichis, & de solliciter leur crédit. C’est ainsi qu’en ôtant à l’homme ses droits de propriété, tous les états se confondent, les uns s’enrichissent aux dépens des autres; l’ordre de la société est interverti, & la société languit ; c’est ainsi que les gouvernemens, qui établissent des loix somptuaires & attentent à la liberté des droits naturels des citoyens, sont corrompus ; ou bien ils ont en eux le venin d’une telle corruption, parce que dès que l’on suppose que l’administration peut attenter à la propriété, tous les abus dont nous avons parlé ne sont que des consequences ou des suites de ce principe funeste. Ne nous étonnons plus des prodiges que nous rapporte l’antiquité sur les richesses que les peuples ont acquises, des travaux immenses que les Princes & les riches propriétaires ont fait exécuter, de la population immense de certains peuples & de la fertilité de leurs terres. Ces prodiges nous paroissent maintenant surnaturels par les limites dans lesquelles notre population est resserrée, & par le peu d’accroissement dont l’expérience de nos jours nous la fait paroître susceptible, par la lenteur avec laquelle nos productions font quelques progrès, & par les révolutions auxquelles sont sujettes les richesses accrues par le commerce. Depuis longtemps les principes les plus contraires à la production ont été regardés comme les plus propres à (s) Nous ne parlerons ici des revenus ni des Evêques, ni des Grands Vicaires, ni des Curés, ni de leurs Vicaires, dont les fonctions respectables instruisent les peuples, & qui travaillent continuellement à les entretenir dans la pureté des mœurs, & dans l’exercice des vertus, ou à les preserver du vice. (t) On a déjà remarqué que l’intolérance de l’Espagne a beaucoup contribué à dépeupler ce royaume, & même beaucoup plus que les établissemens des deux Indes ; il me semble que le transport des richesses & des capitaux productifs est une des causes principales de la décadence de cet empire. (u) Par un ancien préjugé, la noblesse commerçante dérogeoit ; actuellement il n’y a plus que les détailleurs. Dès 1629 le Cardinal de Richelieu fit rendre un édit par lequel le Roi déclare que les gentils-hommes qui feront le commerce de mer ne dérogeront pas à la noblesse.

enrichment of peoples. We are careful not to investigate the duration of the prosperity of ancient peoples, which sacred history does not permit [108] to elaborate on as much as profane history does; we only note that without doubt those peoples had laws that were more favourable to production and consequently to population. Once nations have achieved a certain degree of wealth, luxury consumption will exert an influence that extends to the workshops. The brilliance of luxury consumption often accompanies and keeps pace with the costs of production. This kind of luxury may be the symptom of real prosperity and of the prosperity of producers. But if it is solely founded on profligate tastes, which under the influence of the inequality of wealth, pass from the wealthy to the inferior classes and degenerates into a general epidemic, then it adorns the

At the origins of mathematical economics


nation with a disastrous splendour that cannot save it from decadence, because it necessarily tends to run the sources of wealth dry. […]

[143] CHAPTER FOUR Of trade It is through trade, or the circulation and exchange of agricultural products and manufactures that man can increase and diversify his enjoyments. If he could only enjoy what he could obtain himself, he would be more or less restricted to necessities and he would only enjoy some same and monotonous pleasures prepared for his satiation by a limited industry. Our discussion of trade covers the exchanges and circulation by which [144] foodstuffs, products and commodities pass from the farmer to the manufacturer and the consumer and from the manufacturer to the consumer. Trade in general comprises those exchanges and that circulation. We will discuss the activities of the trader, or the operations of the man who conducts those exchanges and circulation. We will consider the laws that are prohibitive to trade. We will discuss trade in its relations to products of the sea, to navigation and to colonies. We will analyse the effects of the circulation of money, and we will examine the balance of trade between nations.

FIRST SECTION Of the general advantages of trade in relation to products, foodstuffs or commodities Trade makes production blossom. It is the hope of the producer to obtain through sale the reimbursement of his costs and a share of disposable wealth, l’enrichissement des peuples. Nous nous garderons bien de rechercher quelle a pu être la durée de la prospérité des anciens peuples que l’histoire sacrée ne permet pas [108] d’étendre aussi loin que l’histoire profane ; nous observons seulement que ces peuples avoient sans doute des loix plus favorables à la production & par consequent à la population. Lorsque les nations sont parvenues à un certain degré de richesses, le luxe se fait remarquer jusques dans les atteliers de production. L’éclat des jouissances accompagne souvent & marche de pair avec les frais de production. Cette espece de luxe peut être le simptôme tôme de la prospérité réelle & de l’aisance des producteurs ; mais s’il n’est fondé que sur un goût dissipateur qui dans l’extrême inégalité des richesses, passant de la classe des riches jusqu’aux classes inférieures, dégénere en épidémic général, il pare la nation d’une splendeur funeste qui ne sauroit la préserver de la décadence, parce qu’il tend nécessairement à tarir les sources de la production des richesses. […]

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[143] CHAPITRE QUATRIEME Du commerce C’est par le commerce ou par la circulation & l’échange des productions de la terre & des travaux que l’homme peut accroître & diversifier ses jouissances qui seroient à peu près réduites au nécessaire, s’il ne jouissoit que de ce qu’il peut se procurer à lui-même, ou qui seroient réduites à quelques identiques & monotones plaisirs qu’une industrie bornée préparoit à la satiété. En traitant du commerce nous traitons des échanges & de la circulation par lesquelles les [144] denrées, productions & marchandises, passent du producteur au fabricateur & au consommateur, & du fabricateur au consommateur ; le commerce en général comprend ces échanges & cette circulation: nous parlerons de l’industrie du commerçant, ou des operations de l’homme qui produit ces échanges & cette circulation : nous considérerons les loix prohibitives du commerce : nous traiterons du commerce dans son rapport avec les denrées produites au-delà des mers ou de la navigation & des colonies : nous analyserons les effets de la circulation des monnoies, & nous examinerons la balance du commerce entre les nations. SECTION PREMIERE Des avantages du commerce dans son rapport avec les productions, les denrées ou les marchandises en général Le commerce donne l’essor à la production ; c’est l’espérance qu’a le producteur de retirer, par la vente, le remboursement de ses frais, & une portion to be used for enjoyment or saving, which motivates him to undertake productive activities. If some society or nation would have within its borders all the means to produce all things, if it could satisfy by itself the whole variety of enjoyments, a and if [145] the fecundity of its soil and industry would be such that the demands, based on the needs and faculties, could be satisfied, then foreign trade would only increase costs and would favour foreign sale at the expense of national sale. In that case, national production might experience a disastrous loss or decrease. However, the variety of climates and agricultural products, the differences in national talents, industry and products, the limits to the quantities of products relative to the extent of the territory or to seasonal changes, lead nations to engage in reciprocal trade and mutual exchanges of their products without which their mutual needs could not be satisfied. The interest that two nations have in trading with each other is the greater, the more their particular products differ from each other. And the interest one nation has in trading with another is the greater, the fewer means it has to produce something itself. Therefore trade enriches by multiplying [146] objects of enjoyment and by multiplying the products that have to be exported to be able to import consumption goods. Of these two increases in wealth, one is for the nation that receives the foreign wealth and the other is for the foreign nation that receives the national products.b Whilst carrying the national production beyond [national] consumption, trade assures the sale of that superfluity.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Some nations produce subsistence goods or [other] agricultural products for foreign trade; others prepare industrial products. When a nation exports a In his Elémens du commerce [2nd edition 1754, part 1, p. 48] M.[François Véron Duverger] de Forbonnais [1722–1800] says that ‘the real wealth of a nation is at its highest level when it does not have to rely on any other nation for its needs’. Several other writers have adopted this maxim. Let us suppose for an instant that all European nations and their possessions would be united in a single empire, could one then say that the real wealth of that imperial nation would be at its highest level? It is true that if one supposes a nation in which all kinds of climates exist that allow the cultivation of all products, it will not have to rely on other nations for [the satisfaction of] its needs. But could one conclude from this that production, industry, trade and saving on costs would have reached their highest degree of perfection? b Montesquieu says: wherever there are gentle mores there is trade, and reciprocally [Esprit des Lois Part 4, Book 20, Chapter 1]. Nevertheless, the same Author also says in the same work: trade corrupts pure customs. Montesquieu takes this from Cesar, who says of the Gauls that the proximity and trade of Marseilles made them soft, so that after formerly always beating the Germans, they became inferior to them [ibid.]. However, Cesar talks more in warlike terms than in political terms. Montesquieu says that the Romans protected trading towns, and were not envious of trade [Esprit des Lois Part 4, Book 21, Chapter 14]. It is true that those peoples sent armed men to acquire wealth, and not merchants.

de richesses disponibles pour ses jouissances ou pour ses épargnes qui le détermine aux travaux productifs. Si une société quelconque ou une nation avoit dans son sein tous les moyens quelconques de productions, si elle pouvoit satisfaire par elle-même à la variété de toutes les jouissances,(a) & si la [145] fécondité de son sol & de son industrie étoit telle que les demandes fondées sur les besoins & les facultés fussent satisfaites, le commerce étranger pourroit être propre à multiplier les frais, & favoriseroit le débit étranger au préjudice du débit national; la production nationale pourroit éprouver des pertes ou des décroissemens funestes : mais la variété des climats & des productions territoriales, la différence du génie, de l’industrie & des productions nationales, la limitation de la quantité des productions relative à l’étendue du territoire ou à la variété des saisons, appellent les nations au commerce réciproque & aux échanges de leurs productions mutuelles sans lesquelles leurs besoins mutuels ne pourroient être satisfaits. L’intérêt que deux nations ont à commercer entre elles est d’autant plus grand qu’il y a plus de differences entre leurs productions particulieres, & l’intérêt qu’une nation a de commercer avec les autres est d’autant pus grand qu’elle a moins de moyens de productions dans son sein. Le commerce enrichit done en multipliant les [146] jouissances & en multipliant les productions qu’il faut exporter pour attirer l’importation des consommations. De ces accroissemens de richesses, l’un est pour la nation qui reçoit des richesses étrangères, l’autre pour l’étranger qui reçoit des productions nationals(b). En portant la production nationale au-delà de la consommation, le commerce assure le debit de ce superflu. Une nation produit pour l’étranger des subsistances ou des productions territoriales, une autre lui prepare les productions de son industrie ;

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(a) Forbonnois dit dans ses Elémens du commerce que la richesse réelle d’une nation est à son plus haut degré, lorsqu’elle n’a recours à aucune autre pour ses besoins, & plusieurs personnes ont adopté cette maxime. Supposons, pour un instant, que toutes les nations de l’Europe & leurs possessions soient réunies sous un même empire, pourroit-on dire que la richesse réelle de cette nation impériale est à son plus haut degré ? Ou bien, si l’on suppose qu’une même nation renferme dans son sein tous les climats propres aux productions de toute espece, elle n’aura pas recours aux autres nations pour ses besoins : mais peuton en conclure que la production, l’industrie, le commerce & l’économie des frais sont intérieurement à leur dernier degré de perfection. (b) Montesquieu dit : par-tout où il y a des mœurs douces il y a du commerce & réciproquement ; cependant le même Auteur, dans le même ouvrage, dit aussi : le commerce corrompt les mœurs pures. Montesquieu parloit ainsi d’après Cesar, qui dit des Gaulois, que le voisinage & le commerce de Marseille les avoit gâtés, de façon qu’après avoir toujours vaincu les Germains, il leurs étoient devenus inférieurs ; mais César parloit plus en guerrier qu’en politique. Montesquieu dit que les Romains protégoient les villes commerçantes, & n'étoient point jaloux du commerce ; il est vrai que ces peuples envoyoient des hommes armés pour acquérir des richesses & non des marchands.

precious metals that it has produced, the amount of its coined money is diminished, but it is enriched by the same amount by the products it lacks and receives in exchange. The industrial products of nations are the ones that have excited most envy among nations, because industrial labour multiplies men and augments the splendour [147] of towns by their population. However, it has been remarked that wealth founded on industry is more subject to variations than that founded on agricultural production, because the man of industry travels between all countries and only settles near subsistence goods and primary materials if he does not experience obstacles and if he is better protected than elsewhere. Nations that produce primary materials of industry and subsistence goods have an advantage over others in securing industry and in retaining it through protection and encouragement. However, when one nation produces primary materials of industry and the other subsistence goods, each excites the envy of the other. Will one attract subsistence goods from abroad in order to make use of its primary materials, or will the other attract primary materials in order to use its subsistence goods? Until now administrations have only dealt with those questions by using wrong principles, of which we will talk in the article about the freedom of trade. The most secure advantage in trade is obtained from what are the most necessary commodities for producing nations, because merchandise suited to satisfying pleasures is subject to changes in fashion, and the need that people have for it is the plaything of their fickleness. One has to consider the trade between the producer and the consumer, to envisage the general advantages of trade. If one assumes two systems of wealth with owners of land, capital and labour, then the system as a whole that receives the most relative to what it gives is the one that is better off. [148] And within it the class that receives the most in return on its advances, or as interest on its fund, or as wages for its labour, enjoys the greatest advantage. It should be noted that the gains of each branch of industry or each kind of production will flow back to all other branches, and that the increase or reduction in the interest on the funds of an individual branch will influence the general interest on funds. Of two trading nations the

At the origins of mathematical economics


one that receives most relative to what it gives, enjoys the greatest advantage. The more the value of the goods sold rises relative to the goods that are purchased, the more a nation gains. If one compares an exchange in isolation, without comparing it to others, there is only exchange of equal value for equal value, and one does not gain more than the other. However, when exchanges are compared one can be more advantageous than another. In the exchange of two commodities, the more one merchant receives relative to what he gives, the more he gains. The quantity of commodities received can increase or decrease relative to the same quantity of commodities lorsqu’une nation transporte chez une autre les métaux précieux qui ont été produits chez elle, le numéraire de son argent monnoyé en est diminué, mais elle en est d’autant enrichie par les productions dont elle manque & qu’elle reçoit en échange. Les productions nationales de l’industrie sont celles qui ont le plus excité les jalousies des nations, parce que les travaux de l’industrie multiplient les hommes, & augmentent la splendeur [147] des villes par la population : mais on a remarqué que la richesse fondée sur l’industrie est plus sujette aux variations que celle qui est fondée sur la production territoriale, parce que l’homme industrieux voyage dans tous les pays, & ne se fixe à la proximité des subsistances & des matieres premieres que lorsqu’elle n’y éprouve pas d’entraves, & qu’elle y est plus protégée qu’ailleurs. Les nations qui produisent les matieres premieres de l’industrie & les subsistances ont l’avantage sur les autres pour s’assurer de l’industrie, & la retenir par la protection & l’encouragement : mais lorsqu’une nation produit des matieres premieres de l’industrie & l’autre les subsistances, chacune excite l’envie de l’autre. L’une attirera-t-elle les subsistances de l’étranger pour mettre en œuvre ses matieres premieres chez elle, ou l’autre attirerat-elle les matieres premieres pour employer chez elle les subsistances ? Ces questions n’ont été décidées jusqu’à present par les administrations que sur de faux principes, dont nous parlerons à l’article de la liberté du commerce. L’avantage le plus assure dans le commerce est aussi pour les nations qui produisent les denrées les plus nécessaires, parce que les marchandises propres aux plaisirs sont sujettes aux variations de la mode, & le besoin qu’en ont les hommes est le jouet de son inconstance. On doit considérer le commerce du producteur au consommateur, pour envisager les avantages généraux du commerce. Si l’on suppose deux systêmes de richesse dont les propriétaires soient fonciers, mobiliers ou travailleurs, en général celui-là aura plus d’avantage qui recevra plus relativement à ce qu’il donne ; [148] & en particulier ceuxlà auront plus d’avantages qui attireront plus pour la rentrée de leur avances ou pour l’intérêt de leurs fonds ou pour le salaire de leurs travaux. Il faut observer que les gains de chaque branche de l’industrie ou de chaque espece de productions reflueront sur toutes les autres branches, & que l’augmentation ou la diminution de l’intérêt des fonds d’une branche particuliere influeront sur l’intérêt des fonds en général. Entre deux nations commerçantes celle-là aura le plus d’avantage qui recevra plus relativement a ce qu’elle donnera ; plus la valeur des denrées vendues croîtra relativement a celles qui seront achetées, plus une nation gagnera. Si l’on considère un marché singulierement & sans le comparer a d’autres, il n’y a qu’échange de valeur égale à contre valeur égale, & l’un ne gagne pas plus que l’autre: mais dans les marchés compares l’un peut être plus avantageux que l’autre.

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Dans l’échange de deux marchandises, plus un des marchands recevra relativement à ce qu’il donnera, plus il gagnera. La quantité de marchandises reçues peut croître ou décroître relativement a une quantité de ties given, and the bargain is the more advantageous to one of the two parties, the smaller the quantity of commodities given is relative to what it receives. One merchant receives from another, in current circumstances, two sheep for six measures of wheat. In other circumstances he receives three sheep for five measures. Evidently, the second bargain is more advantageous than the first. If at another moment in time or in another place the same merchant receives seven measures of wheat for three sheep, he evidently gains on [149] his earlier bargain. Values thus determine the gains of trade, and the advantages of exchanges relative to one another. From this it follows not only that sellers tend to raise the value of their goods as much as possible; that is what everybody does. It is also in the interest of the seller to support this value by gaining the trust of buyers by showing them sincere and pure good faith; by exciting their desires; by making them buy because of the better qualities of the wares; and by avoiding above all trickery which affords passing gains, but which is followed by more considerable losses due to the loss of customers. It follows from what we have said that it is in the interest of nations that abundance reigns in the nations with which they trade, because the greater this abundance is, the more they receive relative to what they export. If it is true that nations enrich themselves mutually through trade, if the trade of a State draws great advantages from the prosperity of its neighbours, then the envy between trading nations is one of the scourges that makes the sources of their wealth dry up. No European nation can be in decline without the others feeling the effects of its decline. It is in the interest of England that France produces the largest possible quantities of grapes, in order that it supplies the European islands and the colonies with wine, eau de vie and vinegar at a lower price. England has an interest in the increase in the production of oils from the Provence, of salt, yarn and silk, and in the fabrication of cloth, silk and cotton materials, and ribbons from France. It is of great interest [150] to France that England produces the greatest possible quantity of coal, wool, leather, tin, lead and other commodities or merchandise whose production or fabrication is suited to the soil or the industry of the countries in the dependence of Britain, so that they can be attracted in greater quantities and at lower prices than would otherwise be possible. The Dutch have an interest in the production of wines, eaux de vie, vinegar, salt, oils, sugar, indigo, coffee, drapes, haberdashery, metal wares, mirrors, watches, silk and cotton materials, cloth, lace and tapestries from France or the countries in its dependence. The French have an interest in that the Dutch produce the greatest possible competition in the fishing of herring, in its manufacture of paper, its spices and its coastal navigation, either in order to increase the objects of enjoyments in France or in order to reduce their costs of production. marchandises données, & le marché est d’autant plus avantageux pour une des deux parties que les marchandises qu’elle donne sont en moindre quantité relativement à ce qu’elle reçoit. Un marchand reçoit d’un autre, dans les circonstances actuelles, deux moutons pour six mesures de bled ; dans d’autres il reçoit trois moutons pour cinq mesures ; le second marché est évidemment plus avantageux que le premier. Si dans d’autres temps ou d’autres lieux le même marchand reçoit sept mesures de bled pour trois moutons, il gagne évidemment sur son [149] marché précédent. Les valeurs déterminent

At the origins of mathematical economics


donc les gains du commerce, & l’avantage des marches les uns relativement aux autres. Il en résulte que non seulement les vendeurs tendent à élever leurs denrées à la plus haute valeur possible, ainsi que tout le monde le sait : mais encore que l’intérêt du vendeur est de soutenir cette valeur en établissant la confiance des acheteurs par les preuves les plus sinceres de la bonne foi la plus intacte, en excitant les desirs, & determinant aux achats par les meilleures qualités des choses vendues, en évitant sur-tout les ruses qui procurent des gains passagers auxquels succédent des pertes plus considérables par l’éloignement des acheteurs. Il suit de ce que nous avons dit, que les nations sont intéressées à ce que l’abondance regne chez les nations avec qui elles commercent, parce que plus cette abondance est considérable, plus elles reçoivent relativement à ce qu’elles exportent. Si les nations s’enrichissent mutuellement par le commerce, si le commerce d’un Etat tire de grands avantages de la prospérité de ses voisins, la jalousie entre les nations commerçantes est un des fléaux qui tarit les sources de leurs richesses. Aucune nation Européenne ne peut dépérir que les autres ne se ressentent de sa décadence. Il est de l’intérêt de l’Angleterre que la France tire de ses vins le plus grand produit possible, afin d’approvisionner à meilleur marché les Isles Européennes & les colonies de vins, d’eau de vie & de vinaigre à meilleur marché. L’Angleterre prend intérêt à l’accroissement de la production des huiles de Provence, du sel, du fil & de la soie, & de la fabrication des toiles, des étoffes de soie & des rubans de France. La France prend le plus [150] grand intérêt à ce que l’Angleterre produise la plus quantité possible de charbon de terre, de laines, de cuirs, d’étaim, de plomb & d’autres denrées ou marchandises dont la production ou la fabrication sont propres au sol ou à l’industrie des pays de la dépendance Britannique, afin de les tirer en plus grande quantité & à meilleur marché qu’il soit possible. Les Hollandois sont intéressés à la production des vins, des eaux de vie, du vinaigre, du sel, des huiles, du sucre, de l’indigo, du caffé, des draperies, des merceries, des clincailleries, des glaces, des montres, des étoffes de soie & de coton, des toiles, des dentelles & des tapisseries de France ou des pays de sa dépendance. Les François sont intéressés à ce que les Hollandois leur produise la plus grande concurrence possible dans la pêche du hareng, dans ses papéteries, ses épiceries & son cabotage, soit pour accroître en France les jouissances & les consommations, soit pour y diminuer les frais de production. It is even in the interest of a nation that foreign competition reduces the price of interior consumption. Production must not be protected at the expense of consumption, because the latter is the end and the former is the means. Producing and trading nations have an interest in finding easy access and warehouses in the various parts of the world and in obtaining a part of the wealth of foreigners by increasing their trade, their sale and their products. Hamburg is the warehouse of the North, Amsterdam is the warehouse of Europe as a whole; Marseilles, Cadiz, Bordeaux and the other principal Atlantic and Mediterranean ports distribute [151] the products, metals and merchandise of the four corners of the world to all peoples. At the same time they receive and shelter the ships of all nations. Trade can only exist in the bosom of peace. Wars conducted by nations in order to obtain supremacy in trade are like the hatred between two farmers which leads each of them to cut their crops before the time of the harvest. Every warring nation exhausts public revenue and the channels of production, anticipates future expenditure, and suffers considerable losses from the ravages of war. Belligerent powers make reciprocal exchanges through conquests, and

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the one who prides itself in having forced the other to sue for peace and to make sacrifices, is much less rich than if it would have employed its expenditures in the costs of public and private production. It will necessarily have impoverished its trade, not only because of the decline in internal trade, but also because of that in the production of its rivals. In a treatise on the envy of trade M.Pinto says that it is not incompatible with the common interest of powers that Spain possesses the mines of Peru, Portugal those of Brazil, Holland spices and the fishing of herring, France sugar and indigo and other product of St. Dominique, Martinique and Guadeloupe, as well as a share of the great fishing operations; that England can and should preserve a universal supremacy over the trade which has as its base Northern America, Jamaica, the east Indies apart from the Moluccas and Ceylon, and that the trade of that kingdom with Portugal would perhaps suffer if the main sugar colonies would be English, [152] which favour the commodities of Brazil by trade, and which are rewarded by the tribute they draw from it.26 That Author, who disapproves of the envy of trade between the European nations, nevertheless champions the supremacy of England in trade and in maritime forces, which is harmful and contrary to peace, necessary27 to trade, and contrary to the general freedom which alone can establish a favourable equilibrium between all trading nations. Il est de l’intérêt même d’une nation que la concurrence étrangère diminue le prix de la consommation intérieure ; la production ne doit pas être protégée au prejudice de la consommation, parce que celle-ci est le but, l’autre le moyen. Les nations productrices & commerçantes sont intéressées à trouver dans les différentes parties du monde des accès faciles ou des entrepôts, & à tirer parti de la richesse des étrangers pour accroître leur commerce, leur débit & leurs productions. Hambourg est l’entrepôt du Nord, la Hollande est celui de l’Europe ; Marseille, Cadix, Bordeaux & les autres ports principaux de l’Océan & de la Méditerranée distribuent à tous les peuples [151] les productions, les métaux & les marchandises des quatre parties du monde ; ils reçoivent & abritent en même temps les vaisseaux de toutes les nations. Le commerce ne vit qu’au sein de la paix. Les guerres que se font les nations pour obtenir la supériorité du commerce sont semblables aux haines de deux cultivateurs qui les porteroient réciproquement à couper leurs moissons avant le temps de la récolte. Chaque nation guerroyante épuise les revenus publics, les canaux de la production, anticipe sur les dépenses futures, fait des pertes considérables par les ravages de la guerre ; les puissances belligérantes font réciproquement des échanges par les conquêtes, & celle qui se vante d’avoir contraint l’autre à demander la paix & à faire des sacrifices est beaucoup moins riche que si elle avoit employé ses dépenses aux frais de productions publics & particuliers ; elle a nécessairement appauvri son commerce, non seulement par la décadence de la production intérieure, mais encore par celle de la production de ses rivaux. M.Pinto dans un traité sur la jalousie du commerce dit, qu’il n’est pas incompatible avec l’intérêt commun des puissances que l’Espagne possede les mines du Perou, le Portugal celles du Bresil, la Hollande les épiceries & la pêche du hareng, la France le sucre & l’indigo & les autres productions de St. Domingue, de la Martinique & de la Guadeloupe, ainsi qu’une partie des grandes pêcheries ; que l’Angleterre peut & doit conserver une preponderance universelle sur tout le commerce dont la base est l’Amérique septentrionale, la Jamaïque, les grandes Indes excepté les Moluques &

At the origins of mathematical economics


Ceylan, & que celui de ce Royaume avec le Portugal souffriroit peut-être, si les principales colonies a sucre étoient au Anglois, [152] qui favorisent les denrées du Bresil par le commerce, & qui en sont recompenses par le tribut qu’ils en tirent. Cet Auteur, qui blâmoit la jalousie du commerce des nations de l’Europe, soutenoit cependant en faveur de l’Angleterre un supériorité dans le commerce & dans les forces maritimes nuisible & contraire à la paix, nécessaire au commerce, & contraire à la liberté générale qui peut seule établir un équilibre favorable a toutes les nations commerçantes.

SECOND SECTION Of trade in relation to the trader

FIRST ARTICLE Of trading Trading comprises the operations of the person who carries out and manages all the activities that are necessary for exchanges and the circulation of foodstuffs and consumption goods. Every labour requires a salary, and activities are only undertaken if their rewards appear certain. The republics of Tyre, Cartage, Athens, Marseilles, Florence, Venice and Holland enriched themselves through trading, or through savings from trade, while producing nations enrich themselves through the sale of their products. Several German towns acquired great wealth through trading, and they formed a powerful association, which played an important role in the provisioning of the [Holy Roman] Empire. Nevertheless, trading, or savings from trade, [153] is less advantageous to a nation than the trade of its own products. The gain of the trader consists in purchasing at one time or in one place and reselling at a higher price at another time or in another place. It sometimes happens that a trader is useful to a nation without gaining on some kind of merchandise, when he transports it by chance, as return freight, or as ballast.28 The trader needs funds for the purchase of merchandise; he needs warehouses to keep merchandise awaiting sale or transport; he needs means of transport, clerks and servants who keep his books to keep track of his purchases and sales, and workmen to store or transport the merchandise. When the merchant buys in order to resell in the same place, he assures the prompt return of advances to the producer and as such he is useful to the promptitude of the renewal of those advances. It is necessary that the trader obtain interest on the capital that he sacrifices in purchasing, as well as a salary for his efforts and wages for the men whom he employs. The revenue of the trader depends on the difference between the prices at the time and place of purchase and the prices at the time and place of sale. For trade to be undertaken this difference should be such that it satisfies the payment of that interest and those salaries.29

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Trade is the same as the rest of industry in that all nations try to preserve it jealously. Their towns and ports reflect the state of its expenditures, and seem to [154] partake in all its benefits. It also moves easily between countries and can only be attracted when it is given protection and favours shared with other classes of society. The Dutch have since long appropriated the SECTION SECONDE Du commerce dans son rapport avec le commerçant ARTICLE PREMIER Du négoce Le négoce est l’opération de l’homme qui execute & fait exécuter tous les travaux nécessaires aux échanges & à la circulation des denrées & des objets de consommations ; tout travail mérite un salaire, & les travaux ne sont entrepris que lorsque le salaire en paroît certain. Les républiques de Tyr, de Carthage, d’Athènes, de Marseille, de Florence, de Venise & de Hollande, se sont enrichies par le négoce ou par le commerce d’économie, tandis que les nations productrices s’enrichissoient par le debit de leurs productions. Plusieurs villes d’Allemagne ont acquis de grande richesses par le négoce, & elles ont formé une puissante association qui a obtenu un grand crédit dans la diete de l’Empire. Cependant le négoce ou le commerce d’économie [153] est moins avantageux à une nation que le commerce de denrées de son cru. Le gain du négociant consiste à acheter dans un temps ou dans un lieu, & à revendre plus cher dans un autre temps ou dans un autre lieu. Il arrive quelquefois qu’un commerçant se rend utile à la nation sans gagner sur une espece de marchandises, lorsqu’il la transporte par occasion, par retour, ou pour servir de leste. Il faut que le négociant ait ou puisse représenter des fonds pour l’acquisition ; il faut qu’il ait de magasins pour déposer ses marchandises en attendant la vente ou le transport, des richesses propres aux transports, des commis & des facteurs propres a tenir ses livres, à pourvoir aux achats & aux ventes, des ouvriers pour emmagasiner ou transporter les marchandises. Lorsque le commerçant achete pour revendre dans le même lieu, il assure au producteur la prompte rentrée de ses avances, & en cela il est utile à la promptitude du renouvellement de ces avances. Il est nécessaire que le négociant retire l’intérêt des capitaux qu’il sacrifie aux achats, le salaire de ses peines & de celles des hommes qu’il emploie. Ce revenu du négociant depend de la difference des prix au moment ou au lieu de l’achat, & au moment ou au lieu de la vente, ainsi cette différence doit être telle qu’elle satisfasse au remboursement de cet intérêt & de ces salaires pour que le commerce soit entrepris. Il en est du négoce ainsi que des autres opérateurs de l’industrie ; chaque nation est jalouse de le re tenir dans son sein ; ses villes & ses ports brillent de l’état de ses dépenses, & semblent prendre [154] part a tous ses profits; il tient aussi peu au territoire & n’est attiré que par la plus grande protection, & par les faveurs qu’il partage avec les autres classes de la société. Les Hollandois

At the origins of mathematical economics


[carrying] trade of Europe. Although the greatest advantage of trade arises from the sale of [own] products and their exchange against foreign products, that nation has found a source of wealth in expanding their merchant navy and supplying all nations with objects of mutual need. There are several physical and moral factors why the Dutch have been able to appropriate and keep for a long time the trade and provisioning of the European powers. [Some of these factors are] their advantageous location between two seas and in the centre of Europe, their experience in fishing, the sterility of their soil, their savings on costs, their frugality, the freedom of conscience, the civil liberty, their politics of avoiding war and maintaining neutrality in the conflicts between other countries. This has allowed them for a long time to exclude other nations. In the mean time those other nations employed their capitals in the production of foodstuffs, or in agriculture, or they did not occupy themselves with the increase of wealth because of civil wars or religious persecutions. England has a better geographical location than Holland. It also has advantages in production and is better able to feed its own population. As a result, with fewer moral advantages, is has achieved superiority in trade. […]

FIFTH SECTION Of trade in relation with money

FIRST ARTICLE Of the circulation of specie [279] § IV Of the freedom of loans and the interest on money Loans are made either for enjoyment, or for production, or for extraordinary needs. The first lead to dissipation and are ruinous not only to the individual but also to the state. This is so because they divert funds from the route they take for the reparation, upkeep or augmentation of productive wealth, and prevent them from working towards reproduction whilst the interest paid on them is taken out of reproduction. Loans made for reproduction are very advantageous. They gather and co-ordinate the funds in productive places, and they can complement the se sont approprié, pendant longtemps, le négoce de l’Europe. Quoique le plus grand avantage du commerce résulte du débit des productions & de leur échange contre des productions étrangères, ces peuples ont fait naître chez eux une source de richesse en élevant leur navigation de manière à pourvoir toutes les nations des objets de leurs besoins mutuels. Plusieurs causes physiques & morales ont approprié aux Hollandois, & ont conservé pendant long-temps le négoce & l’approvisionnement des puissances de l’Europe ; leur position avantageuse entre deux mers & au centre de l’Europe, leurs facilités pour la pêche, la stérilité de leur sol, l’économie des frais, la frugalité, la liberté de conscience, la liberté civile, la politique avec laquelle ils ont évité la guerre &

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conservé la neutralité dans les divisions des autres peuples, ont donné pendant longtemps l’exclusion aux autres peuples, qui dans le même temps employoient leurs capitaux à la production des subsistances ou à la culture du territoire, ou s’occupoient peu d’accroître les richesses à cause des guerres civiles & des persecutions religieuses. L’Angle terre avoit plus d’avantages de position que la Hollande, elle avoit encore de plus l’avantage de produire & de nourir elle-même ses sujets, & avec moins d’avantages moraux, elle est parvenue à reprendre la supériorité du commerce & du négoce. […] SECTION CINQUIEME Du commerce dans son rapport avec les monnoies ARTICLE PREMIER De la circulation des especes [279] § IV De la liberté des emprunts & de l’intérêt de l’argent Les emprunts sont faits pour la jouissance, ou pour la production, ou pour les besoins extraordinaires. Les premiers entrainent la dissipation, & sont ruineux non seulement pour les particuliers, mais encore pour l’Etat, parce qu’ils détournent les fonds de la route qu’ils prendroient pour la reparation, l’entretien ou l’augmentation des richesses productives, & les empêche de concourir à la reproduction, tandis que l’intérêt en est pris sur cette reproduction. Les emprunts faits pour la production sont très avantageux, ils assemblent & coordonnent les fonds dans les lieux productifs, & ils peuvent servir existing productive causes. Interest paid on them is taken out of reproduction, but it matters little who receives the interest as long as the funds are employed in production. By means of loans the military man, the noble man and the financier direct their savings to agriculture, industry and trade, and contribute to reproduction from which they annually withdraw a part, by means of the interest that the parties have agreed upon.u [280]. That interest is a part of the disposable wealth, or the product of capital from which the entrepreneur has deducted the wage of his industry. We will not discuss loans made to finance extraordinary needs. If a thunderbolt hits a house, all men who are employed in agriculture, even in the cultivation of subsistence goods, are diverted from it to put out the fire. Only the extent of those needs could assign laws to those loans. It is not surprising that political legislation has tried to discourage capitalists from lending their funds to dissipaters, and that morality would set limits to their predilection for the interest on that kind of loans, because dissipation is contrary both to the public interest and the private interest. But the law, by hindering dissipaters, often harms producers and that is a great ill. Excessive interest, which morality condemns by the pejorative name of usury, ruins the voluptuous [person] who has spent the fund on luxuries. The consumption of that fund will have been harmful to the state because it will have been diverted from production, which should be the goal of savings. The annual interest, which the head of an enterprise pays to the capitalist in proportion to the product

At the origins of mathematical economics


that he [281] derives from his capital, is a means to remove the savings of all classes of society from luxury consumption and dissipation and to direct it towards production. That interest is naturally proportioned to the product arising from the expenditures of the capital. Since government has no right to regulate those products, she can have no right to regulate that interest. We have seen that interest obtains a value in the markets or in the agreements between lenders and borrowers, just like all products, foodstuffs and any commodities that are traded. Government should favour those agreements, like all exchanges, but the law cannot fix the rate of interest without opposing the advantages of production. The law cannot contradict the course of the agreements without in some way harming production, whose needs determine the rates. The law should uphold the views of morality and forbid excessive interest, the concession of which can only be the result of the blindness of the u Lord Bolingbroke & Montesquieu [Esprit des lois, Part 4, Book 22, Chapters 17 and 18] have said that rentiers are idle and harmful members of the state. One should not confuse the annual payments paid by the producer and those paid by the government. The former reward the capitalist who destines his funds to production, the latter reward the capitalist who has favoured dissipation. In favour of government loans one can say that the taxes levied to pay interest return to the hand they leave, and favour industry.

à completter l’effet des causes productives déjà existantes. L’intérêt en est pris sur la reproduction, mais il importe peu à qui retourne l’intérêt lorsque les fonds ont été employés à la production. Par le moyen des emprunts le militaire, l’homme de robe & le financier destinent leurs épargnes à la culture, à l’industrie ou au commerce, & contribuent à la reproduction sur laquelle ils retirent annuellement une part, moyennant l’intérêt dont les parties sont convenues.(u) [280] Cet intérêt est une partie de la richesse disponible ou le produit du capital sur lequel l’entrepreneur a prélevé le salaire de son industrie. Nous ne parlerons pas des emprunts faits pour des besoins extraordinaires. Si le feu du ciel tombe sur une maison, tous les bras occupés à l’agriculture, & même au travaux de subsistance, en sont détournés pour éteindre l’incendie ; il n’y a que l’étendue de ces besoins qui puisse assigner les loix de ces emprunts. Il n’est pas surprenant que la législation politique ait eu de la répugnance à intéresser les capitalistes pour prêter leurs fonds aux dissipateurs, & que la morale ait assigné des limites à leur délicatesse dans l’intérêt de ces sortes de prêts, parce que la dissipation est contraire à l’intérêt a l’intérêt public & à l’intérêt particulier : mais la loi, en nuisant aux dissipateurs, nuit souvent aux producteurs, & c’est un grand mal. L’intérêt excessif, que la morale a flétri par le nom d’usure, ruine le voluptueux qui a consommé le fonds en jouissances, & la consommation de ce fonds a été nuisible a l’Etat, parce qu’il a été détourné de la production qui doit être le but des épargnes. L’intérêt annuel, que le chef d’entreprise rend annuellement au capitaliste en raison du produit qu’il [281] retire de son capital, est un moyen d’enlever aux jouissances & à la dissipation les épargnes de toutes les classes de la société pour les conduire vers la production. Cet intérêt est naturellement proportionné au produit des dépenses du capital, l’administration n’a pas le droit de régler ces produits, elle ne peut avoir le droit de régler cet intérêt.

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Nous avons vu que l’intérêt obtenoit dans les marchéZs ou conventions des prêteurs & emprunteurs une valeur, ainsi que toutes les productions, denrées & marchandises quelconques dans les échanges. L’administration doit favoriser ces conventions, ainsi que tous les échanges ; mais la loi ne peut en fixer le taux sans s’opposer aux avantages de la production. La loi ne peut contrarier le cours des conventions sans nuire de quelque maniere à la production dont les besoins réglent les quotités. La loi doit seconder les vues de la morale & interdire l’intérêt excessif qui ne peut être dans la concession du dissipateur que le fruit de (u) Milord Bolingbroke & Montesquieu ont dit que les rentiers étoient des membres oisifs & nuisibles a l’Etat. Il ne faut pas confondre les rentes payées par le producteur & celles payées par le gouvernement ; les unes récompensent le capitaliste qui destine ses fonds a la production, les autres remboursent le capitaliste qu’a favorise la dissipation : on dit en faveur des emprunts de gouvernement, que les impôts dont on charge pour payer les intérêts rentrent dans la main dont ils sortent & favorisent l’industrie.

dissipater who is driven to it by his passions. It is easy to distinguish between interest and usury. Interest is the agreement of the producer, usury is the agreement of the dissipater. It is necessary that the rate of interest be known in order to regulate individual agreements. It should not be fixed, but it should be certified by the government in order to regulate judicially the annual compensation the debtor owes to the creditor for the product of the fund he has borrowed and which he is supposed to have employed in production, or at least which the creditor could have employed in this way if it had not been lent. Since government [282] would annually notify by means of declarations what the rate of interest had been, the long term interest rate would have to be an average rate of the years comprised in that term. Several Authors have thought that too high an interest on money would be harmful to the prosperity of the nation. This has often led ministers to reduce the rate of interest. There are three things to be considered with respect to the rate of interest: 1. The interest on money or on loans. 2. The general interest on wealth, or the ratio of periodical production to the mass of durable capital and the costs of upkeep, repair and renewal. 3. The ratio between the price of land and the annual product of that fund. When the rate of interest is high relative to land, this can be due to the fact that the credit of productive industrial and commercial enterprises is less considerable than the credit of agricultural enterprises.x This can be advantageous to an agricultural nation, for if it abandons agriculture in order to devote itself to industrial or commercial activities, or if it restores the credit of industry at the expense of that of agriculture, its source of wealth will dry up. Nevertheless, in a moment of crisis when the credit of trade and industry would have experienced a considerable setback, land would acquire an excessive value which [283] could not be a sign of prosperity. Agriculture by itself, deprived of the assistance of industry and trade would feel the effects of the sudden changes to which it would be exposed. The opposite excess is equally to be feared. The more the ratio of the price of land to the product and the rate of interest on loans tend to be equal, the more one may be persuaded that the credit of agriculture and that of industrial and commercial enterprises, weighed up against one another, tend to establish between them an equilibrium that will satisfy the demands and the needs of the consumers in the most advantageous manner.

At the origins of mathematical economics


With respect to the general interest on wealth, considered independently from the interest on money and the interest on land which are part of it, it is certain that it is the highest rate that is the most advantageous. For although it is advantageous for production that the greatest possible quantity x M.Dupré de St. Maur has noted that there is almost always a difference of a third above rents paid on land [Essai sur les monnoies, ou Reflections sur le le rapport entre l’argent et les denrées. 1746]. According to du Moulin land was sold in 1541 at the 30th penny.

l’aveuglement dans lequel il est entraîné par ses passions. Il est aisé de fixer des limites entre l’intérêt & l’usure ; l’intérêt est la convention du producteur ; l’usure est la convention du dissipateur. Il est nécessaire que le taux de l’intérêt soit connu pour régler les conventions particulieres ; il ne doit pas être fixé, mais il doit être constaté par l’administration afin de régler juridiquement le dédommagement annuel que le débiteur doit à un créancier pour le produit du fonds qu’il a retenu & qu’il est censé avoir employé à la production, ou au moins que le créancier y eût employé s’il n’eût pas été retenu. L’administration [282] constatant annuellement par des relevés quel a été le taux de l’intérêt, le taux de l’intérêt pendant un long terme doit être un taux moyen entre ceux des années de ce terme. Plusieurs Auteurs ont pensé que le trop haut intérêt de l’argent étoit nuisible à la prospérité d’une nation ; c’est ce qui a souvent engagé les ministres à diminuer le taux de l’intérêt. Il y a trois choses a considérer dans le taux de l’intérêt : 1°. L’intérêt de l’argent ou des emprunts. 2°. L’intérêt général des richesses, ou le rapport de la production périodique à la masse des richesses productives de longue durée, & des richesses d’entretien, de réparations & de renouvellement. 3°. Le rapport du prix des fonds de terre au produit annuel de ces fonds. Lorsque que le taux de l’intérêt est haut relativement aux fonds de la terre, cela peut provenir de ce que le crédit des entreprises productives de l’industrie ou du commerce est moins considerable que le crédit des entreprises de culture(x) ; cela peut être avantageux pour une nation agricole : car si elle abandonnoit la culture pour s’adonner aux travaux de l’industrie ou du commerce, ou si elle rétablissoit le crédit de l’industrie au préjudice de celui de la culture, elle tariroit la source de ses richesses ; cependant dans un moment de crise où le crédit du commerce & de l’industrie auroit éprouvé un échec considérable, les terres acquéroient une valeur excessive qui ne [283] pourroit être un signe de prospérité ; car la culture elle-même, privée du secours de l’industrie & du commerce, se ressentiroit des coups qui leur auroient été portés. Les excès contraires sont également à craindre : plus le rapport du prix des fonds de terre au produit & les taux de l’intérêt des emprunts approcheront d'être égaux, plus l’on pourra être persuadé que le crédit de la culture & celui des entreprises d’industrie & de commerce, mis dans la balance, tendront a établir entre eux un équilibre qui satisfera les demandes & les besoins des consommateurs de la maniere la plus avantageuse. Quant à l’intérêt général des richesses considéré indépendamment de l’intérêt de l’argent & de l’intérêt des fonds qui en font partie, il est certain que c’est la plus haut qui est le plus avantageux ; car quoi qu’il soit intéressant pour la production que l’on y destine la plus grande quantité de dépenses

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(x) M.Dupré de St. Maur a remarqué qu’il y a presque toujours eu une difference du tiers en sus des rentes constitutées aux terres. Suivant du Moulin les biens fonds se vendoient en 1541 au denier de 30.

of expenditures and wealth is directed towards it, the more the genius and industry of men diminish the mass of productive wealth relative to the produce, the more considerable the share of enjoyments and free consumption will be, and the richer the nation will be. One cannot conclude from the observation I have just made about the advantage of the diminution of the ratio of productive wealth to production that the highest interest of wealth indicates the greatest prosperity. This is because industrial and commercial enterprises can grow and multiply, like agricultural enterprises, in such a manner that those productive expenditures added to the general sum of productive wealth augment the ratio of productive funds to reproduction [284] as when, for example, new enterprises produce less relative to the costs than preceding enterprises. Various causes of prosperity contribute to the raising and lowering of the interest on money and the interest on wealth. Those rises and falls can therefore not be the thermometer of the prosperity of States.30 A low interest on money in a nation can be caused by the lack of employment of capitals. In that case it is not a sign of prosperity.y The abundance of productive capitals, by diminishing the interest on loans, tends to increase production and the increase in production tends to increase the interest,z because the interest on loans can grow until it is equal to [the return on capital employed in] production. One will perhaps say that it is advantageous to production and to the commercial and industrial enterprises to keep the interest rate on money low. It is true that it is advantageous to the entrepreneurs and the producers, because they receive a more considerable product from the service of the productive expenditures that are increased by the borrowed sums. But if it is advantageous to the producers to obtain an increased product from their productive funds, it is also in their [285] interest to attract, by means of loans, the possibility to increase their funds. And if men of all estatesa can share in the produce of enterprises by means of loans, the laws should not deprive them of the advantages natural competition procures them. This competition tends to bring the interest on money close to the general interest of productive funds. It is easily understood that the current rate of interest of money should not exceed the ratio of productive wealth to the product,31 y M.Hume [Essays. Moral Political and Literary, 1752. Essay xxvi ‘Of Interest’] maintains that the low price of interest on money is an almost infallible sign of the prosperity of a people. z After the conquest of the [West] Indies the interest on money fell in Spain from the 10th penny to the 20th penny [from 10% to 5%] ([Garcillasso de la Vega, ‘l’Inca] histoire des guerres civiles des Espagnols dans les Indes [Translated from Spanish by J.Baudoin, 1709. Amsterdam: Kuyer.]). This is because silver became more common and production diminished. a It is said that the high interest on money is especially necessary for the families of the [noblesse] de robe. Parliament has merely registered by lettres de jussion an edict of 1634 which reduces interest to the 18th penny

At the origins of mathematical economics


& de richesses qu’il soit possible, cependant plus le génie & l’industrie des hommes diminueront la masse des richesses productives relativement à la production, plus la portion des jouissances & des consommations libres sera considérable, & plus la nation sera riche. On ne peut conclure de l’observation que je viens de faire sur l’avantage de la diminution du rapport des richesses productives à la production que le plus haut intérêt des richesses indique la plus grande prospérité ; car les entreprises d’industrie & de commerce peuvent s’accroître & se multiplier, ainsi que les entreprises de culture, de maniere que ces dépenses productives, jointes à la somme générate des richesses productives, augmentent le rapport des fonds productifs à la reproduction, [284] lorsque, par exemple, les entreprises nouvelles produisent moins relativement aux frais que les entreprises précédentes. Différentes causes de prospérité concourent chacune à hausser & à diminuer l’intérêt de l’argent & l’intérêt des richesses ; ces hausses & ces baisses ne peuvent done être le thermomètre de la prospérité des Etats. Le bas intérêt de l’argent peut avoir, dans une nation, pour cause le défaut d’emploi des capitaux ; dans ce cas, il n’est pas un signe de prospérité.(y) L’abondance des capitaux productifs, en diminuant l’intérêt des emprunts, tend à accroître la production, & l’accroissement de la production tend à accroître l’intérêt,(z) parce que l’intérêt des emprunts peut croître jusqu’à ce qu’il soit égal à la production. On dira peut-être qu’il est avantageux pour la production & pour les entreprises de commerce & d’industrie de tenir le taux de l’intérêt de l’argent bas. Il est vrai que cela est avantageux pour les entrepreneurs & producteurs, parce qu’ils tirent un produit plus considerable du service des dépenses productives que les sommes empruntées ont accrues : mais s’il est avantageux pour les producteurs de tirer une augmentation de produit de leurs fonds productifs, il est aussi de leur avantage [285] d’attirer, par le moyen des emprunts, des facilités d’accroître leurs fonds ; & si les hommes de tous les états(a) peuvent, par le moyen des emprunts, participer aux produits des entreprises, la loi ne peut les priver des avantages que la concurrence naturelle leur procure. Cette concurrence tend à rapprocher l’intérêt de l’argent de l’intérêt général des fonds productifs. On sent bien que le taux courant de l’intérêt de l’argent ne doit pas excéder le rapport des richesses productives, (y) M.Hume soutient que le bas prix de l’intérêt de l’argent est un signe presque infaillible de la prospérité d’un peuple. (z) Après la conquête des Indes l’intérêt de l’argent tomba en Espagne du denier 10 au denier 20, (histoire des guerres civiles des Espagnols dans les Indes) c’est parce que l’argent y devint commun, & que la production diminua. (a) C’est sur-tout pour la conservation des families de robe que l’on dit que le haut intérêt de l’argent est nécessaire. Le parlement n’a enregistré que par lettres de jussion un édit de 1634, qui réduisit l’intérêt au denier 18.

because producers should not borrow at a loss. Only the interest on the loans to dissipaters has no limits but the extent of their passions. It is said that the reduction of the interest on money is useful to agriculture, to manufacture, to navigation, to fishing and to the opening up of colonies. This is true, but is the utility of those enterprises itself not relative to the wealth of the consumers? If it is

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useful to protect production, it should not for that reason take place at the expense of the rich and the capitalists. Interest on money is generally estimated to be half of mercantile profit. It is not known what this ratio would be if the law would not fix the rate of interest and if Sovereigns would not profit from the desires of individuals to invest in order to use savings for consumption at the expense of production and [286] trade. A nation which maintains an interest on money that is high relative to that of foreign nations, through public loans or legal fixation, harms production and trade not only because those enterprises are deprived of capital, but also because the commercial enterprises are more expensive than those of other nations. That is what convinced chancellor Bacon, and other economic writers after him, sir Thomas Collepeper, sir Josias Child, and sir J.Barnard and others,32 that the reduction of the interest on money would be salutary to England and that is what convinced the English and the Dutch that France in that respect still has a resource which they have already used and exhausted.b Governments that borrow have an interest in keeping the interest on money high in order to get the preference over the producers and merchants. [287] The reduction of interest is regarded as a means to relieve debtors and indebted provinces. It is argued that as the price of money rises that of other goods falls, because every loan of which the interest exceeds the revenue of the fund to which it is applied, necessarily ruins the debtor and degrades his estate. This is a mistake, because the more production grows, the more interest tends to grow. It is argued that the diminution of the interest on money increases the value of products.c The difference between the rates of interest can be the result of the difference between the expenditures of consumers and the expenditures of b In England the interest on money was at the tenth penny, or at 10% in 1623. In France, before the reign of Henri IV, interest was at the 12th penny, or 8⅓%. In 1601 that prince reduced it to the 16th penny, or to 6¼%. In 1634 Louis XIII reduced it to the 18th penny, or to Louis XIV reduced it to the 20th penny, or 5%. Charles IX made a distinction between interests on annuities and mercantile interest, he fixed the interest on annuities at the 16th penny and mercantile interest at the 12th penny. In England the interest on capital is only reduced by offers of reimbursement of capital. In 1750 the English reduced interests from 4 to 3%, by offering the reimbursement of capital. Few persons did reimburse. c Elémens du commerce [2nd edition 1754, part 2, p. 161].

parce que les producteurs ne doivent point emprunter à perte ; il n’y a que les prêts faits aux dissipateurs dont l’intérêt n’ait pas d’autres limites que l’étendue de leur passions. On dit que la diminution de l’intérêt de l’argent est utile à la culture, aux manufactures, à la navigation, à la pêche, aux défrichemens des colonies, cela est vrai : mais l’utilité de ces entreprises n’est elle-même relative qu’à la richesse des consommateurs ; s’il est utile de protéger la production, ce ne peut dont être au prejudice des droits des riches & des capitalistes. On estime ordinairement que l’intérêt de l’argent est la moitié du profit marchand. On ne sait quel seroit ce rapport si la loi ne fixoit pas le taux de l’intérêt, & si les Souverains

At the origins of mathematical economics


ne profitoient pas des desirs particuliers de placer pour consommer les épargnes au préjudice de la production & du [286] commerce. Une nation qui soutient, relativement aux nations étrangeres, l’intérêt de l’argent haut par les emprunts publics ou par la détermination de l’autorité nuit à la production & au commerce, non seulement parce que ces entreprises sont privées de capitaux, mais encore parce que les entreprises de commerce & les frais y sont plus chers que chez les autres nations. C’est ce qui a fait penser au chancelier Bacon & aux Auteurs économiques qui sont venus après lui, sir Thomas Collepeper, sir Jonas Child, sir J.Bernard & autres, que la réduction de l’intérêt de l’argent seroit très-salutaire à l’Angleterre, & c’est ce qui fait penser aux Anglois & aux Hollandois que la France a encore, à cet égard, une ressource qu’ils ont usée & épuisée.(b) Les gouvernements emprunteurs sont intéressés à soutenir l’intérêt de l’argent haut, afin d’obtenir la préférence sur les producteurs & négocians. On [287] regardé la baisse de l’intérêt de l’argent comme un moyen de soulager les débiteurs & les provinces endettées. On prétend qu’à mesure que le prix de l’argent hausse celui des autres biens baisse, parce que tout prêt dont l’intérêt excede le revenu du fonds sur lequel il est assigné ruine nécessairement le débiteur & avilit son heritage. C’est une erreur ; car plus la production croît, plus l’intérêt tend à croître. On prétend que la diminution de l’intérêt de l’argent augmente la valeur des denrées.(c) La différence des taux de l’intérêt peut provenir de la différence des dépenses des consommateurs & des dépenses des producteurs ; ce taux doit être (b) En Angleterre l’intérêt de l’argent étoit au denier dix, ou à 10 pour % en 1623. En France l’intérêt étoit avant le regne de Henri IV au denier douze ou 8 1/3 pour %. En 1601, ce prince le réduisit au denier 16, ou à 6 1/4 pour %. En 1634, Louis XIII le réduisit au denier 18 ou à 5 5/9 pour %. Louis XIV le réduisit au denier 20 ou a 5 pour %. Charles X avoit fait une distinction des intérêts de rente & de l’intérêt marchand ; il avoit fixé l’intérêt des rentes au denier 16, & l’intérêt marchand au denier douze. En Angleterre on ne réduit l’intérêt des capitaux qu’en offrant le remboursement du capital. En 1750 les Anglois réduisirent les intérêts de 4 à 3 pour %, en offrant le remboursement du capital ; peu de personnes se firent rembourser. (c) Elémens du commerce.

producers. That level has to be different when money is consumed by capitalists or when it is lent to producers: the demands of capitalists and those of their producercreditors may be different relative to their needs. This difference can increase the price of certain products and reduce that of others. A high interest on money relative to [the return on capital in] trade and industry can therefore indicate the prosperity of agriculture. A low interest is useful to producers in general. This utility increases production, but a high interest indicates the growth of production relative to expenses. A low interest is contrary to the interests of the capitalists, and often denotes the lack of employment of money and the dearth of productive enterprises. […]

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[1] SECOND PART Wealth in its relation with public and private property rights Some authors have argued that the Sovereign is joint proprietor of the product of the territory.33 This is a dangerous maxim that only suits despotism. Nevertheless, it is necessary that a part of the wealth of individuals be used for public expenditure. And if the King does not have a private domain that supports the splendour of his court, then it is necessary that the expenses of his house be taken from contributions of individuals. The rules necessary to determine the relation between public revenues and private revenues have undergone numerous changes in different periods and different states, and the property rights that are subject to those rules have been liable to the same vicissitudes. We will only consider those changes which property has experienced since the beginning of the French monarchy, after having established the general principles of taxation.

[2] FIRST BOOK Of taxation

FIRST CHAPTER Of taxation on products Security and public prosperity are the aim of public expenditures. Far from harming production, those expenditures should carry it to the highest possible level. They should be levied on the mass of disposable wealth, since the different si l’argent est consommé par les capitalistes ou s’il est prêté au producteurs : les demandes des capitalistes & celles de leurs créanciers producteurs doivent être différentes à raison de leurs besoins ; cette différence peut augmenter le prix de certaines denrées, & diminuer celui des autres. Le haut intérêt de l’argent relativement aux entreprises de commerce & d’industrie peut done indiquer la prospérité de l’agriculture ; le has intérêt est utile aux producteurs en général. Cette utilité accroît la production : mais le haut intérêt indique l’accroissement de la production relativement aux dépenses ; le has intérêt est contraire aux intérêts des capitalistes, & dénote souvent le défaut d’emploi d’argent & la disette des entreprises productives. […]

At the origins of mathematical economics


[1] SECONDE PARTIE Des richesses dans leur rapport avec les droits de propriété public & particuliers Quelques auteurs ont avancé que le Souverain est co-propriétaire du produit territorial ; cette maxime est dangereuse & ne convient qu’au despotisme. Cependant il est nécessaire qu’une partie des richesses des particuliers soit employee aux dépenses publiques ; & si le Roi n’a pas un domaine particulier, destiné au faste de sa cour, il est nécessaire que les dépenses de sa maison soient prises sur les contributions des particuliers. Les regles qui doivent fixer le rapport des revenus publics aux revenus particuliers ont subi plusieurs variations dans les différens temps & dans les différens états, & les droits de propriété soumis à ces regles ont été sujets aux mêmes vicissitudes. Nous nous arrêterons seulement a celles que la propriété a éprouvées dès l’origine de la monarchie françoise, après avoir établi des principes généraux sur les impositions. [2] LIVRE PREMIER Des impôts CHAPITRE PREMIER De l’impôt sur les productions La sûreté & la prospérité publique sont le but des dépenses publiques : loin de nuire à la production, ces dépenses doivent tendre à l’élever au plus haut degré qu’il soit possible ; elles doivent être prises sur la masse des richesses working man takes a part of the harvest for the next sowing period. Just like the harvest is diminished when the working man diminishes that part, in the same way reproduction in general is diminished when taxes fall on the costs of production. Let us suppose that of a reproduction of 18 the costs are 6 and the disposable wealth 12, and that one would want to levy a tax of 3. That tax can either be a sixth of the total or a quarter of the disposable wealth. If it is taken from the total, the costs will only be 5 for the following reproduction and supposing that it has to be proportional—that is to say that 5 produce 15, since we have just supposed that 6 produce 18—reproduction will not be more than 15. If one continues to charge in the same way there will again be the same proportional diminution, from which it follows that while there exist causes of [3] progressive increases, the manner of levying taxes can cause the progressive diminution of production. We have demonstrated that through the general values of things, people occupied in services and in production in general obtain parts of the mass of disposable wealth. It is therefore wrong to maintain that the entrepreneurs of agriculture, the entrepreneurs of industry and trade and the subordinates must be exempted from taxation, and that only the proprietors of the net revenue of the land have to pay, as is the case in the system of M.Quesnai and the Economists. Tax should be levied proportionally on any wealth whatsoever of agriculture and industry, not in proportion to the total production but in proportion to the sum of wealth minus the wealth employed in production. After having made their expenditures of agriculture, manufacture and trade, the cultivator, the

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manufacturer and the merchant make profits which they use for their needs, their enjoyments or for saving. Those profits are relative to [the values of] leases, foodstuffs and commodities, and tax should be levied on those profits just like on the revenues of the owners of land. Forbonnois saysa that it is not unjust that the physical necessities of the poor man are subjected to the same tax as the physical necessities available to the rich man, because each man, as a child of the republic, owes it a personal contribution that is equal to that received from another man. One cannot argue that physical necessities are to be [4] subjected to a tax, because a man whose physical necessities are reduced will necessarily waste away. Let us take an example in which we represent the general circulation of wealth in order to recognise the difference between the effects of a tax collected on the general mass of wealth in proportion to the total product and a tax collected on that received by each producer after the costs and expenditures of production have been deducted. Let there be a system of wealth composed of 100M, 120M , 150S, 180S , 200T, 240A, 300I, 360F, the total value of which is 1980A, so that a Considérations sur les finances d’Espagne, [Dresden (Paris) 1753] p. 47.

disponibles, comme le laboureur prend une part sur la récolte pour les semailles suivante : de même que le laboureur diminue la récolte en diminuant cette part, de même la reproduction générale des richesses est diminuée lorsque les impôts portent sur les frais de la production. Supposons que sur une reproduction de dix-huit les frais soient de six, & les richesses disponibles de douze, & que l’on veuille lever un impôt de trois ; cet impôt peut être un sixième du tout ou un quart des richesses disponibles. S’il est pris sur le tout, les frais ne seront plus que de cinq pour la reproduction suivante, & supposant qu’elle doive être proportionnelle, c’est-à-dire, que cinq produisent quinze, comme nous venons de supposer que six produisent dix-huit, la reproduction ne sera plus que de quinze. Si l’on recommence encore la même perception, il y aura encore la même diminution proportionnelle, d’où il suit que tandis qu’il existe des causes [3] d’augmentation progressive, il peut exister dans la maniere de percevoir l’impôt des causes de diminution progressive de la production. Nous avons démontré que, par les valeurs generates des choses, les hommes occupés aux services & à la production générale ont des parts sur la masse des richesses disponibles ; c’est done une erreur de soutenir que les entrepreneurs de la culture, les entrepreneurs de l’industrie & du commerce, & les serviteurs doivent être exempts d’impôts, & qu’il n’y a que les propriétaires du revenu net des terres qui doivent le payer suivant le systême de M.Quesnai & des économistes. L’impôt doit être pris proportionnellement sur toutes les richesses quelconques de la culture & de l’industrie, non pas en raison de la production totale, mais en raison de la somme des richesses, moins les richesses employees à la production. Le cultivateur, le manufacturier & le négociant après avoir fait leurs dépenses de culture, de manufacture & de commerce, font des profits qu’ils emploient a leurs besoins, a leurs jouissances ou a leurs épargnes ; ces profits sont relatifs aux valeurs des baux, des denrées & des marchandises, & l’impôt doit être pris sur ces profits ainsi que sur les revenus des propriétaires des terres.

At the origins of mathematical economics

162 Forbonnois dit(a) qu’il n’est pas injuste que le nécessaire physique destiné au pauvre soit sounds à la même taxe que ne le nécessaire physique à l’usage du riche, parce que chaque homme, comme enfant de la république, lui doit un secours personnel & égal à celui qu’elle reçoit d’un autre homme. On ne peut supposer que le nécessaire physique soit [4] soumis à une taxe ; car un homme dont le nécessaire physique est altéré dépérit nécessairement. Prenons un exemple dans lequel nous représenterons la circulation générale des richesses pour reconnoître la différence des effets de l’impôt perçu sur la masse générale des richesses, en raison de la production totale ou perçu seulement sur ce qui revient à chaque producteur après avoir prélevé les frais & les dépenses de production. Soit un systême de richesses compose de 100M, 120M , 150S, 180S , 200T, 240A, 300I, 360F, dont la valeur totale soit 1980A, de maniere que (a) Considerations sur les finances d’Espagne, p. 47.

M=A, M =3/2A, S=A, S =1/2A, T=1/2A, I=3/4A34, F=2A. We suppose that those quantities and values are conform to the order prescribed by the needs and demands of the consumers. If one wants, M and M will stand for raw materials, S and S for subsistence goods, T for services, A for money, I for objects of industry, and F for fixed capital. Let us suppose that the costs and expenditures to be incurred to produce 100M will be 120M .. 150S .. 180S .. 200T .. 240A .. 300I .. 360F .. The sum of costs will be and their total value

10M , 20S, 30T, 10A, 10F The value of costs will 80A 10S, 30S , 10T, 10A, 30F be 100 10M, 10S, 20T, 10A, 20F 80 20M, 10S, 10T, 10A, 10F 65 20M , 40S, 20S , 10A, 90 30M , 20S, 30S , 20T, 40F 170 40M, 20M , 50T, 10A, 30F 165 30M, 40M , 60T, 10A, 130 100M, 120M , 110S, 80S , 200T, 70A, 140F, _______ 880A

The sum of disposable wealth will be 40S, 100S , 170A, 300I, 220F and their value will be 1100A. Let us suppose that in addition to the private costs of which we have just spoken, public expenditures [5] would have to be made in order to protect and increase reproduction, and that those public expenditures amount to 220A. This is a fifth of disposable wealth, and a ninth of the total mass of wealth. When the producers of M will have paid for the purchase of the products necessary for their production, their disposable revenue will be 20A, that of the producers of M will be 80A, that of the producers of S will be 70A, that of the producers of S will be 25A, that of the producers of T, or of the workers, will be 10A, that of the producers of A will be 70A, that of the producers of I will be 235A, and that of the owners of F will be 590A. If the charge for public expenditures is levied as the ninth of the total product, then the producers of

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will pay 11A 1/9 .. .. 20 .. .. 16 6/9 .. .. 10 .. .. 11 1/9 .. .. 26 6/9 .. .. 44 4/9 .. .. 80 220A

M=A, M =3/2A, S=A, S =1/2A, T=1/2A, I=3/4A, F=2A, en supposant que ces quantités & les valeurs soient conformes à l’ordre prescrit par les besoins & les demandes des consommateurs. Les M & M représenteront, si l’on veut, de matieres premieres, les S & S des subsistances, les T des travaux, les A des monnoies, les I des objets d’industrie, & les F des richesses foncieres. Supposons que les frais & dépenses a faire pour produire La valeur des frais sera 100M soient 10M , 20S, 30T, 10A, 10F, 80A 120M … 10S, 30S , 10T, 10A, 30F, 100 150S … 10M, 10S, 20T, 10A, 20F, 80 180S’ … 20M, 10S, 10T, 10A, 10F, 65 200T … 20M , 40S, 20S , 10A, 90 240A … 30M , 20S, 30S , 20T, 40F, 170 300I … 40M, 20M , 50T, 10A, 30F, 165 360F … 30M, 40M , 60T, 10A, 130 La somme des frais sera 100M, 120M , 110S, 80S , 200T, 70A, 140F, _______ & leur valeur totale sera 880A.

La somme des richesses disponibles sera de 40S, 100S , 170A, 300I, 220F, & leur valeur sera de 1100A. Supposons qu’en sus des frais particuliers dont nous venons de parler, il faille encore faire des [5] dépenses publiques pour protéger & accroître la reproduction, & que ces dépenses publiques montent a 220A, cette somme est la cinquième des richesses disponibles, & le neuvieme de la masse totale des richesses. Lorsque les producteurs de M seront remboursés de l’achat des denrées nécessaires a leur production, leurs revenus disponibles sera de 20A, celui des producteurs de M sera de 80A, celui des producteurs de S sera de 70A, celui des producteurs de S sera de 25A, celui des producteurs de T ou travailleurs de 10A, celui des producteurs de A de 70A, celui des producteurs de I de 235A, celui des propriétaires de F de 590A. Si la perception des dépenses publiques est prise au neuvieme du produit total, les producteurs de M M S S T

payeront 11A 1/9 20 … 16 6/9 … 10 … 11 1/9

At the origins of mathematical economics

A … I … F …


26 6/9 44 4/9 80 220A

If this charge is levied as the fifth of the disposable product, then the producers of M M S S T A I F

will pay 4A .. .. 16 .. .. 14 .. .. 5 .. .. 2 .. .. 14 .. .. 47 .. .. 118 220

[6] It is easy to convince oneself that under this assumption all producers share in the general mass of disposable wealth, and that they have to contribute in proportion to their profits. It is evident that only when one takes a fifth of the disposable wealth the public expenditures are paid by the producers in proportion to their profits, because to the producer they are only profits after he has deducted the costs and the value of his advances from the price of the total product. It is only in that case that the production, directed by demands and needs, does not suffer any disruption. Since [the quantities produced of] particular products increase in response to profits and decrease in response to the reduction in profits, individual products suffer more from taxation on the total product when the producers make smaller profits. It is also easy to see that the contribution of the workers [producing T] exceeds their profits by taking a ninth of the total product and that this excess cannot persist, because it is supposed that the sum of 90 A is absolutely necessary to their existence. Therefore the value of T will have to increase in order to satisfy this absolute necessity, and those who have a disproportionate need for services pay that increase. Taxation, on the product of wealth, even when levied proportionally, is contrary to production that suits demands and needs. [By contrast,] taxation levied proportionally to the profits of the producers does not contradict the order of production that is conform to needs. The objective of taxation is to protect and increase production in such a manner that it satisfies the consumers as best as possible [7]. Taxation levied in proportion to the sum of products would therefore be contrary to its objective. M.Quesnay and the Economists have advanced erroneous propositions about taxation. They have said, 1. In whatever manner the public revenue is imposed in a kingdom that draws its wealth from its territory, it is always paid by the soil;b b Note to Maxim V of the '[General Maxims for the] economic government of an agricultural kingdom’ [by Quesnay, first published in Physiocratie (1767), Dupont’s collection of articles by the Economists].

Si cette perception est prise au cinquieme du produit disponible, les producteurs de

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payeront 4A … 16 … 14 … 5 … 2 … 14 … 47 … 118 220A

[6] Il est aisé de se convaincre que tous les producteurs ont des parts sur la masse générale des richesses disponibles dans cette supposition, & qu’ils doivent tous contribuer en raison de leurs profits. Il est evident que ce n’est que dans le cas où l’on prend le cinquieme des richesses disponibles que les dépenses publiques sont payées par les producteurs en raison de leurs profits, parce qu’il n’y a de profits pour le producteur que lorsqu’il a prélevé les frais & la valeur de ses avances sur le prix du produit total : ce n’est que dans ce cas que la production, dirigée par les demandes & les besoins, ne souffre aucune alteration ; les productions particulieres souffrent d’autant plus de la perception sur le produit total que les producteurs font moins de profits, parce que les productions particulieres croissent en raison des profits, & décroissent en raison de la diminution de ces profits. Il est encore aisé de voir que la contribution des travailleurs, en prenant le neuvieme du profit total, excède leurs profits, & que cet excès ne peut subsister, puisque l’on suppose que la somme de 90A est absolument nécessaire à leur existence : il faut done que les valeurs de T croissent pour satisfaire à cette nécessité absolue, & cet accroissement de valeur est payé par ceux qui ont besoin de travaux d’une manière disproportionnée. L’imposition, prise même proportionnellement sur le produit total des richesses, est contraire à la production qui convient aux demandes & aux besoins ; l’imposition, perçue en raison des profits des producteurs, ne contrarie point l’ordre de productions conforme aux besoins. Le but de l’imposition est de protéger & d’accroître la production de maniere qu’elle satisfasse le plus qu’il soit possible [7] les consommateurs ; l’imposition, prise en raison de la somme des productions, seroit done contraire à son but. M.Quesnay & les économistes ont avancé des propositions erronées sur l’impôt ; ils ont dit, 1°. De quelque maniere que le revenu public soit imposé dans un royaume qui tire ses richesses de son territoire, il est toujours payé par les biens fonds:(b) (b) Note sur la Maxime V du gouvernement économique du royaume agricole.

2. The profits of industrial entrepreneurs are nothing but the salaries paid for their labour, 3. That class of entrepreneurs is sterile and produces nothing above costs’, 4. All works of industry are paid for by the products of the land’, 5. Tax should only be paid by the proprietors of land, because the cultivators are merely wage-earners and their revenue only consists of the costs of production’, 6. The only real revenue of an agricultural State is the product of its territory, tax should be levied at the source of production, and labour and industry must be given immunity, 7. All expenditures of wage-earners are paid by those who pay the wages. Taxes levied on wages or on their

At the origins of mathematical economics


expenditures are therefore evidently paid in full by those who pay their wages.c It is impossible to demonstrate that by levying tax on the net product of the land all classes of society will contribute in proportion to their wealth. Only the tax that is levied proportionally on the profits of all agricultural, [8] industrial and commercial enterprises would be conform to the natural order. All productions whatsoever should contribute in proportion to the total product minus the things used up in production, and all people should contribute in proportion to the advantages they receive from production. Their advantage simply consists of the profits they make, or of the wealth they can dispose of after each reproduction. Yet people can only dispose of the difference between the total product and the cost of production. The Economists believed that the products of industry are merely metamorphosed products of the land. Their mistakes regarding taxation are due to their mistakes regarding the product of industry about which we have already spoken,35 and to their mistakes regarding the principles of the general circulation of wealth. The tableau économique they use as proof is incorrect. It represents circulation between three classes of society, the proprietors, the cultivators and the manufacturers. That tableau only contains as much industrial produce as there is agricultural produce supplied by the other classes. This is a mistake: the industrial workers supply other classes as well as supplying each other. A marble statue can be exchanged against the product of a goldsmith. After having sold his statue, a sculptor can buy with the selling price a product from the goldsmith. Subsistence goods and the primary materials necessary to the production of his works can be paid for by other works of the same kind. In order to analyse circulation correctly, one should not classify all commodities and products whatsoever in two parts as the Economists have done. [9] If only they had assumed four classes, of which two [produce agricultural] and two industrial products, and if they would have studied the circulation between those four classes, they would have understood that their thoughts were perverted and that among the combinations that would result from the exchanges of those merchandises, considered two by two, the objects of industry can be exchanged against one another, and the value of the objects of industry can surpass the value of the products of the land necessary to their existence. One can easily convince oneself of that by the example that we have given. c Those principles are extracted from various works of the Economists.

2°. Les profits des entrepreneurs d’industrie ne sont que les salaires de leurs travaux : 3°. La classe de ces entrepreneurs est stérile & ne produit rien au delà des frais : 4°. Tous les travaux d’industrie sont payés par les productions de le terre : 5°. L’impôt ne doit être payé que par les propriétaires des terres, parce que les cultivateurs ne sont que des salariés, & que leur revenu ne consiste que dans les frais de production : 6°. Un Etat agricole n’a de revenu réel que le produit territorial, l’impôt doit être pris à la source de la production, & il doit y avoir immunité pour le travail de l’industrie : 7°. Toutes les dépenses des salaries, sont payées par ceux qui payent les salaires, les taxes établies sur les salariés ou sur leurs dépenses sont done évidemment payées en entier par ceux qui payent les salaires.(c) Il est impossible de démonter qu’en prenant l’imposition sur le produit net des terres toutes les classes de la société y contribueroient en raison de leurs richesses ; il n’y a que l’impôt perçu proportionnellement sur les profits de toutes les entreprises de la culture, de [8] l’industrie & du commerce, qui soit conforme à l’ordre

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naturel ; toutes les productions quelconques doivent contribuer en raison du produit total moins les choses absorbées par la production, & toutes les personnes doivent contribuer en raison des avantages qu’elles retirent de la production ; leurs avantages ne consistent que dans les profits qu’elles font, ou dans les richesses dont elles peuvent disposer a chaque reproduction ; or les hommes ne peuvent disposer que de la difference du produit total & des frais de reproduction. Les économistes ont cru que les productions de l’industrie n'étoient pas que des productions de la terre métamorphosées ; leurs erreurs sur l’imposition proviennent de leurs erreurs sur les productions de l’industrie dont nous avons déjà parlé, & de leurs erreurs sur les principes de la circulation générale des richesses. Le tableau économique qui leur sert de preuve n’est pas exact : il représente la circulation entre trois classes de la société, les propriétaires, les cultivateurs & les industrieux ; ce tableau ne contient qu’autant de travaux industrieux qu’il est fourni de productions de la terre par les autres classes. C’est une erreur : les ouvriers manufacturiers approvisionnent les autres classes & s’approvisionnent entre eux. Une statue de marbre peut être échangée contre un ouvrage d’orfévrerie ; un sculpteur, après avoir vendu sa statue, peut, du prix de sa vente, acheter un ouvrage d’orfévrerie ; les subsistances & les matieres premieres nécessaires à la production de ses ouvrages peuvent être payées par d’autres ouvrages du même art. Pour analyser exactement la circulation, il ne faut pas classer toutes les marchandises & denrées quelconques en deux portions, ainsi qu’ont fait les économistes ; [9] s’ils avoient seulement établi quatre classes, dont deux de productions, & deux de productions d’industrie, & qu’ils eussent observe la circulation entre ces quatre classes, ils auroient apperçu que leurs raisonnements étoient vicieux, & que dans les combinaisons qui résulteroient des échanges de ces marchandises considérées deux à deux, les objets d’industrie peuvent être échangés les uns contre les autres, & que la valeur des objets d’industrie peut surpasser la valeur des productions de la terre nécessaires à leur existence ; c’est ce dont on peut se convaincre facilement dans l’exemple que nous venons de rapporter. (c) Ces principes sont extraits des différens ouvrages économistes.

The Economists have argued that taxation will eventually fall on the land, and that levying it on the products of industry would be to levy it in an indirect manner, because the tax a worker pays is necessarily paid by the one who employs him. They believed that only the products of the land are real wealth, that industry does not multiply wealth because it consumes as much as it produces. All those mistakes are based on the fact that they have regarded working men and the heads of enterprises as paid workers of the producers of the land or of the proprietors of the land. And [their mistakes are based on the fact] that they thought that man by giving forms to primary materials does not produce anything, and on the fact that they have not studied within general circulation, the exchanges of industrial products against one another. Manufacturers and industrial workers are no more wage-earners of the proprietors of land than they are wage-earners of one another. Cultivators work for cultivators, manufacturers for manufacturers, cultivators [10] for manufacturers, and manufacturers for cultivators. The proposition of the Economists would have some plausibility if the artisans would generally be paid servants of the landowners, but it cannot be true in the

At the origins of mathematical economics


case that the producers and artisans are free men, and when products and merchandises are exposed to public sale. The Economists thought that tax should only be levied on the price of the leases between the landowners and their farmers, and that the cultivators should be exempt from taxation, because the profits of those cultivators are merely their wages. If the Economists had said that the tax on the products of the land should be levied on the disposable product of the land they would have been right. But the proprietors and the cultivators divide the disposable product of the land according to their agreements. Both the proprietors and the cultivators have to contribute, the former in proportion to their revenue, the latter in proportion to the total product minus the lease and the expenses of agriculture. The Economists are not the only authors who have maintained that taxes eventually fall on the land. Locke advances the same proposition in his [Some] Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and Raising the Value of Money .d,36 De Witt says in his memoirse that navigation, fisheries, trade and manufacturing [11] should never be taxed if there are no extraordinary needs, and after they have passed one should suppress those taxes. M.l’abbé Raynal saysf that the form of taxation which best reconciles the public interest with the rights of the citizens is the tax on land…that taxation can only be d [1692] page 95. e [Mémoires de Jean de Witt, Grand Pensionnaire de Hollande] Edition Ratisbonne, [1709] p. 77. f Histoire Philosophique et politique du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, book XIX, ch.X.

Les économistes ont prétendu que l’impôt retomboit définitivement sur les terres, & que c’étoit le percevoir d’une maniere indirecte que de le percevoir sur les travaux de l’industrie, parce que l’impôt que paye un ouvrier est nécessairement payé par celui qui l’emploie ; ils ont cru qu’il n’y a de richesses réelles que les productions de la terre, que l’industrie ne multiplie pas les richesses, parce qu’elle en conforme autant qu’elle produit. Toutes ces erreurs sont fondées sur ce qu’ils ont regardé les ouvriers travailleurs & chefs d’entreprises comme les salariés des producteurs de la terre ou des propriétaires des terres ; sur ce qu’ils ont pensé que l’homme en donnant des formes aux matieres premieres ne produit point, & sur ce qu’ils n’ont pas considéré dans la circulation générale les échanges des travaux d’industrie les uns contre les autres. Les manufacturiers & les travailleurs d’industrie ne sont pas plus les salariés des propriétaires des terres qu’ils ne sont les salariés les uns des autres. Les cultivateurs travaillent pour les cultivateurs, les industrieux pour les industrieux, les cultivateurs [10] pour les industrieux, & les industrieux pour les cultivateurs. La proposition des économistes auroit quelque vraisemblance si les artisans étoient généralement de serviteurs gagés des propriétaires des terres, mais ne peut être vraie dans le cas où les producteurs & les artisans ont des hommes libres, & où les denrées & les marchandises sont exposées en vente publique. Les économistes ont pensé que l’impôt ne devoit pas être pris sur le prix des baux des propriétaires des terres & de leurs fermiers, & que les cultivateurs doivent être exempts d’imposition, parce que les profits de ces cultivateurs ne sont que les salaires de ces cultivateurs. Si les économistes avoient dit que l’impôt sur les productions de la terre doit

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être perçu sur le produit disponible des biens fonds, ils auroient eu raison ; mais le produit disponible des biens fonds est partagé par les propriétaires & les cultivateurs à raison de leurs conventions. Les propriétaires & les cultivateurs doivent contribuer en raison de leur revenu, les autres en raison du produit total, moins le prix du bail & les dépenses de la culture. Les économistes ne sont pas les seuls auteurs qui aient soutenu que les impôts retombent définitivement sur les terres, Locke a avancé la même proposition dans ses considerations sur les effets de l’abaissement de l’intérêt de l’argent, & sur l’augmentation de la valeur des especes.(d) Dewit dit, dans ses mémoires,(e) que la navigation, la pêche, le commerce & les manufactures [11] ne doivent jamais être taxés, si ce n’est dans des besoins extraordinaires, passé lesquels il faut supprimer les taxes. M.l’abbé Raynal dit(f) que la forme d’imposition la plus propre à concilier les intérêts publics avec les droits de citoyens, c’est la taxe sur la terre…que l’impôt ne (d) pag. 95. (e) Edition de Ratisbonne, p. 77. (f) Histoire Philosophique & politique du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, Liv. XIX. Ch. X.

assessed on an annual revenue, that one never finds a revenue but that of the land, and that only it reproduces each year the advances made to it and in addition a profit that can be disposed of. How can a man of genius be led to maintain that artisans, merchants and manufacturers do not receive a profit above their advances? Having demonstrated in the first volume and in the preceding example that the heads of agricultural and industrial enterprises share in the general mass of disposable wealth, and having pointed out how much manufacturers and merchants and whole nations enrich themselves and are enriched by the shares of the disposable wealth they have appropriated, it is useless to refute any further those maxims which could have been disastrous to an agricultural state, if some legislator or some government would have adopted them. The faults in the imposition of taxes does not only consist in the inequality of distribution, but also in the excessive costs of collection [12] which, by forming classes of agents whose life of luxury seems to embellish the capital, ruin the nation.

SECOND CHAPTER Of taxation in relation with the profits of entrepreneurs, capitalists and servants of every production Several men contribute to the same product, one as the proprietor of the land on which it grows, or of the building that houses the manufacture; another as director of productive works; others by lending the funds necessary to production; others by working with their hands; others by supplying their industry. All those agents share the selling price relative to the values their rights or activities acquire and they have to contribute to taxation in

At the origins of mathematical economics


proportion to their profits. If the contracts or agreements that determine those values are made after the determination of taxation, it can be levied indifferently on either of the parties, because those agreements take the tax into account. The party that pays the tax can be considered as the cashier to whom all the others hand over, through their deals and agreements, their share of taxation. If a tax is established whereby it is determined that it will be charged to the heads of enterprisesa [13] then it does not harm in any way any of the associates of the enterprise who have made their agreements after that ordinance, because the rent, the interest on funds, the price of a day’s labour, the talents and the wages are determined in such a way that a In Germany and in Russia since the reign of Peter I, the lord and the proprietor are guarantors of the tribute of all the slaves and employees in agriculture. In Holland a tax has been placed on the masters which is proportional to the number of domestic servants. This tax has often been proposed in England and in France.

peut être assis que sur un revenu annuel, qu’on ne trouvera jamais de revenu que celui des terres, & qu’il n’y a qu’elles qui restituent chaque année les avances qui leur sont faites, & de plus un bénéfice dont il soit possible de disposer. Comment un homme de génie a-t-il peu être induit à soutenir que les artisans, négocians & manufacturiers ne retirent pas de bénéfice au-delà de leurs avances ? Après avoir démontré dans le premiere partie & dans l’exemple précédent, que les chefs d’entreprise de la culture & de l’industrie ont des part dans la masse générale de richesses disponibles, & après avoir fait observer combien les manufacturiers, les négocians & des nations entieres s’enrichissent & se sont enrichies par ces parties de richesses disponibles qu’ils ont acquises, il est inutile de réfuter davantage des maximes qui auroient pu être funestes dans un état agricole, si quelque législateur ou quelques administrateurs les eussent adoptées. Les vices de la perception des impôts consistent non-seulement dans l’inégalité de la répartition, mais encore dans l’excès des frais de perception, [12] qui, formant des classes de mandataires dont le luxe semble embellir une capitale, ruine la nation. CHAPITRE SECOND De l’impôt dans son rapport avec les profits des entrepreneurs, capitalistes & serviteurs de chaque production Plusieurs hommes contribuent à la même production, l’un comme propriétaire du terrain où elle croît, ou de la maison qui contient la manufacture; l’autre comme directeur des travaux productifs ; d’autres comme prêtant les fonds nécessaires à la production ; d’autres comme travaillant de leurs mains; d’autres comme fournissant leur industrie. Tous ces agens partagent le prix de la vente de la production en raison des valeurs que leurs droits ou actions acquièrent, ils doivent contribuer à l’impôt en raison de leurs profits. Si les contrats ou conventions qui reglent ces valeurs sont postérieurs à l'établissement de l’impôt ; il peut être perçu indifféremment sur un des co-partageans, parce que les conventions sont relatives a l’impôt : ce co-partageant peut être considéré comme le caissier, à ce qui tous les autres remettent, par leurs marches & convention, leurs parts de l’imposition. Si l’on établit un impôt en réglant qu’il sera perçu sur les chefs d’entreprises,(a) [13] il ne nuit en aucune façon à tous les associés de l’entreprise,

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qui font leurs conventions postérieurement a ce statut, parce que les baux, l’intérêt des fonds, le prix des journées, des talents & des salaires, sont réglés de (a) En Allemagne & en Russie depuis le regne de Pierre I, le seigneur & le propriétaire sont garants du tribut de tous les esclaves & les employés de la culture. En Hollande on a mis un impôt sur les maîtres à raison du nombre de domestiques ; on a souvent proposé cette taxe en Angleterre & en France.

each pays his part through the head of the enterprise. However, an increase in tax levied in the same manner can be harmful to the head of the enterprise, if it has not been foreseen in the leases, deals and agreements. From this it follows that the regular tax that has to be paid by wageearners can be charged to the master, that one cannot collect a regular tax from rentiers or from tenants, and that it is indifferent to the landowner whether the tax that has to be charged on the product of his fund is paid by himself or by his farmer. maniere que chacun paye sa part par les mains du chef d’entreprise ; mais une crue d’imposition, perçue de la même maniere, peut être préjudiciable au chef de l’entreprise, si elle n’a pas été prévue dans les baux, marchés & conventions. D’où il suit que l’impôt ordinaire qui doit être payé par les salaries peut être perçu sur le maître, que l’on ne peut pas percevoir d’impôt ordinaire sur les rentiers ou sur les locataires, & qu’il est indifferent pour le proprié-taire des terres que l’impôt ordinaire qui doit être perçu sur le produit de son fonds, soit payé par lui ou par son fermier.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Social catechism Or elementary instructions about social morality, for use by the youth (1784) [16] CHAPTER II Of the mind and its faculties 1. The faculty of sense Man has several faculties in common with the other animals, and he has several faculties that distinguish him in particular. We will look at those faculties one by one. Nowadays it is recognised, and it has been well demonstrated, that the mind only receives its ideas from the senses. Ideas are the internal representations of sensations, or impressions received from the senses. We will not examine the mechanism through which sensations are received in the mind and how they are renewed there in the absence of perceived objects. Everyone knows the difference between representation and sensation. The object is never as perfectly represented, as it is perceived by the senses. The differences between men with regards to the neatness of the representations, or of ideas, doubtless form the basis for differences in perfectibility, [or] in the physical means to perfect the faculties of the mind. This can be seen especially in artists whose natural dispositions are much greater so that objects are better represented internally and rendered better on paper, on canvas, or in marble. The faculty of sensation is common to man, to animals, and even to some [17] plants, but the representative faculty is superior in man, extremely confused in animals, and absolutely zero in plants. It seems to me that one can compare sentient beings to matter that, having undergone various degrees of coction or various degrees of chemical action, has acquired different degrees of purity or perfection. In plants the sentient being is limited to progressive power: their molecules are too much charged with alien and coarse parts to give rise to the development of senses and sensations. Among most animals this faculty has made progress, but the sentient being is not purified enough to produce the representative faculty; animals possess at most the beginnings of representation. Among men this faculty has made most progress; but between men one can still observe differences in the perfectibility of the faculties of the mind.

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Catéchisme social Ou Instructions élémentaires sur la morale sociale, à l’usage de la jeunesse (1784) [16] CHAPITRE II De l’Ame & des ses facultés I. De la faculté de sentir L’homme a plusieurs facultés communes avec les autres animaux, & il a plusieurs facultés qui le distinguent particulièrement: nous observerons ces facultés séparément. Il est actuellement reconnu, & il est bien démontré que l’ame n’a d’idées que par les sens. Les idées sont les representations internes des sensations, c’est-à-dire, des impressions reçues par les sens. Nous n’examinerons pas quel est le méchanisme par lequel les sensations sont reçues dans l’ame, & comment elles y sont renouvelées en l’absence des objets sentis. Tout le monde connoît la difference de cette representation & de la sensation. L’objet n’est jamais aussi parfaitement représenté qu’il est send. Les differences dans la netteté des representations ou des idées, établissent sans doute des differences dans la perfectibilité des hommes, dans les moyens physiques de perfectionner les facultés de l’ame: c’est ce que l’on peut reconnoître plus particulièrement dans les artistes qui ont d’autant plus de dispositions naturelles que les objets mieux represented intérieurement, sont mieux rendus sur le papier, sur la toile ou sur le marbre. La faculté de sentir est commune aux hommes, aux animaux, & même à quelques [17] végétaux; mais la faculté representative est supérieure dans les hommes, est extrêmement confuse dans les animaux & est absolument nulle dans les végétaux. On peut comparer, ce me semble, l’être sensitif aux matières, qui, ayant subi différens degrés de coction ou différens degrés d’action chymique quelconque, ont acquis différens degrés de pureté ou de perfection. Dans les végétaux, l’être sensitif est borné au pouvoir progressif: ses molécules sont trop chargées de parties étrangères & grossières pour produire le développement des sens & les sensations. Dans la plûpart des animaux cette faculté a fait des progrès; mais l’être sensitif n’est pas assez épuré pour produire la faculté representative; à peine les animaux obtiennent-ils quelques commencemens de representation. Dans les hommes cette faculté a fait les plus grands progrès; mais l’on peut observer encore, entre les hommes euxmêmes des differences dans la perfectibilité des facultés de l’ame. II. The instinct, a faculty common to men and animals From the sensitive plant up to man all sentient beings are endowed with instinct, that is, the faculty to act in order to enjoy or avoid impressions that are received. Sentient beings have received from nature the faculty to avoid what is contrary to them and to be attracted to what agrees with them. One can compare this faculty with the one that puts in motion certain materials when they are penetrated by too large a quantity of heat. The movement of the sensitive plant is the simple [18] form of this faculty. We will see further down that the virtue of instinct is often attributed to selflove. Among animals this

At the origins of mathematical economics


faculty is more composite than in the sensitive plant. The nervous system operates on all parts [of the animal body], and he is not similarly limited in his movements to avoid the contrary object: each part has the faculty to be affected by the senses in order to safeguard the general system. Animals act almost solely by virtue of this faculty. It acts in various ways according to the diversity of the mechanism or of the organs it encounters. One cannot attribute to this faculty alone, as we have defined it, the acts of birds making their nests, when they line them with down and other materials that are most suited to enclose and protect their little ones; the acts of animals searching for food for their little ones; the provisioning by ants during the summer for the following winter; the construction of dwelling places by beavers. Those actions cannot be attributed to bodily faculties alone, but also to a kind of foresight, to a sense of future need, which we should be careful not to regard as innate. But one can attribute to the instinct the movements that man and animals make during their sleep, the indignation of dogs for a man who kills another dog, and most of the movements that are executed with more speed than that the will is capable of. [19] Birds, ants, bees and beavers assemble, this is what one calls the bodily faculty of assembling. One cannot deny completely to those and other animals the faculty of representation of what they have perceived, so as to assemble the things that they have seen assembled. And one cannot deny that those animals, like men, bring perfection to the actions that are necessary to future need.1 We do not think, like some philosophers, that if animals had feet, hands and fingers that were formed like those of men, they would arrive at a similar degree of perfectibility.2 We think that animals still have a degree of physical imperfectability in their sentient being. It has elsewhere been recognised that due to the capacity of his brain man has a source of perfectibility that is more extended. The long period of growth of man also contributes to this perfectibility and we know how much the perfection of individuals grows progressively with the general perfection of man. During II. L’instinct, faculté commune aux hommes & aux animaux Depuis la sensitive jusqu’à l’homme tous les êtres sensitifs doués d’instinct, c’est-à-dire, de la faculté d’agir pour jouir des impressions reçues ou pour les fuir. Les êtres sensitifs ont reçu de la nature la faculté de fuir ce qui leur est contraire & d’être attirés par ce qui leur convient. On peut comparer cette faculté à celle qui met en mouvement certaines matières, lorsqu’elles sont pénétrées d’une trop grande quantité de feu. Le mouvement de la sensitive est la representation [18] simple de cette faculté. Nous verrons par la suite qu’on attribue souvent a l’amour de soi la vertu de l’instinct. Dans les animaux cette faculté est plus composée que dans la sensitive; le systême nerveux l’exerce sur toutes ses branches, & il n’est point borné au mouvement dans un même sens pour fuir l’objet contraire: chaque rameau a la faculté d’être mû dans tous les sens pour garantir le systême général. Les animaux agissent presque uniquement en vertu de cette faculté. Son action s’exerce diversement suivant la diversité du mécanisme ou des organes qu’elle rencontre. On ne peut attribuer uniquement a cette faculté, telle que nous l’avons définie, les actions par lesquelles les oiseaux font leur nids, les garnissent de duvet & des matières les plus propres a faire éclore & a conserver leurs petits; par lesquelles les animaux vont chercher la nourriture de leurs petits; par lesquelles les fourmis font pendant l’été les provisions de

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l’hiver suivant; par lesquelles les castors forment leurs habitations. Ces actions doivent être attributes, non-seulement aux facultés organiques, mais encore à une espèce de prévoyance, à un sentiment de besoin futur, que nous nous garderons bien de regarder comme inné. Mais on peut attribuer à l’instinct les mouvemens que l’homme & les animaux exécutent pendant le sommeil, l’indignation des chiens contre un homme qui a disséqué un autre chien, & la plûpart des mouvemens sont exécutés avec plus de vîtesse que la volonté n’en est capable. [19] Les oiseaux, les fourmis, les abeilles, les castors rassemblent ce qu’ils ont la faculté organique de rassembler. On ne peut refuser entièrement à ces animaux, ainsi qu’à beaucoup d’autres; la faculté de se représenter ce qu’ils ont senti, de manière à rassembler les choses qu’ils ont vu rassemblées; & l’on ne peut nier qu’il y ait pour les animaux, ainsi que pour les hommes, un perfectionnement d’actions nécessaires a leur besoin, qui s’est établi successivement. Nous ne pensons pas, ainsi que quelques philosophes, que si animaux avoient des pieds, des mains & des doigts, formés ainsi que ceux des hommes, ils seroient de même parvenus à un degré de perfectibilité semblable; nous pensons que les animaux ont encore dans l’être sensitif un degré physique d’imperfectibilité. On a reconnu d’ailleurs que l’homme a par la capacité de son cerveau une source plus étendue de perfectibilité. La longueur de la croissance de l’homme contribue encore à cette perfectibilité; & l’on sait combien le perfectionnement des individus accroît progressivement le twenty-five years of growth man has bodily faculties that are more suited to the acquisition of ideas than during his decline. How many animals are there whose aptitude to acquire knowledge lasts such a long time? Unlike some authors, we do not limit the instinct of animals to a premonition or a predetermination that is independent from sensations and knowledge. [20] The instinct acts by virtue of a present sensation, or by virtue of a need, a desire or a fear. Need, desire and fear are nothing but recurrences, or representations of agreeable or disagreeable sensations. Need is a disagreeable sensation produced by the interruption of the animal functions, or a representation of the disagreeable sensations produced by past interruptions. Needs can be considered relative to the body and relative to the mind. The mind has needs, just like the body: boredom is a state of need of the mind. The empire of the needs of the mind exists above that of the needs of the body. Man could satisfy the needs that are necessary for survival alone and isolated in a forest.3 The needs that sensations and ideas add to his necessary needs, are much greater in number than those simple needs. Desire and fear are produced by representations of sensations of distant or hidden objects. The instinct does therefore not always act upon present sensations. The senses add desires to need. The pleasures that are attached to the satisfaction of needs often arise from senses that precede and anticipate the voices of needs. III. Other faculties common to men and animals Man’s instinct is not as limited as that of animals, and the instinct of most animals is not as limited as that of some [lower] species and of sensitive plants. We will see a little further down that [21] the instinct grows relative to the passions to which sentient beings are susceptible. Man perfects his instinct through the perfection of his sensory faculties. From his faculty of receiving and representing sensations, man deduces his other

At the origins of mathematical economics


faculties. The action by which sensations are received in the mind is called perception. The faculty through which the mind represents sensation is called memory. The represented sensations are ideas. When ideas are less simple or more composite they are called notions. The action by which the mind excites by itself a representation or combination of sensations is imagination. These primitive faculties of the mind belong to man and animal alike, since we have said that to a certain degree animals have the representative faculty. There are some animals that do not enjoy it; it is present in different degrees in different animals, and there remains a considerable distance between those [animals] in whom it is the least confused and that enjoyed by man. Hereby one can thus determine the limit of the cognition of animals, since cognition is the employment, exercise or use of the different faculties of the mind. perfectionnement général. L’homme a pendant vingt-cinq ans de croissance les facultés organiques beaucoup plus propre a acquérir des idées que dans la décroissance. Combien y a-t-il peu d’animaux dont l’aptitude à acquérir des connoissances dure aussi long-temps ? Nous ne bornons pas l’instinct des animaux à une promotion ou à une prédétermination indépendante des sensations & des connoissances, [20] ainsi que quelques auteurs. L’instinct agit en vertu d’une sensation présente, ou en vertu d’un besoin, ou en vertu d’un désir, ou en vertu d’une crainte. Le besoin, le désir & la crainte ne sont que des renouvellemens, ou des représentations de sensations agréables ou désagréables. Le besoin est ou une sensation désagréable produite par une interruption des fonctions animales, ou une représentasion des sensations désagréables produites par des interruptions passées. Les besoins peuvent être considered relativement au corps & relativement à l’ame. L’ame a des besoins, ainsi que le corps: l’ennui est pour l’ame un état de besoin. L’empire des besoins de l’ame est au-dessus de celui des besoins du corps. L’homme satisfait les besoins nécessaires de sa vie, seul & isolé dans un bois. Les besoins que les sensations & les idées ajoutent à ces besoins nécessaires, sont dans un rapport immense avec ses besoins simples. Le désir & la crainte sont produits par des représentations de sensations d’objets éloignés ou cachés. L’instinct n’agit done pas toujours en vertu des sensations présentes. Les sens ajoutent des désirs au besoin. Les plaisirs qui sont attaches à la satisfaction des besoins naissent souvent des sens qui precedent & préviennent les organes des besoins III. Autres facultés communes aux hommes & aux animaux Cette faculté dont l’homme jouit, ainsi que les animaux, n’est pas aussi bornée dans son espèce que dans celles des animaux, & elle n’est point aussi bornée dans la plûpart des animaux, qu’elle l’est dans quelques espèces & dans la sensitive. Nous verrons bientôt que [21] l’instinct croît en raison des passions dont les êtres sensitifs sont susceptibles. L’homme perfectionne son instinct par la perfection de ses facultés sensitives. De la faculté de recevoir & de se représenter les sensations, l’homme déduit ses autres facultés. L’action par laquelle les sensations sont reçues dans l’ame se nomme perception; la faculté par laquelle l’ame se représente les sensations est la mémoire; les sensations représentées font les idées; lorsque les idées sont moins simples ou plus composées, elles sont appelées notions; l’action par laquelle l’ame excite en elle-même, la representation & la combinaison des sensations est l’imagination. Ces facultés primitives de l’ame appartiennent à l’homme comme animal, puisque nous avons dit que les animaux ont à

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un certain degré la faculté representative. Il y a quelques animaux qui n’en jouissent pas; elle a différens degrés dans les différens animaux, & il y a une distance considérable entre celle qui est la moins confuse dans les animaux, & celle dont jouissent les hommes. On peut done fixer là le terme de la pensée des animaux, puisque la pensée est l’emploi, l’exercice ou l’usage des différentes facultés de l’ame. IV. Faculties that are particular to man The action by which the mind combines several ideas is conception, or comprehension. Conception perfected is intelligence. The mind considered as using its faculties is called understanding or intellect. If we thus observe the different actions of the mind, we will discover successively its [22] different faculties. The faculty that the mind has of concentrating on one or several specific sensations, or on one or several ideas, is attention. Attention directed to study is application. The action by which the mind compares ideas is reflection. This operation of the mind gives birth to a new kind of ideas. Prior to this operation, ideas are the representations of physical objects. When the mind has compared those representations, she deduces from this comparison relations, qualities or quantities, which she considers separate from the subject from which they have been received. Those relations, those qualities or those quantities are abstract ideas, which the mind generally considers as being applicable to any subject; such are the ideas of size, purity and number. Ideas are composite when they are the representation of several ideas, either abstract or real, and when in order to conceive them perfectly it is necessary to decompose them and to represent the composite ideas and the relations between them. Reflection is subdivided into meditation, observation, examination, contemplation, speculation or penetration, depending on whether it is attentive, whether it extends to research, or whether it is occupied with a great number of ideas. The action by which the mind negates or affirms the identity of compared ideas is judgement. The faculty of judging soundly and of properly distinguishing the ideas under consideration is discernment. The faculty of sound judgement is sometimes simply [23] called good sense, or common sense. The exercise of reflection and judgement is reason. One part of the function of reason is to compare the motives of actions, to choose or decide upon the ends and means, or to deliberate and to discover what is true and what is false. Reason often compares two ideas to a third one in order to determine the relation between the first two. This operation of reason is called reasoning. The faculty of deliberation, which is enjoyed by reason, is called freedom. The will is a faculty of the mind by which it decides and by which it chooses or opts ends and means. Therefore, the human will is very different from the instinct. It acts by virtue of several faculties which animals, in general, do not share. The instinct is a kind of action produced by the internal action of sensations, or by the representation of sensations. The will acts by virtue of reflection and judgement, or by reason. The will may be weak, and in that case it is only a vague impulse. It may have a bearing on objects or means that are not present, or that are not within the power of man, and in those cases it should merely be considered a view, a plan, a design or an intention. The manner in which man

At the origins of mathematical economics


IV. Facultés particulières à l’homme L’action par laquelle l’ame réunit plusieurs idées est la conception ou la comprehension. La conception perfectionnée est l’intelligence; l’ame considérée comme usant de ces facultés est appelée entendement ou intellect. Observons ainsi les différentes actions de l’ame, & nous découvrirons successivement ses différentes [22] facultés. La faculté que l’ame a de se fixer particulièrement à une ou à plusieurs sensations, à une ou plusieurs idées est l’attention; l’attention portée à l’étude est l’application. L’action par laquelle l’ame compare les idées est la réflexion. Cette opération de l’ame donne naissance à une nouvelle espèce d’idées. Antérieurement à cette opération, les idées sont les représentations des objets physiques. Lorsque l’ame a comparé ces représentation, elle déduit de cette comparaison des rapports, des qualités ou des quantités qu’elle considère hors du sujet où ils ont été apperçus. Ces rapports, ces qualités ou ces quantités sont des idées abstraites que l’ame considère généralement comme pouvant être appliquées à tout sujet quelconque; telles sont les idées de grandeur, de blancheur & de nombre. Les idées sont composées, lorsqu’elles sont la representation de plusieurs idées, soit abstraites, soit réelles, lorsque pour les concevoir parfaitement, il est nécessaire de les décomposer, de se représenter les idées qui les composent, & leurs rapports entr’elles. La réflexion se subdivise en méditation, observation, examen, contemplation, spéculation ou pénétration, lorsqu’elle est attentive, lorsqu’elle s’étend à des recherches, ou lorsqu’elle s’occupe d’un grand nombre d’idées. L’action par laquelle l’ame nie ou affirme l’identité des idées comparées est le jugement. La faculté de juger sainement & de bien distinguer les idées dont on s’occupe est le discernement; la faculté de juger sainement est quelque fois simplement [23] appelée le bon sens, ou le sens commun. L’exercice de la réflexion & du jugement est la raison. Une partie des fonctions de la raison est de comparer les motifs des actions, de choisir ou opter les buts & les moyens, ou de délibérer & de découvrir le vrai et le faux. La raison compare souvent deux idées à une troisième, pour décider du rapport des deux premières; cette opération de la raison est appelée raisonnement. La faculté de délibérer dont jouit la raison est appelée liberté. La volonté est une faculté de l’ame, par laquelle elle se détermine, & par laquelle elle choisit ou opte les buts & les moyens. La volonté de l’homme diffère done beaucoup de l’instinct. Elle agit en vertu de plusieurs facultés de l’ame que les animaux en général n’ont point en partage. L’instinct est une espèce de reaction produite par l’action interne des sensations, ou par la représentation des sensations; la volonté agit en vertu de la réflexion & du jugement, ou de la raison. La volonté peut être foible, & alors elle n’est qu’une velléité; elle peut avoir lieu sur des objets ou sur des moyens qui ne sont pas présens, ou qui ne sont pas au pouvoir de l’homme, & alors elle ne peut être considérée que comme vue, comme projet, comme dessein, ou comme intention. La manière uses his reason and his will in the course of his actions is his conduct. The faculty enjoyed by man of observing the rules of his actions, and of judging them, forms his conscience. [24] Study is the action by which the mind makes use of most of its faculties to acquire a great number of ideas, to class and order them according to the categories to which they belong in order to judge those ideas and to discover relations between them.

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The sum or a part of the ideas acquired through study is science, which is subdivided into learning, erudition, knowledge, instruction and enlightenment. When the science acquired concerns nothing but facts, it is called experience. The manner of thinking that has produced judgements through study forms opinion. If judgements that are held are presented clearly to the mind, and if there is no contrary judgement bearing on the same object, the opinion constitutes evidence. If the judgement is founded on solid reasoning and on recognised truths, the opinion is a certainty. If man has many reasons to affirm his judgement, but not enough to be decided, his opinion is a probability. If man has many reasons not to have a judgement, his opinion is only a doubt. If his judgement is founded on false reasoning, or on false notions, or on false principles, his opinion is an error. V. Sentiment and passion, faculties of man attributed to the heart Sensations and ideas produce in the faculties of the mind and the body predispositions4 that are called sentiments or passions. The mind receives sensations from exterior objects and passions from the interior mode of being. Sentiments and passions could be [25] regarded as synonyms relative to the mind: passion is a generic expression of which the sentiment is a specific application to the mind; nevertheless, in everyday use passion is regarded as an amplification of sentiment. Since the sentiments and the passions are rather powerful motivating forces of the actions of men, we will investigate their source carefully. They are predispositions; yet they animate man and often anticipate the deliberations of his reason. Not only do sensations and ideas determine the instinct, they also produce in the interior machine either a specific kind of voluptuous pleasure or a specific kind of irritation, or movements that act upon most organs, the signs of which are transmitted to the outside of the body, the reaction of which increases the instinctual force. We will explain this more precisely once we have completed our overview of the faculties of the mind. VI Faculties of the mind The faculties of the mind that are relative to the passions of which we have just spoken are attributed to the heart. When the mind has perfected its dont l’homme fait usage de sa raison & de sa volonté dans la fuite de ses actions, est sa conduite. La faculté dont jouit l’homme d’observer les règles de ses actions, & de les juger, forme sa conscience. [24] L’action par laquelle l’ame fait usage de la plûpart de ses facultés pour acquérir un grand nombre d’idées, pour les classer & les mettre en ordre, suivant le genre auquel elles appartiennent, pour porter des jugemens sur ces idées, & pour découvrir leurs rapports, est l’étude. La somme ou une partie des idées acquises par l’étude, est la science, qui se subdivise en savoir, en érudition, en connoissance, en instruction, en lumières. Lorsque la science acquise ne concerne que des faits, elle est appelée expérience. La manière de penser qu’ont produite les jugemens portés dans l’étude, forme l’opinion. Si les jugemens portés sont présentés clairement à l’ame, & qu’il n’y ait pas de jugement contraire à porter sur le même objet, l’opinion est une évidence. Si le jugement est fondé sur un raisonnement solide & sur des vérités reconnues, l’opinion est une certitude. Si l’homme a beaucoup de raisons pour affermir son jugement, mais n’en a pas

At the origins of mathematical economics


assez pour se décider, son opinion est une probabilité. Si l’homme a beaucoup de raisons pour ne point porter de jugement, son opinion n’est qu’un doute. Si son jugement est fondé sur un faux raisonnement, ou sur de fausses notions, ou sur des principes faux, son opinion est une erreur. V. Sentiment & passion, facultés de l’homme attributes au cœur Les sensations & les idées produisent sur les facultés de l’ame & du corps des manières d’être qui sont appelées sentimens ou passions. L’ame a des sensations par les objets extérieurs, & des passions par la manière d’être intérieure. Les sentimens & les passions pourroient [25] être regardés comme synonimes relativement à l’ame: la passion est une expression générique dont le sentiment est l’application particulière à l’ame; néanmoins, dans l’usage ordinaire, la passion est regardée comme une amplification du sentiment. Les sentimens & les passions sont des mobiles assez puissans des actions des hommes pour que nous en cherchions avec soin la source. Ce sont des manières d’être; cependant ils font agir l’homme & préviennent souvent des deliberations de sa raison. Nonseulement les sensations & les idées déterminent l’instinct, mais encore elles produisent dans la machine intérieure, ou une espèce particulière de volupté ou une espèce particulière d’irritation, ou des mouvemens quelconques qui influent sur la plûpart des organes, dont les signes sont portés jusques vers l’enveloppe extérieure, & dont la reaction accroît la force instinctuelle. C’est ce que nous expliquerons plus particulièrement lorsque nous aurons parcouru le tableau des facultés de l’ame. VI. Facultés de l’esprit Les facultés de l’ame relatives aux passions dont nous venons de parler sont attributes au cœur. Lorsque l’ame a perfectionné ses facultés, elle prend le faculties, it takes the name of spirit, and its faculties are considered faculties of the spirit; nevertheless the perfected mind, or the spirit, has specific faculties. Subtlety and delicacy of judgement are called taste. The force and grandeur of ideas, judgements and discoveries is genius; the abundance of ideas and [26] the activity of the spirit constitutes light, ardour, enthusiasm. The faculty by which the spirit makes useful discoveries in the sciences is invention. If invention is relative to the mechanical arts, it takes the name of industry.

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CHAPTER III Of the principal motives of human actions I. Instinct, sentiments or passions, and reason, the principal motivating forces It is easy to see the great usefulness of our observations about the faculties of the mind. Our aim was to discover in its operations or in its functions what the motives of human actions are. We have dealt with the faculties of the human mind only to reach that goal, and we have restricted ourselves to simple statements and simple definitions, since we do not aim to give a full account of this subject. We have seen that man is moved by his instinct, that the sentiments and the passions increase his instinctual force, and that reason by enlightening the movements of that force, can change its directions to the greater advantage of man. Through the effects of his instinct an animal flees the danger its sees suspended above its head; man, through the effects of his reason, understands that that danger is not imminent. An animal rushes towards the pleasure that presents itself to its senses; man perceives [27] danger where the animal has only seen pleasure. Let us thus stop to consider those motivating forces; let us observe as much as possible their nature, causes, effects and relations. We will start with the sentiments or the passions. II. Of sentiments and passions; their nature, their causes, their effects and their relations with the instinct The ancient divided the moral passions into concupiscible appetites and irascible appetites.5 The concupiscible appetites are the ones by which man desires; the irascible appetites are the ones by which he gets distressed. There are however passions by which man neither desires nor fears; that is why the modern philosophers have decided to expand the list of primitive passions. nom d’esprit, & ses facultés sont considérées alors comme facultés de l’esprit; cependant l’ame perfectionnée, où l’esprit a des facultés qui lui sont particulières. La finesse, la délicatesse dans le jugement prennent le nom de goût. La force, la grandeur des idées, des jugemens & des découvertes, est le génie; l’abondance des idées, & [26] l’activité de l’esprit, forment le feu, la fougue, l’enthousiasme. La faculté par laquelle l’esprit fait des découvertes utiles dans les sciences est l’invention. Si l’invention est relative aux arts mécaniques, elle prend le nom d’industrie. CHAPITRE III Des principaux mobiles des actions humaines I. Instinct, sentimens ou passions, & raison, mobiles principaux

At the origins of mathematical economics


Il est facile d’appercevoir de quelle utilité nous doit être l’observation des facultés de l’ame. Notre but étoit de découvrir dans ses opérations ou dans ses fonctions, quels sont les mobiles des actions de l’homme. Nous n’avons traité des facultés de l’ame que pour parvenir à ce but, & nous nous en sommes tenus à de simples énonciations & à de simples definitions des facultés dont la connoissance complette n’est point de notre sujet. Nous avons vu que l’homme est mû par son instinct, que les sentimens & les passions accroissent la force instinctuelle, & que la raison, en éclairant les mouvemens de cette force, peut en changer les directions pour le plus grand avantage de l’homme. L’animal, par les effets de son instinct, fuit le danger qu’il voit suspendu sur sa tête; l’homme, par les effets de sa raison, apperçoit que ce danger n’est pas le plus imminent. L’animal court au plaisir qui se présente à ces sens; l’homme apperçoit [27] un danger où l’animal n’a vu que du plaisir. Arrêtons-nous done à ces mobiles; observons en le plus qu’il nous sera possible la nature, les causes, les effets, & les rapports. Nous commencerons par les sentimens ou les passions II. Des sentimens & des passions; leur nature, leurs causes, leurs effets & leurs rapports avec l’instinct Les anciens distinguoient les passions morales en appétits concupiscibles, & en appétits irascibles. Les appétits concupiscibles sont ceux dans lesquels l’homme desire; les appétits irascibles sont ceux dans lesquels il se fache. Il y a cependant des passions dans lesquelles l’homme ne désire ni ne craint; c’est ce qui a déterminé les philosophes modernes à étendre l’énumération des passions primitives. III. Eight primitive passions One can put in the first class of passions admiration, love, desire and joy; and in the second opposite class, loathing, hatred, fear and sadness:a the other passions are analogous to these, or derive from the combination of some of those primitive passions. Among the passions there are ones that are indifferent to the morality of human actions; we will contend ourselves with only listing those in our moral table.6 We will deal with the others one by one following the order that we have adopted to analyse those actions. IV. Effects of the passions on the animal economy The passions exercise physical effects on the bodily faculties, everybody [28] can observe their signs on the faces of people. They influence the activity of the circulation of fluids, and sometimes they halt or suspend this circulation. In sadness and distress the circulation is hampered, and reciprocally, when through the effect of some illness the circulation is hindered, a state of sadness is the result. In joy on the other hand, it seems that the circulation is quicker, and the signs of this acceleration are expressed by the complexion or by the eyes. Even the muscles show these effects and either make the face drop or smile. Joy and distress do not only act on the face; joy, relative to its increase, produces on the diaphragm, or the membrane that separates the chest from the lower region, those convulsions, which everybody knows by the name of bursts of laughter. In distress a sharp affection of this membrane produces hiccoughs and sobs. The fluid

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decomposes and produces tears, which normally accompany sharp convulsions of the facial muscles. Joy and sadness do not produce those effects in a regular manner: impressions that are too strong or too sharp change signs of joy into signs of sadness, and reciprocally distress that is too sharp sometimes alters the nervous system so that great bursts of laughter express its affection. Sometimes tears are the signs and expression of great joy. [29] Most animals are susceptible to affections of pain and joy; but none show such clear exterior signs of them as does man. The sensory fluid of man is the most suited to undergo the variations that produce laughing and crying; the sensory fluid of women even outdoes that of men in that respect. It follows that one cannot fail to recognise that there are differences between the nervous fluids of men and of animals from which man derives his superiority in his potential for perfectibility. Thus crying and laughing have a kind of analogy with the faculty of thought, and sensibility expressed in a In his treatise on the passions Descartes only lists six primitive passions: admiration, love, hatred, desire, joy, and sadness. [This is a reference to René Descartes (1596–1650) Traité des Passions de l’Âme, first published 1694, also know as Les passions de l’âme. The discussion of the six primitive passions is in the second part of the work.]

III. Huit passions primitives On peut ranger dans une première classe des passions l’admiration, l’amour, le désir & la joie; & dans une seconde classe opposée, l’horreur, la haine, la crainte & la tristesse :(a) les autres passions sont analogues à celles-ci, ou dérivent de la combinaison de quelques unes de ces passions primitives. Entre les passions, il y en a qui sont indifférentes à la moralité des actions humaines; nous nous contenterons de les indiquer dans le tableau moral; nous traiterons particulièrement des autres dans l’ordre que nous avons adopté pour analyser ces actions. IV. Effets des passions sur l’économic animate Les passions produisent sur les facultés corporelles des effets physiques, dont tout le [28] monde peut observer les signes sur les physionomies des hommes. Elles influent sur l’activité de la circulation des fluides, & quelquefois elles arrêtent ou suspendent cette circulation. Dans la tristesse & dans la douleur la circulation est gênée, & réciproquement lorsque par l’effet de quelque maladie la circulation est embarrassée, il en résulte un état de tristesse. Dans la joie, au contraire, il semble que la circulation est plus vive, & les signes de cette accélération sont exprimés sur le teint ou dans les yeux. Les muscles même se ressentent de ces effets, & produisent, ou les physionomies allongées ou le sourire. La joie & la douleur n’agissent pas seulement sur la physionomie; la joie, à mesure qu’elle s’accroît, produit sur le diaphragme, ou sur la membrane qui sépare la poitrine de la région inférieure, ces espèces de convulsions que tout le monde connoît sous le nom d’éclats de rire. Dans la douleur, une vive émotion de cette membrane, produit les hoquets, les sanglots; le fluide se décompose & produit ces larmes qui accompagnent ordinairement de vives convulsions des muscles de la physionomie. La joie & la tristesse ne produisent pas ces effets régulièrement: des impressions trop fortes ou trop vives changent les signes de joie en signes de tristesse, & réciproquement des douleurs trop vives altèrent quelques fois tellement le systême nerveux que de grands

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éclats de rire en expriment les affections; quelques fois les larmes sont les signes & l’expression d’une grande joie. [29] La plûpart des animaux sont susceptibles des affections de douleur & de joie; mais aucun n’en exprime aussi sensiblement les signes à l’extérieur que l’homme. Le fluide sensitif de l’homme est le plus propre à subir ces variations qui produisent le rire & les pleurs, & le fluide sensitif des femmes l’emporte encore à cet égard sur celui des hommes; d’où il résulte qu’on ne peut s’empêcher de reconnoître qu’il y a dans les fluides nerveux des hommes & des animaux des differences d’où l’homme déduit sa supériorité de puissance pour la perfectibilité. Les pleurs & le rire ont done pour (a) Descartes dans son traité des passions ne compte que six passions primitives : l’admiration, l’amour, la haine, le désir, la joie & la tristesse.

childhood through those exterior signs may perhaps be a thermometer by which one can recognise at an early stage what level of perfection the spirit could achieve if it is sufficiently cultivated. Admiration, love, desire, loathing, hatred and fear also produce effects on the animal economy that are often easy to recognise from the outside. Such effects are exclamations, gestures of surprise, the sparkle and fire that shine in eyes full of fervour, the gentle blush that colours a face from a mixed sentiment of pleasure, desire and embarrassment; shivers, trembling, gestures of indignation; dizziness, stupor and absolute loss of forces and pallor. It is the same for the passions that derive from these primitive passions; it is certain that those [30] passions have a considerable influence on the interior mechanism, and that this influence is not only recognised through the effects that every man can feel inside himself, but also through exterior signs that everybody could only vouch for by imagining a sentiment in place of one’s own proper feelings. V. Effects of the passions on the instinct The effects of those passions produce a reaction on the instinct, which drives man to action before he exercises his will, or to act, as it is commonly said, on a first impulse. It is because of this that man often acts against the end that his will would have proposed, if it could have informed his actions promptly enough. It is because of this that man often avoids danger through some movement, prior to a decision of the will. And it is because of this that the exercise of the animal faculties is often confused. VI. Of impressions Most sentiments and passions are produced physically and independent from reflection. The sentimental or passionate state does not only exist through the effects of present sensations or ideas, but persists through impressions received in the absence of those sensations and ideas. When man is in a certain state of love and sensibility the sight of a suffering being rouses his mind, and he is moved to relieve him or her before searching for motives of action. It is the same with anger, which [31] arises in man when he is in a certain state of hatred and fear. A man who gives himself over to some passion still feels its effects even after they seem to be extinguished by the absence of the sensations and

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ideas that have produced them. When sensations and ideas have acted forcefully on the mind, they produce predispositions that are called impressions. Strong impressions, those which are acquired through a frequent renewal of the same sensations and the same ideas, in particular those of childhood, even when they are not remembered, espèce d’analogie avec la faculté de penser, & la sensibilité exprimée dans l’enfance par ces signes extérieurs, seroit peut-être un thermomètre, où l’on pourroit reconnoître de bonne heure jusqu’à quel point l’esprit pourra se perfectionner, s’il est suffisamment cultivé. L’admiration, l’amour, le désir, l’horreur, la haine & la crainte produisent encore sur l’économie animale des effets qu’il est souvent aisé de reconnoître au dehors, tels que les exclamations, les mouvemens de surprise, l’éclat & le feu dont brillent des yeux pleins d’ardeur, le doux coloris dont se teint rapidement une physionomie par un sentiment mêlé de plaisir, de désir & d’embarras; le frémissement, le tremblement, les mouvemens d’indignation; l’étourdissement, la stupeur, la perte absolue des forces & la pâleur. Il en est de même des passions qui dérivent de ces passions primitives; il est certaine que ces [30] passions ont une influence considerable sur le mécanisme intérieur, & que cette influence est reconnue non-seulement par les effets que chaque homme peut ressentir en lui-même, mais encore par les signes extérieurs dont chacune ne pourroit se garantir qu’en substituant un sentiment factice au sentiment dont il est réellement pénétré. V. Effets des passions sur l’instinct C’est par ces effets des passions qu’il se produit une reaction sur l’instinct & que l’homme est entraîné antérieurement à l’exercice de sa volonté, ou agit par ce que l’on appelle communément un premier mouvement. C’est par ces effets que l’homme produit souvent des actions qui sont réellement contraires au but que se seroit propose sa volonté, si elle eût été assez promptement avertie. C’est par ces effets que l’homme évite souvent un danger par un mouvement antérieur à la determination de la volonté. C’est par ces effets que l’exercice des facultés animales est souvent troublé. VI. Des impressions La plûpart des sentimens & des passions sont produits physiquement & indépendamment de la réflexion: l’état de sentiment ou de passion existe non-seulement par les effets des sensations & des idées présentes, mais il subsiste encore par les impressions reçues en l’absence de ces sensations & de ces idées. Lorsque l’homme est dans un certain état d’amour & de sensibilité, son ame est émue à la vue d’un être qui pâtit, & il sera porté à le soulager avant de chercher des motifs de le faire. Il en est de même de la colère qui [31] survient à un homme lorsqu’il est dans un certain état de haine & de crainte. L’homme qui s’est livré a quelque passion en ressent encore les effets, lorsqu’elles semblent éteintes par l’absence des sensations & des idées qui les ont produites. Lorsque les sensations & les idées ont agi avec force sur l’ame, elles y produisent les manières d’être que l’on nomme impressions. Les fortes impressions, celles qui sont acquises par un renouvellement fréZquent des mêmes sensations & des mêmes idées, celles sur-tout are often motivating causes for man, by which he acts before his will, without understanding. Imagination often adds to true impressions; it assembles various true impressions, and forms them into false pictures.

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There are passions whose effect is prompt, and passions whose effects do not manifest instantaneously, either because they are held back or counterbalanced by some other passion, or because the organs do not fully have the required disposition to produce them: it is these predispositions that are distinguished by the name of impressions. VII. Of habit There is for man yet another predisposition produced through the repetition of sensations, ideas and actions. This is habit. It seems to me that it is not difficult to understand the effects of habit by recalling the definitions we gave of instinct, from its most simple state up to [32] its most composite state. In a primitive form the instinct is nothing but the movement of a sentient being which refuses or flees what is contrary to it, and which tends to draw closer to or to enjoy what is analogous to it. Hence it is not difficult to conceive that the repetition of those movements makes the molecules of the fluid that is exercised more supple, by diminishing friction, by augmenting fluidity, or by removing the molecules that may hinder action. Through the effects of habit, the instinct thus increases its power to influence the actions of men and animals without the participation of the will. The repetition of exercises, the repetition of movements of the limbs and the repetition of an infinite number of operations of the body and the mind establishes in the animal faculties an aptitude to produce the same movements with more facility and prior to any deliberation. It is due to the effects of habit that the fingers of a musician often execute very difficult movements without the requirement of direction by the will; that a person often follows a route without making a mistake and goes to his goal through the streets of a large town, even though he is preoccupied by meditations or speculations. It is also through the effects of habit that one eats and drinks without thinking about it. But if the instinct has such superiority over the will through the effects of habit, we also observe that the will regains its empire through the very same effects. It is by means [33] of habits contracted by the will that she counteracts the dangerous effects of the instinct and as a result of the effects of reflection man acquires an instinct that is different from the one received from nature. The effects of habit are not limited to the influence they have on the instinct; they also act on the faculties of the mind and on the passions. By contracting the habit of letting sensations and ideas slip away, or retaining them in order to compare them, man either stupefies or perfects the faculties de l’enfance, lors même qu’elles ne sont point présentes à la mémoire, sont souvent pour l’homme des causes motrices par lesquelles il agit antérieurement à la volonté sans les appercevoir. L’imagination supplée souvent aux impressions vraies; elle rassemble diverses impressions vraies, & elle en forme des tableaux faux. Il y a des passions dont l’effet est subit, & des passions dont l’effet ne se déclare pas instantanément, soit qu’il soit retenu & contrebalancé par l’effet de quelqu’autre passion, soit que les organes ne soient pas complettement dans la disposition nécessaire à le produire: ce sont ces manières d’être que l’on distingue par le nom d’impressions. VII. De l’habitude Il est encore pour l’homme une manière d’être qui est produite par la répétition des sensations, des idées & des actions; c’est l’habitude. Il n’est pas, ce me semble, difficile

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de concevoir les effets de l’habitude en se rappelant les definitions que nous avons données de l’instinct, depuis son état le plus simple jusqu’à [32] son état le plus compose. L’instinct n’étant primitivement que le mouvement de l’être sensitif qui refuse ce qui lui est contraire, ou s’en éloigne, & qui tend à se rapprocher ou àZ jouir ouàa user de ce qui lui est analogue; il n’est pas difficile de concevoir que la répétition de ces mouvemens rend les molécules du fluide qui les exerce plus souples, en diminue le frottement, en augmente la fluidité, ou en débarrasse les molécules qui pourroient nuire à son action. L’instinct, par les effets de l’habitude, accroît done ses forces pour influer sur les actions des hommes & des animaux sans la participation de la volonté. La répétition des exercices, la répétition des mouvemens des membres, & la répétition d’une infinité d’opérations du corps & de l’esprit établissent dans les facultés animales une aptitude à produire les mêmes mouvemens avec plus de facilité & antérieurement à toute délibération. C’est par les effets de cette habitude que les doigts d’un musicien exécutent souvent de grandes difficultés sans que ces mouvemens soient dirigés par la volonté; que l’homme fait souvent une route sans se tromper, & va à son but dans les rues d’une grande ville, quoiqu’il soit occupé de méditations ou de spéculations; c’est par les effets de cette habitude que l’on mange & que l’on boit sans y penser. Mais si l’instinct a une telle supériorité sur la volonté par les effets de l’habitude, nous verrons aussi que la volonté reprend son empire par les mêmes effets, & que c’est par le moyen [33] des habitudes que la volonté contracte, qu’elle s’oppose aux effets dangereux de l’instinct, & qu’il résulte des effets de la réflexion, que l’homme acquiert un instinct différent de celui qu’il a reçu de la nature. Les effets de l’habitude ne se bornent pas à son influence sur l’instinct, elle agit encore sur les facultés de l’ame & sur les passions. L’homme en contractant l’habitude de laisser échapper les sensations & les idées, ou de les retenir pour les comparer, s’abrutit ou perfectionne les facultés de son of his mind. By contracting the habit of sensations or ideas that are capable of maintaining his desires or his fears, man submits himself more and more to the empire of his passions: habit increases his passions and needs. When we said that habit or the repetition of movements and actions increases the active force, we meant this only insofar it acts on fluid or solid organs without decomposing them. Because, as is known, in this world everything is to a greater or smaller degree subject to disintegration, and habit, after having relieved the useful molecules of the molecules that are contrary to the action, often reinforces the disintegrating activity of the useful molecules, and ends up diminishing the active force. We will elaborate more on the effects of habit, when we will deal with the advantages that man can draw from it for his conduct.7 […] [37] XI. Sources of freedom The instinct is the first or primitive motivating force of men. The sentiments and the passions or affections, and the impressions produced within the human mechanism by sensations and ideas increase the instinctual force. Habit or the repetition of sensations, ideas and passions increases the force of passions, and the passions are more active following the nature of the temperaments. Up to now we have considered man as being

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dominated by compelling forces, and as being subjected, like the animals, to physical powers upon which all his actions depend. Let us now discover among the faculties that distinguish him the sources from which he draws his freedom. We will deduce from these faculties reasons that make his actions meritorious and accountable, and in this manner we will establish the fundamental principles of the morality of human actions. XII. Of reason and of the “will It is principally through culture and through the [38] perfection of his reason that man differs from other animals. It is through the exercise of this faculty that he can become the master of his actions and oppose the effects of the instinct and the passions, or the impulses of his organs. Through reflection he establishes within himself a means of resisting the passions. When he is excited by violent desires, the imagination brings about new ideas that stimulate the right passions to counterbalance those desires. Through judgement he decides which actions are harmful and which actions are useful. It results from the capacity of bringing together several ideas, of comparing them and from exercising the faculties of which we have spoken that man, unlike animals, is not necessarily driven by present ideas and sensations, or by the passions that are stimulated by present ideas and sensations. It is esprit. L’homme en contractant l’habitude des sensations ou des idées qui peuvent entretenir ses désirs ou ses craintes, se soumet de plus en plus à l’empire des ses passions: l’habitude accroît les passions & les besoins. Lorsque nous avons dit que l’habitude ou la répétition des mouvemens & des actions accroît la force active, ce n’est qu’en tant qu’elle agit sur les organes fluides ou solides sans les décomposer: car l’on sait que tout est sujet dans ce monde à une dissipation plus ou moins sensible; & l’usage ou l’habitude, après avoir débarrassé les molecules utiles des molecules contraires à l’action, ajoute souvent à l’activité de la dissipation des molécules utiles, & finit par diminuer la force active. Nous nous étendrons davantage sur les effets de l’habitude, lorsque nous observerons les avantages que l’homme peut tirer pour sa conduite. […] [37] XI Sources de la liberté L’instinct est le premier mobile ou le mobile primitif des hommes. Les sentimens & les passions ou les révolutions, & les impressions produites dans le mécanisme des hommes pas les sensations & les idées accroissent la force instinctuelle. L’habitude ou la repetition des sensations, des idées & des passions augmente la force des passions, & les passions ont plus ou moins d’activité suivant la nature des tempérammens. Jusqu’ici l’homme est dominé par des forces majeures, & il est soumis, ainsi que les animaux, à des puissances physiques dont dependent toutes ses actions. Découvrons actuellement dans l’exercice des facultés qui le distinguent, les sources d’où il tire sa liberté; nous en déduirons des raisons de rendre ses actions méritoires & imputables, & nous aurons établi par-là les principes fondamentaux de la moralité des actions humaines.

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XII. De la raison & de la volonté C’est principalement par la culture & par la [38] perfection de sa raison que l’homme diffère des autres animaux: c’est par l’exercice de cette faculté qu’il peut se rendre maître de ses actions & s’opposer aux effets de l’instinct & des passions, ou aux impulsions de ses organes. Par la réflexion, il établit en lui un combat des passions. Lorsqu’il est agité par de violens désirs, l’imagination lui ramène de nouvelles idées qui excitent des passions propres à contrebalancer ces désirs. Par le jugement, il decide quelles seront les actions nuisibles, quelles seront les actions utiles. Il résulte du pouvoir de réunir plusieurs idées, de les comparer & d’exercer les fonctions dont nous avons parlé, que l’homme n’est pas entraîné nécessairement, ainsi que les autres animaux, par l’idée & la sensation présentes, ou par la passion excitée par l’idée & la sensation présentes. C’est that capacity which is the source of the freedom of men: it is through this that he deliberates and that he wills. XIII. Of the freedom of man Several philosophers and several writers have thought that man is not free, that all his acts are the effect of a mechanical instruction, or that they are fatalistic, or that they are the effects of changes that occur in the blood through physical causes. Those authors recognise in man nothing but the virtues of machines.8 Most of those authors have maintained that man is necessarily determined by his interest. From the fact that man never decides without a motive and without interest, they have concluded that he would not be free. But freedom does not consist in the capacity to decide without [39] a motive. It is a very perverted system that has the moral education of man in view, but that denies him the pleasure of choice, by denying him freedom: there is no satisfaction for a virtuous heart in it but that of being compelled to good by an irresistible fate, or by a chain of events over which he does not have any influence. Not only is that system defective, but it contradicts the interior feeling of every person that he is free. In some cases man is subjected to impulses that dominate and enslave him, in other cases he is free. The freedom of man consists in the power to deliberate and to choose.9 If he has within him a power that chooses and decides, then he is free. Well, man has this power. When man deliberates it is because he has several motives or several interests that could determine him to act or not to act. The power that he has to choose between those motives or interests constitutes his freedom. Through the exercise of this faculty man resists the most pressing motives, for example those which act directly on the senses and which produce the liveliest impressions on the mind. Through deliberation he masters the physical impulses to which he is exposed and subjected. When man wavers between two motives, one is the present interest and the other a distant interest. The physical impulse of a present and tangible interest would have more power over the actual movements of the will, if reason had not been formed to react against this impulse and to [40] ward it off. That power of reason over the strong impulses of actual passions is the source of man’s freedom.

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The power of deliberation, which elevates man above beasts, is obtained as soon as he has the power to compare his ideas and to judge. Man derives the faculty of deliberation principally from the faculty of foresight and representation of sensations with the aim of comparing them to present sensations. It seems to follow from the systems of some moralists that the will is nothing but an involuntary impulse. The will acts by either listening to or rejecting the counsels of reason; deliberation and will consist in that. If man were not free the motivating forces of human actions would therefore be an ce pouvoir qui est la source de la liberté de l’homme: c’est par lui qu’il délibère & qu’il veut. XIII. De la liberté de l’homme Plusieurs philosophes & plusieurs écrivains ont pensé que l’homme n’est pas libre, qu’il n’agit que par l’effet d’une education machinale, ou par fatalisme, ou par l’effet des changemens qui surviennent dans le sang par des causes physiques. Ces auteurs ne reconnoissent dans l’homme que des vertus de machines. La plûpart de ces auteurs ont soutenu que l’homme est nécessairement determine par son intérêt. De ce que l’homme ne se détermine pas sans motif & sans son intérêt, on en a conclu qu’il n’étoit pas libre: mais la liberté ne consiste pas dans le pouvoir de se déterminer sans [39] motif. Le systême, qui en formant l’homme a la vertu, lui ôte le plaisir de se déterminer, en lui ôtant la liberté, est très-vicieux: il n’est résulteroit pour un cœur vertueux d’autre satisfaction que celle d’être entraîné au bien par une fatalité irresistible, ou par une suite d’évenemens auquels il n’est pas maître d’apporter aucun changement: non-seulement ce systême est défectueux, mais il est contraire au sentiment interne que chacun éprouve de sa liberté. Dans certains cas l’homme est soumis à des impulsions qui le dominent & l’asservissent; dans d’autres il est libre. La liberté de l’homme consiste dans la puissance de délibérer & de choisir: s’il a en lui une puissance qui choisit & qui le determine, il est libre: or l’homme a cette puissance. Lorsque l’homme délibère, c’est par ce qu’il y a plusieurs motifs ou plusieurs intérêts qui peuvent le déterminer, ou le retenir: la puissance qu’il a de choisir entre ces motifs ou ces intérêts, constitue sa liberté. L’homme par l’exercice de cette faculté résiste aux motifs les plus pressans: ceux, par exemple, qui agissant directement sur les sens produisent l’impression la plus vive sur l’ame; il se rend maître, par la déliberation, des impulsions physiques auxquelles il est expose & sujet. Lorsque l’homme flotte entre deux motifs, l’un est l’intérêt present, l’autre est l’intérêt éloigné. L’impulsion physique de l’intérêt present & sensible, auroit plus d’énergie sur les mouvemens actuels de la volonté, si la raison n’étoit pas formée à réagir contre cette impulsion & à [40] la repousser. Ce pouvoir de la raison sur les impulsions puissantes des passions actuelles, est la source de sa liberté. Le pouvoir de délibérer qui élève l’homme au-dessus des bêtes s’acquiert dès que l’homme a le pouvoir de comparer ses idées & de juger: c’est principalement de la faculté de prévoir & de se représenter les sensations pour les comparer aux sensations présentes, que l’homme déduit la faculté de délibérer. Il sembleroit résulter du systême de quelques moralistes que la volonté n’est qu’une impulsion involontaire; la volonté agit, soit pour écouter, soit pour rejetter les conseils de

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la raison; c’est en cela que consistent la délibération & la volonté. Si l’homme n’étoit pas libre, le mobile des actions des involuntary power. One would therefore have to banish the words Will and voluntary from one’s language. A modern author states:b ‘We are happy or unhappy, reasonable or unreasonable, without our will having any influence on those different states’. He should therefore not say our will. The same author says: ‘The will is a modification in the brain by which it is disposed to action, or ready to bring into play the organs that it can move’. Those two statements are contradictory: in the former the will does not have any part in our actions, in the other the will acts, or disposes the brain to action. [41] For the rest, this dispute about freedom is rather chimerical, since all authors admit that man has the faculty to choose between rules of conduct. That proposition suffices for morality. It is admitted that man is susceptible to the will, that is, a state of mind by which he is disposed to action. It is also admitted that there are different impulses that can influence this state of mind in alternative ways: this is nothing other than deliberation. It is admitted that one of those impulses must prevail over the others: that is what is called decision. XIV. Comparison of the effects of the sentiments and reason Not only is man not driven by an irresistible impulse when choosing between different interests, he is also often led by sentiments whose action precede the investigation of interests. Thus by supposing that man would only decide by virtue of his interest, one could not conclude that he is dominated by motives of interest. It can therefore not be affirmed that man is always moved by his interest. Recognising sentiment and reason as two different motives of action one can consider morality from two points of view. One can consider it as an art and as a science: from the first point of view it acts on the sentiments, from the second point of view it acts on reason. This establishes a great difference between persuasion and conviction: one is the effect of art, the other of science. XV. Comparison of the instinct and the will We are now in a position to recognise two different kinds of motives, [42] involuntary motives and the will. Although we have established a difference between the instinct and the will, it seems that we can also observe strong analogies between those two motives, and even that one can reduce them to one [phenomenon]. There is one motivating force that moves immediately b S.D.L.N. [Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723–89), System de la Nature, first published 1770. The quotations are from volume I, ch. 11, p. 214 and ch. 8, p. 144 respectively.]

hommes seroit done une puissance involontaire; il faudroit done bannir de la langue les mots Volonté, volontaire. « Nous sommes heureux ou malheureux, raisonnables ou déraisonnables, sans que notre volonté entre pour rien dans ces différens états ». C’est ainsi que s’exprime un auteur moderne.(b) Il ne falloit done pas dire notre volonté. Le même auteur dit: « La volonté est une modification dans le cerveau par laquelle il est

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dispose à l’action, ou prepare à mettre en jeu les organes qu’il peut mouvoir ». Ces deux phrases sont contradictoires : ici la volonté n’entre pour rien dans nos actions; là la volonté agit ou dispose le cerveau à l’action. [41] Au reste, cette dispute sur la liberté est assez chimérique, car tous les auteurs conviennent que l’homme a de la faculté de choisir entre des règles de conduite. Cette proposition suffit à la morale. On convient que l’homme est susceptible de volonté, c’està-dire, d’un état de l’ame, par lequel il est dispose à agir; on convient qu’il y a différentes impulsions qui peuvent changer alternativement cet état de l’ame : ce n’est autre chose que de délibérer. On convient qu’une de ces impulsions doit l’emporter sur les autres : c’est ce que l’on appelle la determination. XIV. Comparaison des effets, des sentimens & de la raison Non-seulement l’homme en choisissant entre différens intérêts n’est pas emporté par une impulsion irresistible ; mais encore il est souvent entraîné par des sentimens dont l’action est antérieure a la recherche des intérêts : ainsi en supposant que l’homme ne se décidât qu’en vertu de son intérêt, on n’en pourroit pas conclure qu’il est dominé par les motifs de son intérêt. On ne peut done affirmer que l’homme est toujours mû par son intérêt. En reconnoissant le sentiment & la raison comme deux mobiles différens des actions, on peut considérer la morale sous deux points de vue ; on peut la considérer comme art & comme science ; sous le premier, elle agit sur les sentimens ; sous le second, elle agit sur la raison. C’est ce qui établi une grande difference entre la persuasion & la conviction : l’une est l’effet de l’art, l’autre de la science. XV. Comparaison de l’instinct & de la volonté Nous sommes en état de reconnoître actuellement deux espèces de mobiles différens, les [42] mobiles involontaires & la volonté. Quoique nous ayons établi une difference entre l’instinct & la volonté, il paroît que nous pouvons considérer aussi les plus grandes analogies entres ces deux mobiles, & même que l’on peut les réduire a un seul mobile qui mis immédiatement en (b) S.D.L.N.

in response to sensations, ideas and passions, and which has the title of instinct, and one that moves in response to reason or the comparison of sensations and ideas, and which has the title of will.10 The instinct and the will have the same effect on the muscles, and often the orders given by the will are only executed by virtue of the instinct. In almost all cases the will of man only has to give the first order, and it seems that it has below it subordinate wills which, by obeying that general order, execute all its details, without informing it and without waiting for particular orders. This execution is even swifter than the exercise of reflection, which directs the principal will.11 These subordinate wills have a great analogy with the instinct, or with the will of the animal, which once launched, acts and produces various effects, because it has acted similarly before and produced similar effects, and because the organs are mechanically disposed to produce them. Once the hand has been put in motion to write, or the fingers to touch the strings of an instrument, the will is not aware of all the letters the hand writes one after another, [43] or of all the notes or tones

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appearing from the instrument. When a man reads while meditating another subject, he may skim through several pages and may even turn over the page without taking anything in. The more one reflects on the exercise of the will of man, the more one is obliged to recognise that from his earliest youth his will is subjected to superior forces, and that the exercise of the will alone gives man control over himself. It is doubtless because one has been vividly struck by the multitude of those superior forces that one has concluded that man is not free. But one cannot deny him this faculty once one supposes that he is capable of reflection and judgement. One is similarly wrong to think that man is always moved by his interest. It has been supposed that a reasonable man deliberates in all his actions and that he would always be determined by his apparent interest. It is partly to defeat those two erroneous opinions that we have investigated what the motivating forces of human actions are. We will not confine ourselves to the analysis and arguments that we have already presented with respect to those two questions. We will support our opinion with more convincing arguments. We will prove bit by bit that man masters his physical impulses by deliberating over the interested motives that are present and tangible and over interested motives that are remote. We will [44] also prove that man is often led by the impulses of his sentiments and his passions, before making use of reflection and his faculty of deliberation. mouvement par les sensations, les idées ou les passions, prend le titre d’instinct, & qui mis en mouvement par la raison, ou par la comparaison des sensations & des idées, prend le titre de volonté. L’instinct & la volonté ont la même action sur les muscles, & souvent des ordres donnés par la volonté ne sont exécutés qu’en vertu de l’instinct. La volonté de l’homme n’a presque toujours qu’un premier ordre à donner, & il semble qu’elle ait sous elle des volontés subalternes, qui, en obéissant a cet ordre général, en exécutent tous les details, sans lui en donner connoissance & sans attendre des ordres particuliers ; cette exécution est même beaucoup plus vive que l’exercice de la réflexion qui dirige la volonté principale. Ces volontés subalternes ont la plus grande analogic avec l’instinct, ou avec les volontés de l’animal, qui étant une fois lancées agissent & produisent divers effets, parce qu’elles ont déjà agi semblablement & produit de semblables effets, & parce que les organes sont disposes mécaniquement de manière à les produire. La main étant lancée à écrire, les doigts étant lancés a toucher les cordes d’un instrument, la volonté n’est point avertie de toutes les lettres que la main trace successivement [43], de toutes les notes ou de tous le tons qui sont rendus par l’instrument. Lorsque l’homme lit en méditant sur un autre sujet, il parcourt plusieurs pages & retourne même le feuillet sans s’en appercevoir. Plus on réfléchit sur l’exercice de la volonté de l’homme, plus on est oblige de reconnoître que depuis sa plus tendre enfance, sa volonté est soumise à des forces supérieures, & que l’exercice seul de la raison rend l’homme à lui-même. C’est sans doute parce que l’on a etc vivement frappé de la multitude de ces forces supérieures que l’on s’est decide a penser que l’homme n’est point libre ; mais on ne peut lui refuser cette faculté, dès qu’on le suppose capable de réflexion & de jugement. On a même donné dans l’erreur lorsqu’on a pensé que l’homme est toujours mû par son intérêt; on a suppose que l’homme raisonnable délibéroit dans toutes ses actions, & qu’il étoit toujours determine par l’intérêt apparent. C’est en partie pour désabuser de ces deux opinions erronnées que nous avons recherché quels sont les mobiles des actions des hommes. Nous

At the origins of mathematical economics


ne nous en tiendrons pas à l’analyse & aux raisonnemens que nous avons déjà exposes sur ces deux questions ; nous ferons ensorte de fonder encore notre opinion sur les raisonnemens les plus propres a convaincre ; nous ferons ensorte de prouver de plus en plus que l’homme se rend maître des impulsions physiques en délibérant sur les motifs d’intérêt present & sensible, & sur les motifs d’intérêt éloigné ; nous ferons ensorte [44] de prouver aussi que l’homme est entraîné souvent par les impulsions de ses sentimens & de ses passions, avant de faire usage de sa réflexion & de sa faculté de délibérer.

CHAPTER IV Of the morality of human actions; of moral obligation and the duties of man placed in society Man acts naturally by virtue of his instinct and his passions; but not only does thought awake passions in him that are suited to counterbalancing the effect of first impulses, it also brings to bear on the passions judgements suited to halting the effects: let us therefore use those faculties to direct the thoughts, judgements and actions of men. I. Of the attention necessary to grasp the totality of the demonstrations of this chapter The present chapter is the principal and most interesting one of our work: the preceding ones were mere preparations for this chapter and the following ones are mere developments. It can only truly have value through the order that prevails in it; the abundance of material renders this order more difficult. If on the one hand our care must be proportioned to these difficulties, the attention of the reader should increase by the same degree. We beg the reader to note with all the attention he can muster the way by which we will lead him from the most simple [45] notions to final ones. II. Relations between politics and social morality Politics and social morality have the same basis; those two sciences comprise the rules prescribed by reason, either in acts that relate to the public, or in acts that relate to individuals; both determine the rights and obligations of individuals towards each other, the reciprocal rights and obligations of individuals towards other individuals, or towards the public, or towards the sovereign. The happiness of nations stems from morality and politics. Those two sciences also have the same goal: they only differ in the sense that politics is the science of the public man, and morality is the science of the citizen. We will consider man relative to himself and relative to society. The morality of man relative to himself is necessarily part of social morality, because his conservation and his perfection are useful to the general harmony of society.

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III. Principal questions to be solved Which rules does reason prescribe to men for their conduct relative to themselves and relative to society? What are those rules based on? What obliges them to conform themselves to them? Such are the questions that we have to resolve. Once we have found the principles on which the rules of morality CHAPITRE IV De la moralité des actions humaines ; de l’obligation Morale & des devoirs de l’homme place en société L’homme agit naturellement en vertu de son instinct & de ses passions ; mais nonseulement la pensée lui ramène des passions propres a contrebalancer l’effet des premières impulsions, il porte encore sur les passions des jugemens propres à en arrêter les effets : usons done de ces facultés pour diriger les pensées, les jugemens & les actions des hommes . I. De Inattention nécessaire a saisir ensemble des demonstrations de ce chapitre Le chapitre que nous traitons est le principal & le plus intéressant de notre ouvrage ; ceux qui l’ont precede ne sont que des préparatifs ; ceux qui le suivront ne sont que des développemens de celui-ci. Il ne peut avoit de prix réel que par l’ordre qui y régnera ; l’abondance des matières rend cet ordre plus difficile. Si d’un côté nos soins doivent être proportionnés a ces difficultés, l’attention doit s’accroître dans le même rapport; nous prions le lecteur d’observer avec toute l’attention dont il est capable, la manière dont nous ferons ensorte de le conduire des notions [45] les plus simples, aux notions définitives. II. Rapports de la politique & de la morale sociale La politique & la morale sociale ont la même base ; ces deux sciences contiennent les règles que la raison prescrit, soit dans les actes qui ont rapport au public, soit dans les actes qui ont rapport au particuliers ; l’une & l’autre fixent les droits & les obligations des particuliers envers eux-mêmes, les droits & les obligations réciproques des particuliers envers d’autres particuliers, ou envers le public, ou envers le souverain. Le bonheur des nations tient à la morale & à la politique. Ces deux sciences ont aussi le même but: elles different seulement en ce que la politique est la science de l’homme public, & que la morale est la science du citoyen. Nous considérerons l’homme relativement a lui & relativement a la société. La morale de l’homme relative a lui-même fait nécessairement partie de la morale sociale, parce que sa conservation & sa perfection sont utiles a l’harmonie générale de la société. III. Questions principales a résoudre Quelles sont les règles que la raison prescrit aux hommes pour leur conduite relativement a eux-mêmes & relativement a la société ? Sur quoi sont fondées ces règles ? Qu’est-ce qui oblige de s’y conformer ? Telles sont les questions que nous avons a résoudre. Lorsque nous aurons reconnu sur quels

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are based, we will have discovered the principles of morality. Once we have found what obliges man to conform himself to those rules, we will have understood the principles of moral obligation. The principles of morality and the principles [46] of moral obligation are the same, because only by understanding the principles on which the rules of morality are founded, can one understand at the same time why they are obligatory. Once we have demonstrated that the necessity to reach out for the common goal of all men, to reach social happiness, is the principle of morality, or the principle on which the rules of social morality are based, will we easily recognise that it is this same necessity which makes those rules obligatory. The rules understood by reason are moral rules when she recognises that those rules are necessary to achieve the common goal. Those rules are recognised by reason as obligatory, because reason recognises that someone who does not conform to them does not work towards the common goal. IV. Opinions of the moralists about the principle of morality and of moral obligation The moralists have been rather divided over the principle of morality of human actions. We cannot find the true principles of morality in the cradle of philosophy. We have stated already that the morality of the seven sages who succeeded poetic theology only contains scattered maxims. Socrates taught moral lessons that were collected by his disciples. That philosopher founded morality on the existence of God and on the immortality of the soul. Among his disciples various schools of morals developed, from which different sects emerged. The principal sects were the academics, the peripatecians, [47] the stoics and the epicureans. Plato was the leader of the first, Aristotle of the second, Zeno of the third, and Epicure of the fourth. The Platonists, recognising innate ideas, admitted an idea of virtue that was independent from the establishment of societies. They thought that man had from birth a natural idea of beauty, of good, of order and of harmony. To give greater strength to this system they said that moral relations are co-eternal with the divinity. The Stoics thought that there is no real good or bad but that of the soul. They also thought that bodily good and bad were merely a matter of opinion, and that man is obliged to act according to his nature. The Epicureans only applied the word good to the enjoyments of the body, and that of bad to the pains of the body. They regarded good and bad of the soul simply as representations of good and bad produced by sensations. The Peripatetics admitted good and bad of the body as well as that of the soul. Most of the ancient philosophers attributed the principle of morality to nature and to the natural order of things. Modern philosophers are much more divided on that principle. principes sont fondées les règles de la morale, nous aurons découvert le principes de la moralité. Lorsque nous aurons reconnu ce qui oblige l’homme de se conformer a ces règles, nous aurons apperçu les principes de l’obligation morale. Les principes de la moralité & les principes [46] de l’obligation morale sont les mêmes ; car ce n’est qu’en appercevant les principes sur lesquels sont fondées les règles de la morale, qu’on apperçoit en même temps comment on y est oblige. Lorsque nous aurons démontré que la nécessité de tendre au but commun de tous les hommes, de parvenir au bonheur social est le principe de la moralité, ou le principe sur lequel sont fondées les règles de la morale sociale, nous reconnoîtrons facilement que c’est cette

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même nécessité qui rend ces règles obligatoires. Les règles apperçues par la raison sont règles de morale, lorsqu’elle reconnoît que ces règles sont néces-saires pour atteindre le but commun ; ces règies sont reconnues par la raison comme obligatoires, parce que la raison reconnoît que celui qui ne s’y conforme pas, ne travail point a atteindre le but commun. IV. Opinions des moralistes sur le principe de la moralité & de l’obligation morale Les moralistes ont été assez divisés sur le principe de la moralité des actions humaines. Ce n’est point dans l’origine de la philosophic que nous pouvons découvrir les vrais principes de la moralité. Nous avons déjà dit que la morale des sept sages, qui a succédé a la théologie poëtique, ne contient que des maximes éparses. Socrate donna des leçons de morale, qui furent recueillies par ses disciples. Ce philosophe fondoit la morale sur l’existence de Dieu & sur l’immortalité de l’ame. Il se forma parmi ses disciples plusieurs écoles a la morale, & dont il résulta des sectes différentes. Les principals sectes furent les académiciens, les péripatéticiens [47], les stoïciens & les épicuriens. Platon fut le chef de la première, Aristote de la seconde, Zénon de la troisième, & Epicure de la quatrième. Les platoniciens reconnoisant les idées innées, admettoient une idée de la vertu indépendante de l'étab-lissement des sociétés ; ils pensoient que l’homme a en naissant une idée naturelle du beau, du bien, de l’ordre & de l’harmonie : pour donner plus de force a ce systême, ils disoient que les rapports moraux sont co-éternels avec la divinité. Les stoïciens pensoient qu’il n’y a pas de bien & de maux réels que ceux de l’ame ; ils pensoient aussi que les biens & les maux du corps ne sont que dans l’opinion, & que l’homme est oblige d’agir conformément a sa nature. Les épicuriens ne donnoient le nom de bien qu’aux jouissances du corps, & celui de mal qu’aux douleurs du corps. Ils ne regardoient les biens & les maux de l’ame que comme des representations des biens & des maux produits par les sensations. Les péripatéticiens admettoient les biens & les maux du corps ainsi que ceux de l’ame. La plûpart des anciens philosophes attribuoient le principe de la moralité a la nature & a l’ordre des choses naturelles. Les philosophes modernes ont beaucoup plus varié sur ce principe. Hugo Grotius12 founds natural right, or the system of natural laws, primarily on the testimony of nations and authors and on the conformity between their maxims. Clarcke13 has said that the propriety or the [48] impropriety that is perceived in actions is the principle of obligation. Hobbes14 does not recognise any other moral obligation than obligation to human laws. This writer thinks that there is nothing that is purely and simply good or bad; that there is not any common rule of good, bad or wickedness that derives from the nature of things; that outside society those things depend on the person who talks and within society on the representative [of the law] or civil judge. He says that injustice towards men supposes human laws, which are void in the state of nature. Dr Cumberland15 who fought against the principles of Hobbes, takes as principle a universal beneficence towards the whole system of reasonable agents by which each man, as part of that system, finds his happiness. Puffendorf16 founds moral obligation on sociability: he says that the fundamental law of natural right is that each person must work as much as it is in his power to obtain and maintain the good of human society in general.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Wolf17 and other philosophers have said that the perfectibility of man is the principle of moral obligation. Wolf thinks that natural right derives from the obligations to which man is subjected by nature. Jean Selden18 has founded the right of nature on the maxims of the ancient Jews and on divine legislation. Hubner19 founds moral obligation on the [49] rules that are imposed by the Supreme Being and recognised by reason. Barbeirac20 also establishes that the will of the Supreme Being is the principle of moral obligation. Some have maintained that there is no natural right,c others say that virtue differs between nations and is arbitrary. This is the system of Montaigne21 and several modern philosophers. Others maintain that reason has not sufficient authority to make its maxims obligatory. Locke22 thought, like Carneades, that just and unjust only exist by virtue of positive laws. Hutchetson23 and the Shafteburists24 have argued that there is in the mind a faculty to discern good and bad which is independent from any reflection; that the functions of this faculty are analogous to those of the senses and that good and bad cause involuntary sensations of pleasure and aversion. This subtle idea has not been much adopted. The habit of distinguishing between good and bad can give to the mind a finesse of tact that makes it suited to this operation prior to the exercise of reflection. But this faculty c See Plut[arch] Apophtegmes des Lacédémoniens [,extraits de Plutarque].

Hugues Grotius fonde le droit naturel, ou le systême des loix naturelles, principalement sur le témoignage des nations & des auteurs, & sur la conformité de leurs maximes. Clarcke a dit que la convenance ou la disconvenance [48] que l’on apperçoit dans les actions est le principe de l’obligation. Hobbes ne reconnoît d’autre obligation morale que celle des loix humaines. Cet écrivain pense qu’il n’y a rien qui soit purement & simplement bien & mal; qu’il n’y a aucune règle commune du bon, du mauvais & du vile, qui derive de la nature des choses ; que ces choses dependent hors de la société de la personne qui parlé, & dans la société du représen-tant ou du juge civil. Il dit que l’injustice envers les hommes suppose des loix humaines qui sont nulles dans l’état de nature. Le docteur Cumberland, qui a combattu les principes de Hobbes, prend pour principe une bienveillance universelle envers tout le systême des agens raisonnables par laquelle chaque homme, comme faisant partie de ce systême, trouve son bonheur. Puffendorf fonde l’obligation morale sur la sociabilité : il dit que la loi fondamentale du droit naturel, c’est que chacun doit travailler autant qu’il depend de lui a procurer & à maintenir le bien de la société humaine en générale. Wolf & d’autres philosophes ont dit que la perfectibilité de l’homme est le principe de l’obligation morale. Wolf pense que le droit naturel derive des obligations auxquelles l’homme est naturellement soumis. Jean Selden a fondé le droit de la nature sur les maximes des anciens juifs & sur la legislation divine.

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Hubner fonde l’obligation morale sur les règies [49] imposées par l’Etre Supreme & reconnues par la raison. Barbeirac établit aussi que la volonté de l’Etre Supreme est le principe de l’obligation morale. Quelques-uns ont soutenu qu’il n’y avoit point de droit naturel,(c) d’autres disent que la vertu depend des nations & est arbitraire : c’est le systême de Montaigne & de plusieurs philosophes modernes. D’autres soutiennent que la raison n’a pas une autorité suffisante pour rendre les maximes obligatoires. Locke a pensé, ainsi que Carnéade, que le juste & l’injuste n’existent qu’en vertu des loix positives. Hutchetson & les Shaftesburistes ont avancé qu’il y a dans l’ame une faculté de discerner le bien & le mal indépendamment de toute réflexion, que les fonctions de cette faculté sont analogues a celle des sens, & que le bien & le mal causent des sensations involontaires de plaisir & d’aversion. Cette idée subtile a été peu adoptée. L’habitude de distinguer le bien & le mal peut donner a l’ame une finesse de tact propre a cette operation antérieurement a l’exercice de la réflexion ; mais cette faculté n’est point (c) Voy. Plut. Apophtegmes des Lacédémoniens.

is not at all innate, and man can only distinguish between good and bad after having received instruction about the relations of good and bad. Finally, several authors have said that considered self-love is the principle of moral obligation. V. Social happiness renders the rules of social morality obligatory In our opinion social happiness is the goal or [50] the end that makes the rules of human actions relative to each individual and relative to society obligatory. We will prove that this end of man makes the rules of individual and social conduct sufficiently obligatory. By social happiness we mean a continuation of enjoyments and pleasures that increase by reason of submission to the rules of individual conservation and perfection and to the rules of the conservation, harmony and prosperity of society. […] [52] VII. Of pain and pleasure considered in the sensitive being We have established as a principle founded on experience that every sentient being hates pain and loves pleasure: this hatred and this love are shown by approach and flight. It would perhaps be very difficult to assign different gradations to it. This general tendency of sentient beings to enjoy objects that suit them and to flee that what is contrary to them cannot be called self-love, as some philosophers have thought. That physical or natural effect of sentient beings cannot be explained by self-love anymore than that the effort by which gunpowder tends to fill a larger space when set alight can be explained by that sentiment. Pain is a state contrary to the nature [53] of the sentient being; pleasure is a state analogous to the nature of that being: between extreme pain and pleasure one can

At the origins of mathematical economics


conceive of intermediate states of pleasure and pain that are only separated by apathy. Man is subject to those general laws of all sentient beings. Instinct and passions find their source in them. When man admires, loves, desires and rejoices, it is because he has experienced, experiences or hopes for pleasure. When he experiences some horror, when he hates, when he fears or when he is distressed, it is through the effect of some pain that is present or foreseen.25 The will is no less subject to those laws: man chooses between the pleasures that present themselves, or between the pains he has to avoid; but one cannot assume that he would want to suffer or that he would not want to enjoy in any way. The continuity of pleasures forms happiness; the continuity of pains or sorrows forms unhappiness. Thus whether man is moved by his instinct, innée, & l’homme ne distingue le bien & le mal qu’après avoir etc instruit des rapports du bien & du mal. Enfin plusieurs auteurs ont dit que l’amour de soi raisonnable est le principe de l’obligation moral. V. Le bonheur social rend obligatoires les règies de la morale sociale Selon nous le bonheur social est le but ou [50] la fin qui rend obligatoires les règies des actions humaines relatives a chaque individu & a la société : nous ferons en sorte de prouver que cette fin de l’homme rend suffisamment obligatoire les règies de la conduite particulière & sociale. Nous entendons par bonheur social une continuité de jouissances & de plaisirs qui croissent en raison de la soumission aux règies de la conservation & de la perfection particulière & à celles de la conservation, de l’harmonie & de la prospérité de la société. […] [52] VII. De la douleur & du plaisir considérés dans l'être sensitif Nous avons établi comme un principe fondé sur l’expérience que tout être sensible hait la douleur & aime le plaisir : cette haine & cet amour sont indiqués par l’approche & la fuite ; il seroit peut-être très-difficile d’en assigner les differences. Cette tendance générale des êtres sensitifs pour jouir des objets qui leur convienent, & pour fuir ce qui leur est contraire, ne peut être désignée, ainsi que l’ont pensé quelques philosophies, par l’amour de soi. Cet effet physique ou naturel des êtres sensitifs ne peut pas plus être expliqué par l’amour de soi que l’effort par lequel la poudre a canon enflammée tend à remplir un plus grand espace, ne peut être expliqué par ce sentiment. La douleur est un état contraire a la nature [53] de 1'être sensitif; le plaisir est un état analogue a la nature de cet être : entre la douleur & le plaisir extremes, on peut concevoir les états intermediates de plaisir & de douleur qui ne sont séparés que par l’apathie. L’homme est soumis a ces loix generates de tous les êtres sensibles. L’instinct & les passions en tire leur source. Lorsque l’homme admire, aime, desire, & se réjouit, c’est parcequ’il a éprouvé, qu’il éprouve ou qu’il espère du plaisir ; lorsqu’il éprouve quelque horreur, lorsque il hait, qu’il craint ou qu’il s’afflige, c’est par l’effet de quelque douleur, présente ou prévue. La volonté n’est pas moins soumise a ces loix : l’homme choisit entre les plaisirs qui se presentent, ou entre les peines qu’il a à éviter ; mais on ne peut supposer qu’il veuille souffrir ou qu’il ne veuille jouir en aucune manière.

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La continuité de plaisirs forme le bonheur ; la continuité de peines ou de douleurs forme le malheur : ainsi soit que l’homme soit mû par son instinct, whether his intellectual power has increased through his passions, or whether he is moved by his will, he always tends to seek his happiness and to avoid his unhappiness. There are things that are not within the power of man and which make him experience pains; but because of this he only has more reason to avoid being made unhappy by the things that are within his powers. We will later see that the man who carefully follows the general rules of happiness finds in his conduct and in his sentiments the means to resist [54] the efforts of superior forces to which he is subjected. Man has an interest in satisfying the necessary needs of his subsistence, the needs of his senses and the needs that his sensations awake in his mind: that interest and those needs are the source of his duties and his obligations. VIII. Principal rules of obligation; first class Among the objects that can present themselves to the man who is considered alone in the world, and which he can desire for his pleasure, there are ones that can harm his conservation or make that pleasure be followed by pain. From this follows for man a first class of rules, obligations or duties. The interest he has in avoiding pain and in saving himself for the enjoyment of happiness obliges him to avoid the enjoyment of pleasures that can harm his conservation and those that can or have to be followed by pain. IX. Second class; necessity of society Since man has an interest in seeking pleasure, in fleeing pain, and in conserving himself, he is obliged to live in society. Not only does society provide for the conservation of individuals and protect them from the attacks of all animals that are stronger than them, but it also provides for their reciprocal needs and satisfies them by adding pleasures to them, and every person in society enjoys all the pleasures that the union, arts and industry prepare for him. Everything supports the proof that society is necessary for man: the perfection of his faculties only takes place in society, the use of [55] language, the use of his fingers, his industry, his mind, all the faculties that increase his wellbeing on earth are only perfected within society. Men are in need of one another and they assist each other reciprocally, either with the faculties of the mind or with the faculties of the body. It is enough to compare social life to the life of the savage to understand at once the advantages of society, and only a determined design to support paradoxes and exceptional cases could commit one to maintain that savage or animal life is preferable to social life.26 A man who is used to seeing his like every day rarely imagines the agonies to which men are exposed if they were condemned not to see other men, soit que sa force intellectuelle soit accrue par les passions, soit qu’il soit mû par sa volonté, il tend done toujours a chercher le bonheur & à éviter le malheur. Il y a des choses qui ne sont pas au pouvoir de l’homme, & qui lui font éprouver des peines ; mais il n’en a que plus des raisons d’éviter d’être malheureux par les choses qui sont en son pouvoir : nous verrons dans la suite que l’homme qui suit avec soin les règies

At the origins of mathematical economics


generates du bonheur, trouve dans sa conduite & dans ses sentimens des ressources pour s’opposer [54] aux efforts des puissances supérieures auxquelles il est sujet. L’homme est intéressé a satisfaire les besoins nécessaires a sa subsistance, les besoins de ses sens & les besoins que ses sensations ont fait naître dans son ame : cet intérêt & ces besoins sont la source de ses devoirs & de ses obligations. VIII. Règles principales d’ obligation ; première classe Parmi les objets qui peuvent se presenter a l’homme considéré comme isolé sur la terre, & qu’il peut désirer pour son plaisir, il en est qui peuvent nuire a sa conservation ou faire succéder la douleur au plaisir; d’où il résulte pour l’homme une première classe de règies, d’obligations ou de devoirs. L’intérêt qu’il a d’éviter la douleur & de se conserver pour jouir du bonheur, l’oblige d’éviter de jouir des plaisirs qui peuvent nuire a sa conservation & de ceux auxquels peut ou doit succéder la douleur. IX. Seconde classe ; nécessité de la société L’homme ayant intérêt de chercher le plaisir, de fuir la douleur & de se conserver, il est oblige de vivre en société. Non-seulement la société pourvoit a la conservation des individus & les garantit des attaques de tous les animaux qui sont plus forts qu’eux, mais encore elle pourvoit a leurs besoins réciproques & les satisfait en y joignant les plaisirs, & chacun jouit dans la société de tous les plaisirs que l’union, les arts & l’industrie lui préparent. Tout concourt a prouver que la société est nécessaire a l’homme : la perfection de ses facultés n’a lieu qu’en société, l’usage de la [55] parole, l’usage de ses doigts, son industrie, son esprit, toutes les facultés qui augmentent son bien être sur la terre ne se perfectionnent qu’en société. Les hommes ont besoin les uns des autres, & se procurent réciproquement des secours, soit par les facultés de l’esprit, soit par les facultés du corps. Il suffit de comparer la vie sociale a la vie sauvage pour appercevoir rapidement les avantages de la société, & il n’y a qu’un projet decide de soutenir des paradoxes ou des choses extraordinaires, qui puisse engager a soutenir que la vie sauvage ou animale est preferable a la vie sociale. L’homme accoutumé a voir tous les jours ses semblables se fait rarement un tableau des tourmens auxquels seroient exposes des hommes qui seroient or the pleasure experienced by a man at meeting his like upon leaving a desert. It is in society that man finds most means to satisfy the needs of his body and of his mind, and to multiply his enjoyments. This abundance of goods, from which he derives his wealth and his enjoyments, is only acquired and increased through society and through reciprocal trade. Without society every person would be limited to the products of his labour; and his labour would be limited to the products of a crude and little developed industry. There is no society without reciprocal conditions: in order to enjoy the advantages of society man is therefore obliged to submit himself to the social conditions, to the conditions that are necessary to the conservation, to the harmony and to [56] the prosperity of society. From this follows for man a second class of rules, obligations and duties. These conditions are relative to the happiness of associates considered collectively or individually; to the conservation of persons and to the conservation of goods.

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X. Third class In society man finds the means to perfect the faculties of his body and of his mind. This perfection is necessary to increase the individual enjoyments of man and the prosperity of society. From this follows for man a third class of rules, obligations and duties. Man is therefore obliged to submit himself to the rules necessary to his conservation, to his perfection, and to the conservation, the harmony and prosperity of society in order to obtain social happiness. It is necessary that a man be truly convinced of the advantages of society, in order to know perfectly the interest he has in submitting himself to the social laws. The authors who have written against the social life in favour of the life of the savage were virtuous, even though they adopted an opinion contrary to the principles of the social virtues. At the same time as seeking to enjoy the advantages of society by practising the social virtues, they repudiated the advantages of society. How little would those authors have rated their happiness, if they had been independent from other men? XI The proper reason for giving a sufficient sanction to rules of obligation As soon as the nation understands that man naturally tends to happiness, and that he is [57] liable to renounce pleasures that, rather than contributing to that happiness, tend to destroy it; as soon as man understands that the perfection of his faculties is necessary to the increase of his happiness, that society has the same necessity, and that in order to enjoy the advantages of society it is necessary to contribute to the conservation, the harmony and the prosperity of society, reason submits itself voluntarily to those necessities. The obligations of social morality are recognised by reason as necessary condamnés à ne pas voir d’autres hommes, ou du plaisir qu’un homme éprouve a recevoir ses semblables au sortir d’un desert. C’est dans la société que l’homme trouve le plus de moyens de satisfaire les besoins de son corps & de son ame, & de multiplier ses jouissances. Cette abondance de biens d’où il tire ses richesses & ses jouissances, ne s’acquiert & ne s’accroît que par la société & par le commerce réciproque. Sans la société chacun seroit borné aux produits de son travail; & son travail seroit borné aux produits d’une industrie grossière & peu développée. Il n’y a point de société sans conditions réciproques : pour jouir des avantages de la société, l’homme est done oblige de se soumettre aux conditions sociales, aux conditions nécessaires a la conservation, à l’harmonie & a [56] la prospérité de la société ; d’où il résulte pour l’homme une seconde classe de règies, d’obligations ou de devoirs. Ces conditions sont relatives au bonheur des associés considered collectivement ou particulièrement; a la conservation des personnes & à la conservation des biens. X. Troisième classe L’homme trouve dans la société les moyens de perfectionner les facultés de son corps & de son esprit; cette perfection est nécessaire a accroître les jouissances particulières de l’homme, & la prospérité de la société ; d’où il résulte une troisième classe de règies, d’obligations & de devoirs.

At the origins of mathematical economics


L’homme est done oblige de se soumettre aux règies nécessaires a sa conservation, a sa perfection, a la conservation, a l’harmonie & a la prospérité de la société pour obtenir le bonheur social. Il est nécessaire qu’un homme soit bien convaincu des avantages de la société, pour connoître parfaitement l’intérêt qu’il a de se soumettre aux loix sociales. Les auteurs qui ont écrit centre la vie sociale en faveur de la vie sauvage étoient vertueux, quoiqu’ils affectassent une opinion contraire aux principes des vertus sociales. En même temps qu’ils cherchoient a jouir des avantages de la société en pratiquant les vertus sociales, ils renioient les avantages de la société. Combien ces auteurs eussent-ils peu estime leur bonheur, s’il eût été indépendant des autres hommes ? XI La raison propre a donner une sanction suffisante aux règies d’obligation Dès que la nation apperçoit que l’homme tend naturellement au bonheur, & qu’il est [57] expose a rencontrer des plaisirs, qui bien loin de concourir a ce bonheur, tendent a le détruire ; dès que l’homme apperçoit que la perfection de ses facultés est nécessaire a accroître son bonheur, que la société est de la même nécessité, & que pour jouir des avantages de la société, il est nécessaire de concourir a la conservation, a l’harmonie & a la prospérité de la société, la raison se soumettra volontiers a ces nécessités. Les obligations de la morale sociale sont reconnues, par la raison, nécessaires to the end man necessarily sets himself in this world. Those are obligations to himself; he prescribes them to himself, under pain of renunciation of the advantages attached to them. The pain or reward that reason foresees is as effective in rendering the rule prescribed by reason obligatory as the punishment imposed by the law. […] [70] XVIII. Objections of the vicious man ‘Society is fully established, says a vicious man, I may well deceive people, I may well increase my wealth at the expense of people and through injustices: if I alone am vicious among a hundred virtuous men, my vices will not dissolve society. I will thus enjoy the advantages of society without fulfilling agreements and obligations. The social virtues are necessary to the conservation, harmony and prosperity of society, but what influence do my actions have on the harmony of the whole. The ideas men form of esteem and contempt are artificial: if I am refused by men that what they call [71] esteem, I will have physical enjoyments in exchange for those imaginary pleasures. It is true, rogues will say, that we have an interest in living in society. But we have that interest only because we can deceive others, and it is only by deceiving others that we enjoy the advantages of society, because if we would not increase our fortune by so-called iniquitous means we would not be comfortable. They will add that, putting aside penal laws, how would you persuade a man about to succumb to the temptation that inspires him to commit a bad action which may make his fortune, that he will be happier by preferring virtue, especially if this temptation is supported by passions analogous to a thirst for gold? What interest have I, a sinful woman will object to moralists, in remaining in mediocrity in order to be virtuous instead of enjoying a considerable fortune and most of the pleasures wealth can buy? There are, you say, social laws that prescribe an order relative to the union of the two sexes. It is true that a girl who transgresses those laws is guilty in the

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eyes of society. But who will persuade me of the principles of your social morality that a heart that respects the social laws, and a pure conscience are goods to be preferred over the enjoyments of a large fortune and physical pleasures. What will persuade a courtesan [72] whose age and temperament make her sensitive to pleasures, who is tempted by the lure of wealth, who is popular, celebrated, laden with the caresses of the most distinguished and elegant men of the court and the capital, that public contempt is a punishment that she should dread; that contempt of the public which she holds in contempt herself, or of honest women whose society she scorns as much as she is scorned by them?’ […] à la fin que l’homme se propose nécessairement sur la terre. Ces obligations sont en lui; il se les present à soi-même, sous peine de renoncer aux avantages qui y sont attaches. La peine ou la recompense que la raison prévoit a autant d’efficacité pour rendre obligatoire la règle prescrite par la raison, que la peine infligée par la loi. […] [70] XVIII. Objections de l’homme vicieux « La société est toute établie, dira un homme vicieux, j’aurai beau faire des dupes, j’aurai beau accroître mes richesses aux dépens du peuple & par des injustices, si je suis seul vicieux sur cent hommes vertueux, ce ne seront pas mes vices qui feront dissoudre la société ; je jouirai done des avantages de la société sans en remplir les engagemens & les obligations. Les vertus sociales sont nécessaires a la conservation, a l’harmonie & a la prospérité de la société ; mais quelle influence peuvent avoir mes actions sur l’harmonie du tout. Les idées que se forment les hommes de l’estime & du mépris sont factices : si les hommes me refusent ce qu’ils appellent de [71] l’estime, j’aurai des jouissances physiques en échange de ces plaisirs imaginaires. Il est vrai, diront les frippons, que nous avons intérêt de vivre en société ; mais nous n’avons cet intérêt que parce que nous pouvons tromper les autres, & ce n’est qu’en trompant les autres que nous jouissons des avantages de la société, parce que si nous n’accroissions pas notre fortune par des moyens appelés iniques, nous serions dans le mal-aise ; comment persuaderez-vous, ajouteront-ils, à un homme prêt a succomber à la tentation qui lui est inspirée de commettre une mauvaise action propre a faire sa fortune, qu’il sera plus heureux en préférant la vertu, sur-tout si cette tentation est soutenue par les passions analogues à la soif de l’or, en faisant abstraction des loix pénales. Quel intérêt, objectera une femme vicieuse aux moralistes, ai-je de me fixer dans la médiocrité pour être vertueuse, au lieu de jouir d’une fortune considerable, & de la plûpart des plaisirs que procurent les richesses ? Il y a, dites-vous, des loix sociales qui prescrivent un ordre relativement a l’union des deux sexes. Une fille qui transgresse ces loix est, il est vrai, coupable relativement a la société ; mais qui me persuadera en vertu des principes de votre morale sociale qu’un cœur qui respecte les loix sociales, qu’une conscience pure sont des biens préférables aux jouissances d’une grande fortune, & aux plaisirs physiques. Qu’est-ce qui persuadera a une courtisanne sensible [72] par son âge & par son tempéramment aux plaisirs, tentée par l’appât des richesses, recherchée, fêtée & comblée de caresses par les hommes les plus distingués & les plus élégans de la cour & de la capitale, que le mépris public est une punition qu’elle doit redouter ; ce mépris d’une populace qu’elle méprise

At the origins of mathematical economics


elle-même, ou des femmes honnêtes dont elle dédaigne elle-même la société autant qu’elle en est dédaignée ? » […] [73]XX. Of the interest of men It is in the interest of the courtesan, the rogue and the deceiver to aspire only to an enjoyment of happiness that is subjected to the rules of society. When it is said that man is motivated in his actions by his interest, it should be noted that man has to balance several interests in the deliberations that present themselves to his mind. He has to choose between a present interest of some impulse and the remote interest of the conduct that leads him to social happiness. A man who enriches himself by violating the social laws may object that he is working towards the general happiness of his life by renouncing the momentary and sterile pleasure of being honest. He is wrong: that pretended happiness cannot be as pure as that of the virtuous and honest man. The man who is instructed in the social rules will be determined by the interest of social happiness and not by every kind of interest whose impulse presents itself to his mind. It is in the interest of man to be [74] supremely happy on earth. But man will not always be supremely happy by deciding according to his interest, because if he gives himself over to the interest of all physical enjoyments that present themselves, and if he does really enjoy a great good for some time due to these enjoyable things, while those momentary enjoyments are contrary to the laws of social happiness and harmful to the general happiness of his life, he will have preferred the true happiness of a moment to the supreme happiness of his life. He will have preferred the interest of the moment to the general interest of his life; he will have acted against this general interest. Man should thus guard himself against the interest of the moment, and balance this interest with the general interest of his life. Man having to choose between different interests often sacrifices his personal interest. For example, he sacrifices it when he carries out a charitable act and is motivated solely by the pleasure that that sentiment gives him, and when he rejects the voice of reason which presents him with strong motives of personal interest. What would become of the most precious virtues and sentiments if one attributes all our actions to personal interest! XXI. Of self-love or of personal interest considered as motive of actions. Of disinterested sentiments It is said that self-love is the motive for all actions of men, and that they always decide on the basis of the pleasure that they hope for and the pain that they fear. Admitting the truth of the second part of this proposition, the first is not a necessary consequence of it. As we have seen [75] while man is motivated instinctively by a sensation that is suitable and analogue to his sentient being, this is not the same as being motivated by self-love. Only in the case of acts and movements that require reflection could one suppose such a cause, and even then the power of the sentiments will often get the upper hand over the effects of reflection. There are manifold cases

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[73] XX. De l’intérêt des hommes Il est de l’intérêt de la courtisanne, du fripon & du fourbe de n’aspirer qu’au bonheur dont la jouissance est assujettie aux règies de la société. Lorsque l’on dit que l’intérêt de l’homme est le mobile de ses actions, il faut observer que dans les deliberations qui se presentent a l’esprit, l’homme a plusieurs intérêts a balancer : il a a choisir entre l’intérêt present d’un impulsion quelconque & l’intérêt éloigné de la conduite qui le mène au bonheur social. Un homme en s’enrichissant contre les loix sociales, peut objecter qu’il travaille au bonheur général de sa vie en renonçant au sterile plaisir du moment où il est honnête ; il se trompe : ce prétendu bonheur ne peut être aussi pur que celui de l’homme vertueux & honnête. L’homme instruit des règies sociales sera determine par l’intérêt du bonheur social, & non par toute espèce d’intérêt dont l’impulsion se présentera a son esprit. Il est de l’intérêt de l’homme d'être [74] souverainement heureux sur la terre ; mais l’homme ne sera toujours souverainement heureux en se déterminant conformément a son intérêt; car s’il se livre a l’intérêt de toutes les jouissances physiques qui se presentent, s’il jouit réellement pour quelque tems d’un grand bien par l’effet de ces jouissances, & que ses jouissances momentanées soient contraires aux loix du bonheur social & nuisent au bonheur général de sa vie, il aura préfère l’intérêt veritable d’un moment au souverain bonheur de sa vie ; il aura préfère l’intérêt du moment a l’intérêt général de sa vie ; il aura agi contre cet intérêt général. L’homme doit done se tenir en garde contre l’intérêt du moment, & balancer avec cet intérêt, l’intérêt général de sa vie. L’homme ayant a choisir entre différens intérêts, il sacrifie souvent son intérêt personnel. Il le sacrifie, par exemple, lorsqu’en exerçant un acte de bienfaisance, il est mû par le seul plaisir que procure ce sentiment, & lorsqu’il rejette la voix du raisonnement qui lui présente de puissans motifs d’intérêt personnel. Que deviendront les vertus & les sentimens les plus précieux, si l’on attribue toutes nos actions a l’intérêt personnel ! XXL De l’amour de soi ou de l’intérêt personnel considéré comme mobile des actions. De sentimens désintéressés On dit que l’amour de soi est le mobile de toutes les actions des hommes, & qu’ils se déterminent toujours en raison du plaisir qu’ils espèrent & de la douleur qu’ils craignent. En admettant la seconde partie de cette proposition comme vraie, la première n’en seroit pas une consequence nécessaire ; car nous avons vu [75] que l’homme mû instinctuellement par une sensation convenable & analogue a son être sensitif, n’est point mû alors par l’amour de soi: ce ne seroit tout au plus que dans les actions & dans les mouvemens réfléchis que l’on pourroit supposer une telle cause, & même le pouvoir de sentimens l’emportera souvent sur les effets de la réflexion. where the motives of interest give way to the impulses of sentiment. There are also many cases where sentiment acts before reflection. The duke of Rochefoucault who has contributed the most to making the power of personal interest and self-love fashionable, did not ignore, like those who have followed him, the power of the sentiments and the virtues that are considered as sentiments. According to himd One often takes as the effect of virtue what is but the effect of interest.27 When one says that self-love is the motive of good deeds, one doubtless means that the aim of good deeds is the pleasure of the benefactor: this could be so when the good deed is the result of reflection. But the mind is

At the origins of mathematical economics


often led to be charitable by the reaction to pain that it feels from seeing suffering, and that impulse is not the effect of self-love. All men, while having the same self-love, are not equally sensitive to the pleasures of charity and to the pain of seeing suffering. Neither are those who have learned that charity procures great pleasures and [76] who have even experienced this on some occasions, equally sensitive to it. Evidently, the sentiments vary even when interest is always the same. There are thus in men predispositions that incline them more or less towards charity. What lends some weight to the view that attributes all decisions to interest is the ease with which one can suppose interested motives to sentimental decisions. It is argued that friendship is always interested, [but] that sentiment is not always dictated by interest: various circumstances, in which the will does not have any part, arouse and maintain that sentiment that contributes the most to the increase of happiness on earth. Its ties are but little subjected to the will. If gratitude were dictated by interest it would no longer be a sentiment. One destroys sentiments and submits them to interested motives. Gratitude is natural amongst all men whose sentimental faculties are not subdued by dominant passions of vice. It is a sentiment that is more often an effect of nature than of reflection. Animals are more susceptible to it, because they are less liable to lose it through the causes to which man is subject. Generally, sentiments can be observed in their purest form among animals and children. Often it is necessary to supplement the moral sentiments by reflected virtues when the first are subdued. The authors [77] who have written about sentiments and who have attributed them to self-love have doubtless taken reflected virtues for real sentiments, because unfortunately those sentiments are subdued among very many people: that is what has caused mistakes on this matter. Man sustains the natural sentiments when they are not destroyed by bad impressions. Fatherly and motherly love is natural to all animals. Every kind d [François VI de la Rochefoucauld (1613–1680), Reflexions ou Sentences et Maximes morales (1st ed. 1665)] Maxim I.

Il y a une multitude de cas où les motifs d’intérêt cèdent aux impulsions du sentiment; & il y a beaucoup de cas aussi où le sentiment aura agi avant la réflexion. Le due de la Rochefoucault qui a la plus contribué à mettre en vogue la puissance de l’intérêt personnel & de l’amour de soi, n’a pas méconnu, ainsi que ceux qui l’ont suivi, le pouvoir des sentimens & des vertus considérées comme sentimens. On prend souvent, selon lui,(d) pour l’effet de la vertu ce qui n’est que l’effet de l’intérêt. Lorsque l’on dit que l’amour de soi est le mobile des bienfaits, on entend sans doute que le but de bienfaits est le plaisir dont jouit un bienfaiteur : cela pourroit être lorsque le bienfait est l’effet de la réflexion ; mais l’ame est souvent portée a la bienfaisance par la reaction de la peine qu’elle éprouve a voir souffrir, & ce mouvement n’est pas l’effet de l’amour de soi. Tous les hommes, avec un même amour de soi, ne sont pas également sensibles aux plaisirs de la bienfaisance & à la peine de voir souffrir ; ceux qui ont appris que la bienfaisance procure de grands plaisirs, & [76] qui l’ont même éprouvé dans quelques circonstances, n’y sont pas non plus tous également sensibles. Les sentimens varient évidemment, quoique l’intérêt soit toujours le même. Il y a done dans les hommes des manières d’être qui les portent plus ou moins à la bienfaisance.

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Ce qui donne quelque poids au sentiment qui attribue toutes les déterminations a l’intérêt, c’est la facilité de supposer des motifs d’intérêts aux determinations sentimentales. On soutient que l’amitié est toujours intéressée ; ce sentiment n’est pas toujours dicté par l’intérêt: plusieurs circonstances auxquelles la volonté n’a point eu de part, font naître & entretiennent ces sentimens qui contribue le plus a accroître le bonheur terrestre : ses nœuds sont peu assujettis à la volonté. Si la reconnoissance étoit dictée par l’intérêt, ce ne seroit plus un sentiment. On détruit les sentimens en les assujettissant aux motifs d’intérêt. Le reconnoissance est naturelle chez tous les hommes dont les facultés sentimentales ne sont pas éteintes par les passions dominantes des vices. C’est un sentiment qui est plus souvent un effet de la nature que de la réflexion. Les animaux en sont plus susceptibles, parce qu’ils sont moins exposes a le perdre par les causes auxquelles l’homme est sujet. Les sentimens peuvent en général être observes dans toute leur pureté chez les animaux & chez les enfans. Les sentimens moraux se dénaturent par l’éducation ; souvent il est nécessaire de suppléer, par des vertus réfléchies, aux sentimens moraux, lorsqu’ils sont éteints. Les auteurs [77] qui ont écrit sur les sentimens & les ont attribués a l’amour de soi, ont sans doute pris ces vertus réfléchies pour les sentimens réels ; parce que malheureusement ces sentimens sont éteints chez un trop grand nombre d’hommes : c’est ce qui a fait errer en cette matière. L’homme conserve des sentimens naturels tant qu’ils ne sont pas détruits par de mauvaises impressions. L’amour paternel & maternel est naturel a (d) Maxime I.

of animal has his own sentiments and inclinations; like man they have received them from nature. Those sentiments are doubtless the result of their [physical] organisation, or their sensory fluids. The principles of the moral sentiments are innate. Man is born with the aptitude to become virtuous or depraved. His sentiments are turned towards vice or virtue depending on the habits of vice or of virtue which he acquires. XXII. Sophisms deduced from the widespread opinion about personal interest The maxims that have been published about interest are extremely dangerous because of the sophisms that are deduced from them. Those sophisms have not a little contributed to annulling the sentiments. It has been declared that man is only motivated by his interest and that that motive should be the basis of morality. Unfortunately, it has been concluded from this opinion that by deciding according to his interest, man acts according to his nature, and that whenever one is truly persuaded that one acts according to one’s true interest, one never contravenes the fundamental rule of morality. Those false conclusions and false judgements with regards to interest [78] have resulted in the beginning of a revolution that is fatal for the sentiments that used to inspire great acts in men. A flatterer, for example, by perceiving that it is in his interest to flatter someone who is susceptible to flattery, is he not tempted to believe that by giving him pleasure he satisfies at the same time his own interest and that of the one he flatters? Will the flatterer not try to justify by this reasoning the vice of which he is accused in the tribunal of his

At the origins of mathematical economics


own conscience? Will man in his own interest not try to evoke, excite and nourish faults in others for which they themselves alone are to blame? It is easy to make false calculations in the search for true interests. A bad action may procure a depraved man a great sum of physical pleasures and enjoyments. He only has to be a little inclined to vice for there to be falsity in his judgement. Morality that is founded solely on interest would have little effect on his conduct if he believed that remorse can be effaced by the multitude of sensual pleasures which he could enjoy as the result of his bad action. He only has to stray a single step from the route indicated by the morality that is based solely on interest, to wander onto the dangerous path of egoism. XXIII. Comparison of the sentiments “with decisions founded on interest Let us admit the power of the involuntary sentiments. Let us determine exactly on the basis of what kind of interest the will is obliged to decide. Then we will be in a position to [79] reject the sophisms and errors of vice in an advantageous manner. tous les animaux. Chaque espèce des animaux a ses sentimens & ses inclinations propres ; ils les ont reçus de la nature ainsi que les hommes. Ces sentimens proviennent sans doute de leur organisation ou de la nature de leurs fluides sensitifs. Les principes des sentimens moraux sont innés. L’homme naît avec l’aptitude a devenir vertueux ou vicieux. Ses sentimens se tournent vers le vice ou la vertu suivant les habitudes du vice ou de la vertu qu’il contracte. XXII. Sophismes déduits de l’opinion répandu sur l’intérêt personnel Les maximes qu’on l’on a publiées sur l’intérêt sont extrêmement dangereuses a causes des sophismes que l’on en déduit: ces sophismes n’on pas peu contribué a annuller les sentimens. On a public que l’homme n’est mû que par son intérêt, & que ce mobile doit être la base de la morale : on a malheureusement conclu de cette opinion qu’en se determinant conformément à son intérêt, l’homme agit conformément a sa nature, & que toutes les fois qu’on est réellement persuade qu’on agit selon son intérêt veritable, on ne contrevient point a la règies fondamentale de la morale. Il est résulte de ces fausses consequences & des faux jugemens portés [78] sur l’intérêt, un commencement de revolution fatale aux sentimens qui portoient l’homme aux grandes actions. Un flatteur, par exemple, en appercevant qu’il est de son intérêt de flatter un homme sensible à la flatterie, ne sera-t-il pas tenté de croire qu’en lui procurant un plaisir, il satisfait en même tems a son propre intérêt & à celui du flatté ? Le flatteur ne tâchera-t-il pas par ce raisonnement de justifier le vice dont il est atteint au tribunal de sa propre conscience ? L’homme pour son intérêt ne sera-t-il pas tenté de faire naître, d’exciter ou de nourrir dans les autres des défauts dont le blame ne retombe que sur eux. Il est aisé de faire de faux calculs dans la recherche des véritables intérêts. Une mauvaise action peut procurer a l’homme vicieux une grande somme de plaisirs ou de jouissances physiques : pour peu qu’il fût enclin au vice & qu’il eut de fausseté dans le jugement, la morale fondée uniquement sur l’intérêt ne produiroit que peu d’effets sur sa conduite, s’il pensoit que les remords peuvent être effacés par la multitude de plaisirs sensuels dont il pourroit jouir ensuite d’une mauvaise action. Il ne faut que s’écarter d’un pas de la route indiquée par la morale fondée uniquement sur l’intérêt, pour s’égarer dans le sentier dangereux de l’égoïsme.

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XXIII. Comparaison des sentimens aux determinations fondées sur l’intérêt Admettons la puissance des sentimens involontaires; déterminons bien exactement qu’elle est l’espèce d’intérêt auquel la volonté est obligée de se déterminer; nous serons en état de [79] repousser avec avantage les sophismes & les erreurs du vice. There are people for whom the pleasure of virtue prevails over the pleasures of the senses. There are others for whom the pleasures of the senses prevail over the pleasure of virtue. The interests of man considered in general vary according to the situation in which he finds himself: if he is considered in isolation, he has personal interests, if he is in society he has social interests. In order to learn to decide, one mainly has to foresee the relations in which one is placed, one has to know the rules that are relative to circumstances. The motives that lead men to make decisions are not always a good that is certain. Often, for example, l’esprit de corps leads to actions whose goal is the procurement of remote advantages to the corps as a whole. A member who is infused with esprit de corps contributes by his actions to the attainment of advantages whose shine and splendour reflect on the corps in general, and that member only enjoys a few rays of that splendour. Motives are often calculated on possibilities and probabilities. Man is often led more by his passions than directed by a recognised utility. Generosity, love of glory and charity often engage to the renouncing of great goods. It is said that this is done to obtain goods that are esteemed as being more considerable. Yes, but why are there men who [80] know all the advantages of those great goods of public esteem, but who make decisions on the basis of lively emotions that are independent of reflection? If the fortuitous moment of those emotions would be lacking, the good action would be lost. A lively love, a momentary affection, even a good example can decide actions that would not have occurred after a moment of tranquil reflection, after a moment in which the most profound penetration would reveal fully the interested motives for that action. Those who have regarded self-love as the only motivating force of actions have extended their doctrine too far by denying the existence of moral sentiments, or at least by reducing them to the cold effects of interested reflection. According to Helvétius, pain and pleasure are the only motivating forces of the moral universe. The sentiment of selflove is the sole basis on which the foundations of a useful morality can be placed.28 I agree with the first part of this proposition: pleasure and pain are the motivating forces, not only of the instinct, the sentiments and the passions, but also of the will. We have seen that those secondary motives themselves receive their first impulse from the senses. Their primitive motivating forces are thus pleasure and pain. But when the modern moralists want to explain all actions of the moral universe by self-love, they remind me of the mania of the ancient physicists who explained most of the effects of the physical universe by the horror of the void. Helvétius draws [81] the most incorrect conclusions from those principles: he says that there is no universal probity, because there can be no actions that are useful to all nations.29 Helvétius reduces all pleasures to sensual pleasures and regards the love for women as the almost unique spring of civil societies. He thinks that the Il y a des hommes chez lesquels le plaisir de la vertu l’emporte sur le plaisir des sens ; il y en a d’autres chez lesquels le plaisir des sens l’emporte sur le plaisir de la vertu. Les intérêts de l’homme considéré en général varient suivant les positions où il se trouve : s’il

At the origins of mathematical economics


est considéré seul, il a des intérêts personnels ; s’il est en société, il a des intérêts sociaux. Pour apprendre a se déterminer, il faut principalement prévoir les rapports où l’on se retrouvera place, il faut connoître des règies relatives aux circonstances. Les motifs de determination des hommes ne sont pas toujours un intérêt bien certain. Souvent, par exemple, l’esprit de corps porte a des actions dont le but n’est propre qu’à procurer au corps entier des avantages éloignés. Un membre pénétré de l’esprit de corps, concourt par ses actions a procurer a d’autres membres d’autres avantages dont l’éclat & la splendeur rejaillissent sur tout le corps en général, & dont ce membre ne jouit que par les effets de quelques rayons de cette splendeur. Les motifs sont souvent calculés sur les possibilités ou sur les probabilités. L’homme est souvent plutôt entraîné par ses passions que conduit par une utilité même reconnue. La générosité, l’amour de la gloire & la charité engagent souvent a renoncer a de grands biens. C’est, dit-on, pour acquérir des biens qui sont dans l’opinion plus considérables : oui; mais combien y a-t-il d’homme qui connoissent [80] tous les avantages de ces grands biens d’opinion, & qui ne sont determines que par de vives emotions indépendantes de la réflexion ? Si le bon moment de ces emotions est manqué, la belle action est perdue. Un amour vif, attendrissement momentané, l’exemple même déterminent une action qui n’auroit pas eu lieu dans le moment tranquille de la réflexion, dans le moment où la penetration la plus profonde présenteroit le plus de motifs d’intérêt pour cette action. Ceux qui ont regardé l’amour de soi comme le mobile unique des actions, ont étendu trop loin leur doctrine, en niant l’existence des sentimens moraux, ou du moins en les réduisant a de froids effets d’une réflexion intéressée. Selon Helvétius, la douleur & le plaisir sont les seuls moteurs de l’univers moral; le sentiment de l’amour de soi est la seule base sur laquelle on puisse jetter les fondemens d’une morale utile. Je conviens de la première partie de cette proposition : le plaisir & la douleur sont les mobiles, nonseulement de l’instinct des sentimens & des passions, mais encore de la volonté. Nous avons vu que ces mobiles secondaires recevoient eux-mêmes leur premier ébranlement par les sensations ; leurs mobiles primitifs sont done le plaisir & la douleur. Mais lorsque les moralistes modernes veulent expliquer toutes les actions de l’univers moral par l’amour de soi, ils me rappellent la manie des anciens physiciens qui expliquoient la plûpart des effets de l’univers physique par l’horreur du vide. Helvétius tire [81] les consequences les plus fausses de ces principes : il dit qu’il n’y a point de probité relativement a l’univers, parce qu’il ne peut y avoir d’actions utiles a toutes les nations. Helvétius réduit tous les plaisirs aux plaisirs des sens, & regardé l’amour des femmes comme le ressort presque unique des sociétés policées. Il pense advantages that esteem yields always reduce to physical pleasures.30 When a man refrains from seducing the wife of his friend with whom he is passionately in love, what motivates him to this privation, to this virtuous act? Is it the hope for public esteem and the advantages it yields? But if those advantages reduce to sensual pleasures or to the pleasures of the two sexes, can it be believed that the virtuous man in question contains himself, in the hope of obtaining physical enjoyments, or to be desirable to other women? If the man who loves the wife of his friend would only consult his senses, he would succumb to the temptation of seducing her, and would prefer that pleasure to all pleasures of the senses and all possible seductions. The man who only consults his senses would

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always prefer present enjoyments to possible enjoyments and to the advantage that esteem may yield him, if those advantages reduce to physical pleasures of the senses. Helvétius also thinks that one loves one’s friend only for one’s own sake, that there is no friendship without need.31 Doubtless friendship has its charms, and friends obtain mutual pleasures, either through their exchanges and their conversations, [82] or through other mutual favours within society. But it is sentiments that lead to friendship, and these are not at all founded on calculations of personal interest. One loves long before understanding that friendship is useful. One is led by the pleasure one experiences before setting oneself that pleasure as a goal. One often falls out over petty things with the friend one needs most. One can even come to hate the persons one needs most in society, and one experiences the most bizarre likings for persons from whom one receives no favours beyond the mere pleasure of loving. There are sentimental acts in which reason has no part. Helvétius grants too much to reflection and does not accord enough to the sentiments. In mental deliberations one is determined by the interest of pleasure; but in sentimental acts one is led by pleasure itself. Sensations of pain and pleasure make one act prior to reflection, by the sole force of the instinct and the sentiments or the passions they excite. Acts dictated by interest presume the exercise of the faculties of reason. A sensation of pain, which excites anger and its movements, does not normally make one act according to one’s interest and the sentimental forces of anger are stopped through the effects of reflection that understands true interests. XXIV. Two ways of considering morality From what we have said up to now about the principal motives of the actions of men we deduce two ways of considering morality. [83] We consider it either as sensiblee or as demonstrated: in the first case morality appeals e The arts are so to say the sensible sciences: they are to the sentiment what the sciences are to the mind.

que les avantages que l’estime procure, se réduisent toujours à des plaisirs physiques. Lorsqu’un homme se refuse aux moyens de séduire la femme de son ami dont il est éperdument amoureux, qu’est-ce qui le determine à cette privation, à cet acte de vertu ? est-ce l’espérance de l’estime publique & les avantages qu’elle procure ? Mais si ces avantages se réduisent aux plaisirs des sens ou aux plaisirs des deux sexes, peut-on croire que l’homme vertueux dont il s’agit se contient, dans l’espoir d’obtenir des jouissances physiques, ou de plaire à d’autres femmes ? Si l’homme qui aime la femme de son ami ne consultoit uniquement que ses sens, il succomberoit à la tentation de la séduire, & préféreroit ce plaisir à tous les plaisirs de ses sens & a toutes les seductions possibles. L’homme qui ne consulteroit que ses sens préféreroit toujours les jouissances présentes aux jouissances possibles, aux avantages que peut procurer l’estime, si ces avantages se réduisoient aux plaisirs physiques des sens. Helvétius pense aussi qu’on aime son ami que pour soi-même, qu’il n’y à nulle amitié sans besoin. L’amitié sans doute a des charmes, & les amis se procurent mutuellement des plaisirs, soit par leur commerce & leurs entretiens, [82] soit par les autres services qu’ils se rendent dans la société ; mais il est des sentimens qui concourent à l’amitié, &

At the origins of mathematical economics


qui ne sont point fondés sur les calculs de l’intérêt personnel. On aime long-tems avant d’avoir apperçu que l’amitié est utile ; on est entraîné par le plaisir qu’on éprouve avant de s’être propose ce plaisir pour but; on se brouille souvent pour des misères avec l’ami dont on a le plus besoin ; l’on vient même souvent a haïr les personnes dont on a le plus besoin dans la société, & l’on éprouve les goûts les plus bisarres pour des personnes dont on n’éprouve d’autre service que le plaisir seul d’aimer. Il y a des actions sentimentales auxquelles la raison n’a point de part. Helvétius accorde trop a la réflexion, & n’accorde pas assez aux sentimens. Dans les deliberations mentales on est determine par l’intérêt du plaisir; mais dans les actions sentimentales on est entraîné par le plaisir lui-même. Les sensations de douleur ou de plaisir font agir antérieurement à la réflexion par la seule force de l’instinct & des sentimens ou des passions qu’elles excitent. Les actions dictées par l’intérêt supposent l’exercice des facultés de la raison. Une sensation de douleur qui excite la colère & ses mouvemens ne fait pas ordinairement agir conformément a son intérêt: les forces sentimentales de la colère sont arrêtées par les effets de la réflexion qui apperçoit les véritables intérêts. XXIV. Deux manières de considérer la morale Nous déduirons de ce que nous avons dit jusqu’ici des principaux mobiles des actions des hommes, deux manières de considérer la morale. [83] Nous la considérons comme sensibles(e) ou comme démontrée : dans le premier cas (e) Les arts sont pour ainsi dire des sciences sensibles; ils sont au sentiment ce que les sciences sont a l’esprit.

to the sentiment, in the second case it appeals to reason. If we occupy ourselves with the means to demonstrate morality to reason, we should occupy ourselves no less with the means to perfect morality relative to the sentiments. That is what we will do in the next chapter after giving the fullest possible scope to the consideration of morality as a science. XXV. The social sanction added to the sanction of reason We have said that reason finds sufficient obligation in the hope of happiness, which it must obtain by working for the individual conservation and perfection of man and by contributing to the conservation, harmony and prosperity of society. But since reason does not always perceive the necessity of this obligation, it often strays, and society only manages to lead it back by adding to the primitive sanction a new sanction that consists principally of punishments and rewards of opinion. Most virtues and vices relate to laws whose sanction only exists in personal felicity and in public opinion. When this sanction remains without effect, then the authorities add a third sanction to the first two by establishing [84] legal punishments on goods or persons. All those punishments and rewards relate to the felicity of man, and this felicity is always the final aim of the actions of men.

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XXVI. Advantages of a plan of conduct Felicity is the result of all advantages man draws from his individual conservation and perfection, and from the increase in his enjoyments through social union and reciprocal trade. It is also the result of the enjoyment of the rewards of opinion. Man can only achieve enjoyment of those advantages by forming in his youth a plan of conduct based on the principles of morality. Imagine for a moment that man would have a faculty relative to the future such as the memory fulfils relative to the past and that man could grasp the chain of events to which he will be exposed, just like he recalls the chain of events to which he has been subjected. There are few men who, when looking at the past and considering all deliberations and decisions of their will that contributed to their pleasures and their pains, do not perceive that on many occasions decisions based on their present interest were harmful to the general interest and do not say that if they had to start life again they would behave quite differently. If we imagine a man who upon reaching the age of reason would share in the divine faculty of considering all future circumstances in which [85] he will find himself, and all the deliberations that he will have to make, that mortal would he not be the happiest of men, if he could at one moment of his life combine all la morale s’adresse au sentiment; dans le second elle s’adresse a la raison. Si nous nous occupons des moyens de démontrer la morale a la raison, nous ne devons pas moins nous occuper des moyens de la perfectionner relativement aux sentimens : c’est ce que nous ferons dans le chapitre suivant, lorsque nous aurons donné a la demonstration de la morale considérée comme science toute l’étendue dont nous la croyons susceptible. XXV. Sanction sociale jointe a la sanction de la raison Nous avons dit que la raison trouve une obligation suffisante dans l’espoir du bonheur qu’elle doit obtenir en travaillant a la conservation & a la perfection particulière de l’homme, & en concourant a la conservation, à l’harmonie & a la prospérité de la société ; mais la raison n’appercevant pas toujours la nécessité de cette obligation, elle s’égare souvent, & la société ne parvient à la ramener qu’en ajoutant a cette sanction primitive une nouvelle sanction qui consiste principalement dans les peines & les recompenses d’opinion. La plûpart des vertus & des vices sont relatifs a des loix dont la sanction n’existe que dans la félicité personnelle & dans l’opinion publique. Lorsque cette sanction reste encore sans effet, c’est alors que l’autorité joint une troisième sanction aux deux premières par l’établissement [84] des peines légales sur les biens ou sur les personnes. Toutes ces peines & ces récompenses se rapportent à la félicité de l’homme, & cette félicité est toujours le but définitif des actions des hommes. XXVI. Avantages ant ages d’un plan de conduite Cette félicité résulte de tous les avantages que l’homme retire de sa conservation & de sa perfection particuliére, de l’accroissement de ses jouissances par l’union sociale & par le commerce réciproque ; elle résulte encore de la jouissance des recompenses d’opinion. L’homme ne peut parvenir a jouir de ces avantages qu’en se formant dès sa jeunesse un plan de conduite sur les principes de la morale.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Ne pourroit-on pas supposer un instant que l’homme put avoir une faculté relativement a l’avenir, telle qu’est la mémoire relativement au passé, & que l’homme put appercevoir la chaîne des évènemens auxquels il doit être expose, ainsi qu’il se représente la chaîne des évènemens auxquels il à été sujet. Il est peu d’hommes qui en jettant les yeux sur le passé, & considerant toutes les deliberations & les determinations de leur volonté qui ont concouru à leurs plaisirs & à leurs peines, n’apperçoivent que, dans une multitude d’occasions, les determinations de leur intérêt present ont nui à l’intérêt général, & ne disent que s’ils avoient a recommencer à vivre, ils se conduiroient bien différemment. Supposons qu’un homme parvenu à Page de raison, ait en partage la divine faculté de considérer dans l’avenir les circonstances où [85] il sera place, & l’ensemble des deliberations qu’il aura à prendre ; ce mortel ne sera-t-il pas le plus heureux des hommes, s’il peut deliberations relative to one another, and determine in this manner how all events of his life could yield him the greatest physical and moral advantages? Morality makes up for the lack of this faculty in man: it presents him with the code of laws according to which he should direct his judgements and his actions in order to reach supreme felicity in life, whatever the circumstance he finds himself in. The man who has formed a plan of conduct can foresee in an instant what the state of his soul will be during all moments of his life, whatever the vicissitudes of the events. This plan of conduct will vary somewhat according to rank and condition, but it is always founded on the same principles. XXVII. Of social rewards and punishments The man who at every step reconsiders the means to be happy, lets happiness escape him all the time. Only a plan of conduct that is firmly drawn at the beginning of the age of reason retains it during the whole course of life. Such a plan assures man of internal felicity by assuring social rewards and by saving him from social punishments. He obtains rewards in terms of immediate enjoyments and from society. He experiences immediate punishments and through society. Man is rewarded by society with the general advantages [86] to which he contributes as fellow citizen, and he finds within himself the pleasures that are the share of virtue. He is punished by society when he does not fulfil responsibilities of the social union and when he harms this union; he finds within himself the pains that are the result of vice. XXVIII. Of social rewards Although the rewards man receives from the opinion of society are such only through the internal pleasure they provide, we will distinguish nevertheless between social rewards and internal rewards, because the former are not immediate. Social rewards are principally approval, esteem and distinctions. Approval is accompanied by applause, praise, congratulations and approbation. Esteem is accompanied by love, admiration, veneration, respect, tributes, gratitude, being in vogue, consideration, honour, reputation, glory, fame and immortality. To this we can add, the public confidence needed by man in most of his undertakings, and which once lost is rarely regained. Distinctions consist in pre-eminence, in preferences, in honours and in all attributes of power and authority. Man is rewarded internally by the wellbeing of a pure conscience, by the testimony of a good

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conscience whose felicity depends less on events than on the observation of good principles, by internal confidence, by the [87] serenity and voluptuous pleasure of the mind, the stillness of the soul, tranquillity and peace of mind, en un moment de sa vie combiner toutes ses deliberations les unes relativement aux autres, & les déterminer de manière que tous les évènemens de sa vie lui procurent les plus grands avantages physiques & moraux ? La morale supplée à cette faculté qui manque à l’homme : elle lui présente le code des loix suivant lesquelles il doit régler ses jugemens, ses deliberations & ses actions pour parvenir a la supreme félicité de la vie, dans quelque circonstance qu’il soit place. L’homme qui s’est formé un plan de conduite, peut prévoir en un instant quel sera l’état de son ame dans tous les instans de sa vie, quelle que soit la vicissitude des évènemens. Ce plan de conduite doit éprouver quelques differences suivant les rangs & les conditions ; mais il est toujours fondé sur les mêmes principes. XXVII. Des recompenses & des peines sociales L’homme en cherchant a chaque pas le moyen d’être heureux laisse échapper continuellement le bonheur. Il n’y a qu’un plan de conduite solidement trace dès le premier âge de la raison, qui le retienne pour tout le cours de la vie. Un tel plan assure à l’homme la félicité intérieure, en lui assurant les recompenses sociales, & en le préservant des peines sociales. Il obtient des recompenses par ses jouissances immédiates & par le moyen de la société. Il éprouve des peines immédiatement & par le moyen de la société. L’homme est recompense par la société des avantages généraux [86] auxquels il contribue comme concitoyen, & trouve au-dedans de lui-même les plaisirs qui sont le partage de la vertu. Il est puni par la société lorsqu’il ne remplit pas les charges de l’union sociale & lorsqu’il nuit a cette union ; il trouve au-dedans de lui-même les peines qui sont le partage du vice. XXVIII. Des recompenses sociales Quoique les recompenses que l’homme obtient dans l’opinion de la société ne soient telles que par le plaisir intérieur qu’elles procurent, nous distinguerons cependant les recompenses sociales & les recompenses intérieures, parce que les premières ne sont point immédiates. Les recompenses sociales sont principalement l’approbation, l’estime & les distinctions. L’approbation est accompagnée d’applaudissemens, de louanges, de félicitations & des bons suffrages. L’estime est accompagnée d’amour, d’admiration, de veneration, de respect, des hommages, de la reconnoissance, de la vogue, de la considération, de l’honneur, de la reputation, de la gloire, de la renommée & de l’immortalité ; nous pouvons ajouter encore la confiance publique qui est nécessaire a l’homme dans la plûpart de ses entreprises, & qui une fois perdue est rarement regagnée. Les distinctions consistent dans les prééminences, dans les preferences, dans les honneurs & dans tous les attributs du pouvoir & de l’autorité. L’homme est recompense intérieurement par le bien être d’une conscience pure, par le témoignage d’une bonne conscience dont la félicité depend moins des évènemens que de l’observation des bons satisfaction with oneself and pure felicity. He is rewarded by the conservation, force, health and perfection of body and mind. The man who conducts himself without principles finds it difficult to attain the perspective of happiness in life of a man whose heart is maintained and sustained by

At the origins of mathematical economics


virtuous sentiments without interruption from the beginning of the age of reason, and who unites within himself the principal advantages man can hope for on earth as fruits of study and virtue. […] [102] XXXV. Of the injustice of public opinion Manners become corrupted when the opinion of society favours vice, and when certain virtues become the laughing stock or the plaything of societies, or are disowned by society; when men who combine vices and graces reach the highest rank of society; when, for example, conjugal tenderness is ridiculed; when a husband and wife who still love one another after some years of marriage are obliged to hide their sentiments beneath the appearance of cold courtesy in order to be in good taste; when moralists and moral maxims are mocked in society. The charms experienced in the world by weak and agreeable minds through the good reception they receive, and the bad reception sometimes given to sound minds and the ridicule to which they are exposed contributes more than a little to making distasteful the efforts necessary to acquiring sound qualities. It is necessary for the maintenance of manners that there is in society as much contempt for vices as there is indulgence towards minor flaws and faults. The withholding of rewards and ridicule suffice to save men from small weaknesses, and the virtuous man is much more inclined to indulgence than to ridicule when the order of society is not at stake. The progress of vice necessarily contributes to the decadence of society, since [103] depraved acts are those that are contrary to the conserving and prosperous order of society. From this it follows that the lightness with which vice is tolerated, when preparing the corruption of morals, is one of the first causes of the decadence of societies. To be perfectly virtuous it is not enough to refrain from bad things and to do good; one should also stop evil and favour virtue by giving to human actions the justice that is due, by rewarding them or punishing them according to their merit or their blameworthiness. A man of virtue may contribute to the corruption of manners by an excessive indulgence of vice, by an extreme commiseration, which favours impunity. principes, par la confiance intérieure, par la [87] sérénité, la volupté de l’ame, le calme de l’esprit, la tranquillité, la paix de l’ame, la satisfaction de soi-même & par la félicité pure. Il est recompense en lui-même par la conservation, la force, la santé, la perfection du corps & de l’esprit. L’homme qui se conduit sans principes atteint difficilement la perspective du bonheur de la vie d’un homme dont le cœur s’est maintenu & soutenu sans interruption dans les sentimens vertueux, depuis les premiers momens de Page de raison, & qui réunit en lui les principaux avantages que l’homme peut espérer sur la terre des fruits de l’étude & de la vertu. […] [102] XXXV. De l’injustice de l’opinion publique Les mœurs se corrompent, lorsque l’opinion de la société favorise les vices, & lorsque certaines vertus sont la fable ou le jouet des sociétés, ou sont reniées par la société ; lorsque les hommes qui réunissent les vices & les graces tiennent le premier rang dans la

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société ; lorsque la tendresse conjugale, par exemple, est tournée en ridicule; lorsque les époux qui s’aiment encore après quelques années de mariage sont obliges de cacher leurs sentimens sous les apparences d’une froide honnêteté pour être du bon ton ; lorsque les moralistes & les sentences de morale sont bernés en société. Les charmes qu’éprouvent dans le monde les esprits légers & agréables par l’accueil qu’ils y reçoivent, le mauvais accueil qu’y reçoivent quelquefois les esprits solides, & le ridicule auquel ils sont exposes ne contribuent pas peu à dégoûter des efforts nécessaires à acquérir les qualités solides. Il est nécessaire, au maintien des mœurs, qu’il y ait dans la société autant de mépris pour les vices, que l’indulgence pour les défauts & les fautes légères. La privation des recompenses & le ridicule suffisent pour preserver des foiblesses légères ; & l’homme vertueux est encore plus porté a l’indulgence qu’au ridicule, lorsque l’ordre de la société n’est point intéressé. Les progrès du vice contribuant nécessairement a la decadence de la société, puisque les [103] actions vicieuses sont celles qui sont contraires a l’ordre conservatif & prospère de la société, il s’ensuit que la légèreté avec laquelle on tolère le vice en préparant la corruption des mœurs est une des causes premières de la decadence des sociétés. Pour être parfaitement vertueux, il ne suffit pas de ne pas faire de mal & de faire le bien ; il faut encore empêcher le mal & favoriser la vertu en rendant aux actions humaines la justice qui leur est due, en les récompensant, ou en les punissant suivant leur mérite, ou suivant leur imputabilité. Un homme avec des vertus peut contribuer a la corruption des mœurs par une indulgence excessive en faveur du vice, par une commisération extreme qui favorise l’impunité. XXXVI. Of the reality of virtues and vices Virtues often lose their price due to the corruption in manners and, as we have said, this effect leads to extremes of corruption. Among some nations real virtues are not recognised by public opinion as virtues, and vices are tolerated either by opinion or even by legislation. Accordingly, the same reasoning has been applied to virtues as has what has been said about natural laws; it has been maintained that vices and virtues only depend on particular opinions, or on legislation, and that real virtues and vices do not exist. From the fact that some consider good what others consider bad, from the fact that what is good in the eyes of some interested party is bad in the eyes of those with [104] contrary interests, it has been concluded that good and bad are merely relative, and not at all real. However, what is good for some and bad for others is truly good if it is conform to the rules of justice. Some authors have limited themselves to saying that there are neither vices nor virtues outside society in general, and equally that there is neither just nor unjust outside society. From the first system it follows that an action is not depraved if it is regarded as being virtuous, or if opinion or legislation tolerates it. From the second [system] it follows that vice and virtue can only be attributes of society, and are naught outside society. Other authors have said that good and bad, vice and virtue are only such by convention. Positive laws and false religions have created virtues and tolerated vices. However, there are no social virtues other than the ones that are truly necessary to general conservation, harmony and prosperity as well as to the happiness of individuals. The

At the origins of mathematical economics


observation of virtues and the proscription of vices are not a matter of convention, but are truly necessary to the goal towards which man tends by his nature. Helvétius saysf that libertinage between the two sexes is not at all incompatible with the happiness of the nation, that this kind of corruption is criminal because it violates the law of the [105] land, and that it would be less if children would be declared children of the state. This philosopher, like many others, entertains revolting ideas. The idea that a society in which there would be no other order relative to propagation than that of the community a goods, which would be the necessary result of the proposition of that philosopher is contrary to the prosperity and to the greatest happiness of societies. Ancient history shows us how few societies stayed intact with such projects. If the order of propagation is necessary to the interest of societies, then the virtues that are conform to the rules of that order are truly necessary, and cannot be regarded arbitrary or virtues of prejudice. Helvétius adds that the science of morality is one and the same thing as the science of legislation.g f [Claude-Adrien Helvétius (1715–1771),] Del’ l’Esprit [1758], Discourse II, chapter xiv [p. 139]. g De l’Esprit [1758], Discourse II, chapter xvii [p. 163].

XXXVI. De la réalité des vertus & des vices Les vertus perdent souvent leur prix par la corruption des mœurs, & cet effet contribue, ainsi que nous l’avons dit, à porter la corruption jusqu’à ses extremes. Chez quelques nations les vertus réelles ne sont point admises comme vertus dans l’opinion publique, & les vices y sont tolérés, soit par les effets de l’opinion, soit même par les effets de la legislation. On a raisonné d’après cela sur les vertus, ainsi que sur les loix naturelles, & l’on a soutenu que les vices & les vertus ne sont que relatifs a quelques opinions particulières, ou à la legislation, & qu’il n’y a point de vices & de vertus réels. De ce que les uns regardent comme bien, ce que, les autres regardent comme mal, de ce que ce qui est bien aux yeux des intéressés est mal aux yeux des [104] contr’intéressés, on en à conclu que le bien & le mal ne sont que relatifs & ne sont point réels. Mais ce qui est bien pour les uns & mal pour les autres est réellement bien s’il est conforme aux règies de la justice. Quelques auteurs se sont contentés de dire qu’il n’y a ni vices ni vertus hors de la société en général, qu’il n’y a pareillement ni juste ni injuste hors de la société. Il résulte du premier systême qu’une action n’est point vicieuse, si elle est regardée comme vertueuse, ou si elle est tolérée par l’opinion ou par la legislation ; il résulte du second que le vice & la vertu ne peuvent être que des attributs de la société, & sont nuls hors de la société. D’autres auteurs ont dit que le bien & le mal, le vice & la vertu ne sont tels que par convention. Les loix positives & les fausses religions ont créé des vertus & toléré des vices ; mais il n’y à de vertus relativement a la société que celles qui sont réellement nécessaires à la conservation, a l’harmonie & à la prospérité générale, ainsi qu’au bonheur des individus. L’observation des vertus & la proscription des vices ne sont point de convention, mais sont réellement nécessaires au but vers lequel l’homme tend par sa nature. Helvétius dit(f) que le libertinage des deux sexes n’est point incompatible avec le bonheur d’une nation ; que cette espèce de corruption est criminelle, parce qu’elle blesse les loix du [105] pays, & qu’elle le seroit moins, si les enfans étoient declares enfans de

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l'état. Ce philosophe s’est permis, ainsi que beaucoup d’autres, des idées révoltantes. L’idée d’une société dans laquelle il n’existeroit d’autre ordre relativement a la propagation que celui de la communauté des biens qui résulteroit nécessairement de la proposition de ce philosophe est contraire à la prospérité & au plus grand bonheur des sociétés. On sait par l’Histoire ancienne combien peu de sociétés se sont soutenues avec de tels projets. Si l’ordre de la propagation est nécessaire a l’intérêt des sociétés, les vertus conformes aux règies de cet ordre sont réellement nécessaire, & l’on ne peut les regarder comme arbitraires ou comme des vertus de prejuge. Helvétius ajoute que la science de la morale n’est autres chose que la science même de la législation.(g) (f) De l’esprit. Dis. II. c. XIV. (g) De l’esprit. Dis. II. c. XVII.

This proposition follows from the system of that philosopher who regards laws as being founded on the will of men rather than on necessity. Arbitrary laws are the playthings of revolutions; the laws that are necessary to the social order are the work of nature and must be treated with veneration by men of all societies. That philosopher has adopted a doctrine about morality that without a doubt is due to the Pyrrhonists, published earlier by Carneades, Hobbes and Locke [106], and which in our days nobody has advocated more unreasonably than la Mettrie. The assertions of la Mettrie have the most dangerous consequences. When working towards convincing oneself of the reality of virtues it is a good thing to guard oneself against such assertions. We mention them especially because they have found some acceptance within depraved circles. That author saysh that since morality, like laws and executioners, originates in politics, it follows that it is not the work of nature, nor therefore of philosophy or reason. He thought that morality should not be part of philosophy, since the latter only deals with real things; that nothing is absolutely unjust; that there is not any real equity, nor any absolute vices, greatness or crimes; that the one who weighs justice with the measures of society is just. The Pyrrhonists maintained equally that all actions are indifferent in themselves and that good and bad are arbitrary. […]

[126] CHAPTER V Of the means to render man virtuous and to save him from vice I. Of the necessity to perfect reason and will In order to be virtuous and to assure that one remains so during one’s whole life, man must not only maintain through habit the currency of the virtuous sentiments received from nature and curb the bad dispositions that may afflict him and of which, as of the virtues, he carries the seeds, he must also work towards the perfection of the faculties of his mind necessary to the exercise of his reason. For the progress of morality man must

At the origins of mathematical economics


work towards the perfection of the faculties of his heart, his mind and his spirit. Above all he must perfect his will and it is in order to achieve this particular perfection that h [Julien Offray de la Mettrie (1709–1751),] Philosophical Works, Preliminary Discourse [First edition 1750, English translation of this sentence from La Mettrie 1996:148].

Cette proposition est une suite du systême de ce philosophe qui regardé les loix comme fondées plutôt sur la volonté des hommes que sur la nécessité. Les loix arbitraires sont le jouet des revolutions ; les loix nécessaires à l’ordre social sont l’ouvrage de la nature, & doivent être en veneration aux hommes dans toutes les sociétés. Ce philosophe a adopté sur la morale un doctrine qui est due sans doute aux Pirroniens, que Carnéade, Hobbes & Locke avoient déjà [106] publiée, & sur laquelle aucun écrivain n’a de nos jours aussi complettement déraisonné que la Mettrie. Les assertions de la Mettrie sont de la plus dangereuse consequence. En travaillant a se convaincre de la réalité des vertus, il est bon de se prémunir contre telles assertions. Nous les rapportons sur-tout parce qu’elles ont eu quelque vogue dans quelques sociétés vicieuses. Cet auteur dit(h) que puisque la morale tire son origine de la politique comme les loix & les bourreaux, il s’ensuit qu’elle n’est point l’ouvrage de la nature, ni par consequent de la philosophic ou de la raison. Il pensoit que la morale ne doit point faire partie de la philosophic, parce que celle-ci ne traite que des choses réelles ; qu’il n’y a rien d’absolument injuste ; qu’il n’y a nulle équité réelle, nuls vices, nulle grandeur, nuls crimes absolus ; que celui-là est juste, qui pèse la justice au poids de la société. Les Pirroniens soutenoient pareillement que toutes les actions sont en ellesmêmes indifférentes ; que le bien & le mal sont arbitraires. [126]CHAPITRE V Des moyens de rendre l’homme vertueux & de le preserver du vice I. De la nécessité de perfectionner la raison & la volonté Pour être vertueux & s’assurer de l’être dans tout le cours de sa vie, l’homme doit nonseulement entretenir par l’habitude le cours des sentimens vertueux que la nature lui a donnés, & mettre un frein aux dispositions vicieuses dont il peut être attaqué & dont il a eu lui-même le germe ainsi que des vertus, il doit encore travailler a perfectionner les facultés de son ame, qui sont nécessaires a l’exercice de sa raison. L’homme doit travailler a perfectionner les facultés de son cœur, de son ame & de son esprit pour les progrès de la morale. Il doit sur-tout perfectionner sa volonté, & c’est pour ce (h) Œuvres philosophiques. Disc, prélim.

morality recommends [the perfection] of most other faculties. If man does not acquire all virtues, and preserves vices instead, it is because he has not willed the acquisition of all virtues and the discharge of his vices by all means indicated and prescribed by morality. II. Principal means to perfect morality

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The principal means to perfect morality and to make man virtuous and save him from vice consist of: 1. contracting habits that are favourable to virtue and opposed to vice; 2. choosing examples; 3. employing moral art; 4. perfecting reason; 5. gaining experience. Vice primarily finds its source either in a bad education or in bad [127] examples, or in the lack of occasions suitable to give rise to good habits, or in the neglect to look for such occasions, or in the forced or voluntary imperfection of judgement and reason. By perfecting morality, it seems that one might treat vices generally or individually like a doctor treats diseases: by presenting their relations, sources, condition, effects, symptoms and their cures. III. Of the power of habit: first means to perfect morals In order to master his instinctive impulses man can counteract them by the same means nature uses to annul the effects of his will. He is led by his passions and by habit; he must oppose the effect of depraved passions and bad habits with virtuous passions and virtuous habits. There is nobody who has not experienced how much power habit has over the exercise of the sentiments and how much it influences the will. Habit gains such ascendancy over conduct that man ends up acting well without having to overcome himself, and without realising that he is obeying duties. The practice of virtues fortified by habit is nothing to be embarrassed about. Man is fully compensated for the kind of embarrassment he often experiences when contracting habits by the ease of acting virtously. […] perfectionnement particulier que la morale prescrit la plûpart des autres. Si l’homme n’acquiert pas toutes les vertus, & s’il conserve des vices, c’est parce qu’il n’a pas voulu travailler a acquérir toutes les vertus & a reformer ses vices par tous les moyens que la morale indique & prescrit. II. Principaux moyens de perfectionner la morale Les principaux moyens de perfectionner la morale, de rendre l’homme vertueux & de le preserver du vice consistent, 1°. a contracter les habitudes favorables a la vertu & contraires au vice ; 2°. a choisir les exemples ; 3°. a employer l’art moral; 4°. a perfectionner la raison ; 5°. a acquérir de l’expérience. Le vice prend principalement sa source ou dans une mauvaise education, ou dans de mauvais [127] exemples, ou dans le défaut des occasions propres a faire naître de bonnes habitudes, ou dans la negligence a rechercher ces occasions, ou dans l’imperfection forcée ou volontaire du jugement & de la raison. En perfectionnant la morale, il semble qu’on pourroit traiter des vices en général & en particulier, ainsi que la médecine traite des maladies; en exposer les rapports, les sources, l’état, les suites, les symptômes & les moyens de guérison. III. De la puissance de l’habitude : premier moyen de perfectionner les mœurs Pour se rendre maître de ses impulsions instinctuelles, l’homme peut opposer les mêmes moyens que la nature emploie pour rendre l’effet de sa volonté nulle. Il est entraîné par les passions & par l’habitude ; il doit opposer l’effet des passions vertueuses & l’habitude de la vertu aux passions vicieuses, & aux mauvaises habitudes. Il n’y a personne qui n’ait

At the origins of mathematical economics


éprouvé combien l’habitude à de force sur l’exercice des sentimens, & influe sur la volonté. L’habitude prend un tel ascendant sur la conduite, que l’homme parvient a faire le bien sans effort sur lui-même, & sans s’appercevoir qu’il s’assujettit a des devoirs. La pratique des vertus fortifiée par l’habitude n’est point une gêne. L’homme est bien dédommagé de l’espèce de gêne qu’il éprouve souvent en contractant des habitudes, par la facilité avec laquelle il fait de bonnes actions. […]

CHAPTER VI Of the individual duties of man; of virtues, vices and of characters Article I Of virtues and virtuous qualities VI. Of sociability and of the virtues analogous to sociability [189] Charity and beneficence inspire the relinquishing of rights, while justice prescribes the conservation of rights. There are moralists who would like to reduce their science to a single principle, like many other savants do. They have proposed to found morality on justice. However, morality founded in that manner is incomplete. There are virtues that do not depend on strict and necessary duty. Men do not have a right to the exercise of all virtues on the part of others. However, all men have a right to the exercise of justice and analogous virtues. Justice is principally a virtue of reflection: it is only linked to the sentiment by the analogy that it can have with the love for the general good. Those philosophers who have founded justice, like other virtues, on a universal benevolence, and have attributed to that sentiment its origin, have stripped justice of one of its [190] principal properties, that of being one of the first products of human reason. Justice is founded principally on the observation of duties and the observation of duties is founded on the reciprocal rights of society. Yet, it is reason that develops those rights and those duties, and those men who know best how to perfect their reason are the ones who have the strongest claim to the title of being just. Justice is founded on the utility of society, and on the necessity of the determination of reciprocal rights and the safeguarding of those rights. The virtues that are necessary to the order of society are the ones that are most difficult to inculcate, because man does not always feel this necessity as forcefully: nature is more open to the sentiments. Scrupulousness and probity, together with chastity, are the virtues of which transgression is to be feared most. Nevertheless, however little the reasoning of some may be formed, it is reason from which an understanding has to derive about the necessity of justice, the observation of duties, of sincerity, innocence, probity and equity. For the practice of those virtues, a study of the sources of social rights

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is advantageous. The conservation of property, life and liberty are the principal ends of society. The rights of man are relative to his person and his possessions. Reciprocally, he can experience violations of his person and of his possessions. The rights of individuals [191] consist in the freedom to dispose of goods acquired by labour, through exchange, through gifts and inheritance,32 they consist CHAPITRE VI Des devoirs de l’homme en particulier ; des vertus, des vices, & des caracteres Article I Des vertus & des qualités vertueuses VI. De la sociabilité & des vertus analogues a la sociabilité [189] La charité & la bienfaisance inspirent l’abandon des droits, la justice prescrit la conservation des droits. Il est des moralistes qui voulant ramener leur science a un seul principe, ainsi que beaucoup d’autres savans, se sont propose de fonder la morale sur la justice. La morale ainsi établie est incomplette ; il est des vertus qui ne sont pas de devoir strict & nécessaire ; les hommes n’ont pas droit à l’exercice de toutes les vertus de la part des autres ; tous les hommes ont droit au contraire à l’exercice de la justice & des vertus qui y sont analogues. La justice est principalement une vertu de réflexion ; elle ne tient au sentiment que par l’analogie qu’elle peut avoir a l’amour du bien général. Les philosophes qui l’ont fondée, ainsi que les autres vertus, sur une bienveillance universelle, & qui lui ont assigné ce sentiment pour origine, lui ont ôté une de ses [190] principales propriétés, celle d’être un des premiers produits de la raison humaine. La justice est fondée principalement sur l’observation des devoirs, & l’observation des devoirs est fondée sur les droits réciproques de la société. Or c’est la raison qui développe ces droits & ces devoirs, & les hommes qui savent le mieux perfectionner leur raison, sont ceux qui ont les premiers droits au titre de justes. La justice est fondée sur l’utilité de la société, & sur la nécessité de la fixation des droits réciproques & de la conservation de ces droits. Les sentimens vertueux doivent souvent céder a la justice. Les vertus nécessaires à l’ordre de la société sont des plus difficiles a inculquer, parce que l’homme ne sent pas toujours avec la même force cette nécessité : la nature prête davantage aux sentimens. La délicatesse & la probité sont, ainsi que la chasteté, les vertus dont l’inobservation est le plus a craindre. Cependant pour peu que le raisonnement soit formé, la raison doit appercevoir la nécessité de la justice, de l’observation des devoirs, de la sincérité, de l’ingénuité, de la probité & de l'équité. Pour pratiquer ces vertus, il est avantageux d'étudier la source des droits sociaux. La conservation des propriétés, celles de la vie & de la liberté sont les buts principaux de la société. Les droits de l’homme sont relatifs a sa personne & relatifs a ses biens ; il peut réciproquement éprouver des torts dans sa personne & dans ses biens. Les droits des particuliers [191] consistent dans la liberté de disposer des biens acquis par le travail, par échange, par don ou par succession, dans la

At the origins of mathematical economics


in personal freedom, in the safeguarding of their body, in the enjoyment of moral possessions, like honour, reputation, esteem and respect, in the enjoyment of acquired prerogatives and the safeguarding of titles obtained from the state and [titles] of property. Society in general has rights, just like individuals, and those rights are founded in the same way as those of individuals. Society has a right to demand contributions to public expenses and submission to the law. Here we mean by society the native place that may be considered a town or community, or a province, or a sovereign state. Thus a citizen must contribute to the security and the prosperity of his community or his town in the debate of interests between that town and other towns or communities; he must contribute to the security and the prosperity of his province in the debate of interests between that province and other provinces of the same state or of another state; he must contribute to the security and prosperity of the state of which he is a member in the debate of interests between that state and foreign states. The sovereign has the right to demand respect, submission to laws that depend on sovereign authority, submission to his authority and obedience to the laws. This submission to the orders of the sovereign is far-reaching for the [192] representatives of the sovereign authority, while for subjects not in his employ it is limited to orders that relate to the laws. By transferring some of his power to his representatives, the sovereign also transfers rights of obedience to those with inferior or subordinate tasks. From this results subordination and this obedience or this inferior submission is relative to powers delegated by the sovereign to superiors. Besides this public subordination, there is also a private subordination necessary to order and government within a household. This subordination is divided into familial subordination and domestic subordination. For order within a household, like for social order in general, it is necessary that there is a head and a kind of private hierarchy between the head of the family and his wife and between them and the children or other relatives who live in the same unit. The sovereign, like the family head, has rights over the members of society, of the family or the household and reciprocally the subjects have a right to receive security, liberty and protection from the sovereign. The representatives and servants of the sovereign have a lesser right to liberty of their person than subjects not in his employ. But the former have a right to salaries and rewards relative to their offices. The members of a family and a household have a right to liberty, security and protection from the head of the family. The members [193] of a family also have a right to maintenance relative to their rank and to the wealth of the family head who is the administrator of goods. The domestic servants have a right to wages that have been agreed and to rewards relative to their services. Rights of liberty vary a lot in scope and depend on age within a family, on distinctions between occupations and the nature of occupations: liberté de leur personne, dans la conservation de leur corps, dans la jouissance des biens moraux, tels que l’honneur, la reputation, l’estime & le respect, dans la jouissance des prerogatives acquises, dans la conservation des titres d’état & de propriété. La société en général a des droits ainsi que les particuliers, & ces droits sont fondés ainsi que ceux des particuliers. La société à droit d’exiger la contribution aux charges publiques & la soumission aux loix.

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Nous entendons ici par la société la patrie considérée, soit comme ville ou communauté, soit comme province, soit comme souverain ; ainsi un citoyen doit contribuer a la sûreté & à la prospérité de sa communauté ou de sa ville, dans le débat des intérêts entre cette ville & d’autres villes ou communautés quelconques ; il doit contribuer à la sûreté & a la prospérité de sa province dans le débat des intérêts entre cette province & d’autres provinces d’un même état, ou d’un état different; il doit contribuer à la sûreté & à la prospérité de l'état dont il est membre dans le débat des intérêts entre cet état & les états étrangers. Le souverain à droit d’exiger le respect, la soumission aux loix qui dépendent de l’autorité souveraine, la soumission a son autorité & l’obéissance à ses ordres donnés pour l’exécution des loix. Cette soumission aux ordres du souverain est d’une grande étendue pour les [192] mandataires de l’autorité souveraine, tandis qu’elle se borne aux ordres relatifs à l’exécution des loix pour les sujets libres d’emploi. Le souverain en transmettant une partie de son pouvoir a ses mandataires, leur transmet aussi des droits a l’obéissance de ceux qui ont des emplois inférieurs ou subalternes ; il en résulte la subordination, & cette obéissance ou cette soumission inférieure est relative aux pouvoirs qui sont donnés par le souverain aux supérieurs. Outre cette subordination publique, il est encore une subordination particulière qui est nécessaire pour l’ordre & le gouvernement intérieurs d’une maison ; cette subordination se divise en subordination de famille & en subordination domestique. Pour l’ordre intérieur d’une maison, ainsi que pour l’ordre social en général, il est nécessaire qu’il y ait un chef & une espèce d’hiérarchie particuliére du chef de famille à sa femme, d’eux aux enfans ou aux autres parens qui vivent dans la même communion. Le souverain, ainsi que le chef de famille, ont des droits sur les membres de la société & de la famille ou de la maison, & réciproquement les sujets ont droit d’obtenir du souverain sûreté, liberté & protection. Les mandataires & serviteurs de la souveraineté ont de moindres droits à la liberté des personnes que les sujets sans emploi; mais ils ont droit aux salaires & recompenses relatives a leurs fonctions. Les membres d’une famille & d’une maison ont droit a la liberté, à la sûreté, à la protection de la part du chef de famille ; les membres [193] de la famille ont encore droit à l’entretien relatif a leur rang & a la fortune du chef de famille administrateur des biens; les domestiques ou serviteurs ont des droits a leurs salaires tels qu’ils sont convenus, & aux recompenses relatives à leurs services. Les droits à la liberté varient beaucoup d'étendue suivant Page dans une famille, suivant la distinction des états & suivant la nature des the liberty of a valet is less than that of a secretary. There are occupations of which the activities are not subject to an annual and continuous service, such as those that are called the liberal arts, like the occupations of the artist and the lawyer. The liberty of those occupations really exists only during the period when the citizen does not undertake any activity; but as soon as he commits himself to fulfilling some service he commits a part of his liberty. Man commits his rights through promises, through oaths, he also commits his goods and parts of his liberty, and citizens also acquire rights by receiving commitments of that kind. Individuals of a society only have a right to esteem and consideration on the basis of their conduct and their personal qualities. However, since the inequality in wealth and position in society establish necessarily an inequality in conditions, citizens placed in

At the origins of mathematical economics


superior ranks have a right to the respect and consideration from inferiors in terms of rank. Reciprocally, inferiors have rights to the kindness and protection of superiors. [194] Old age bestows rights of consideration and respect from younger people, because of the experience, the insights, and the care with which, it may be assumed, the preceding generation transmits social goods to the new generation. Society subsists through the reciprocal safeguarding of those various rights, and through it there exists in society an order that is essential to its conservation and prosperity. Since every member is interested in its conservation and prosperity, every member should assist in the safeguarding of rights, and the sum total of rights that are to be safeguarded constitutes for each individual the sum total of his duties or obligations. Stated in the most general terms, justice is the virtue that leads to the general safeguarding of public, sovereign and individual rights. One is obliged by justice, as well as by beneficence, to give succour to suffering humanity. This succour consists of reciprocal duties, because they are urgent. There are authors who pretend that the happiest state would be that of a government where there would not be any [private] property. Only by supposing that goods appear and are produced without labour could such a government be imagined. However, it follows from the necessity of human labour that property in goods is necessary, and justice among men is exposed most to lapses and corruption when it comes to the safeguarding of possessions. [195] Public and private education should put all its efforts into the cultivation of this virtue and into the inculcation of all analogous [virtues]. Sincerity, candour, fairness and truthfulness are the most certain marks of justness of mind and of the justice of reason. A loss of those virtues can only result in violation of the rights of others. As soon as man is thoroughly penetrated by and convinced of the need to respect those virtues, he is sincere, candid, fair, true and truthful. He obtains public and private confidence états : la liberté d’un valet est moindre que celle d’un secrétaire. Il est des états dont les fonctions ne sont pas assujetties a un service annuel & constant, tels que ceux que l’on appelle états libres, l’état d’un artiste & l’état d’un avocat : la liberté de ces états ne subsiste réellement que pour le moment où le citoyen ne se charge d’aucune fonction ; mais dès qu’il s’engage à rendre des services quelconques, il engage une partie de sa liberté. L’homme engage ses droits par des promesses, par des sermens, il engage ainsi ses biens & des parties de sa liberté, & les citoyens acquièrent encore des droits en recevant des engagemens de cette espèce. Les particuliers d’une société n’ont droit a l’estime & à la consideration qu’en raison de leur conduite & de leurs qualités personnelles ; mais l’inégalité des richesses & les fonctions de la société établissant nécessairement une inégalité dans les conditions, les citoyens places dans les rangs supérieurs ont des droits au respect & aux égards des inférieurs en raison de leurs rangs ; par réciprocité les inférieurs ont des droits a la bienveillance & à la protection des supérieurs. [194] La vieillesse acquiert des droits à la consideration, & au respect des jeunes gens, par son experience, par ses lumières, par les soins qu’on doit supposer qu’elle a pris de transmettre les biens sociaux de la generation qui l’a précédée à celle qui commence. C’est par la conservation réciproques de ces différens droits que la société subsiste & qu’il existe dans la société un ordre essentiel a sa conservation & a sa prospérité. Chaque membre étant intéressé à cette conservation & à cette prospérité, chaque membre doit

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concourir a la conservation des droits, & la somme des droits a conserver forme pour chaque particulier la somme de ses devoirs, ou de ses obligations. La justice est, dans son expression la plus générale, la vertu qui porte à la conservation générale des droits publics, souverains & particuliers. Il est des secours a rendre a l’humanité souffrante auxquels on est autant oblige par justice que par bienfaisance. Ces secours sont des devoirs réciproques, parce qu’ils sont urgens. Il y a des auteurs qui prétendent que l’état le plus heureux seroit celui d’un gouvernement où il n’y auroit point de propriété. Un tel gouvernement ne pourroit être suppose qu’en supposant aussi que tous les biens de l’homme naissent & sont produits sans travail. Il suit de la nécessité du travail des hommes, la nécessité de la propriété des biens, & c’est dans la conservation de ces biens que la justice des hommes est le plus exposée à faillir [195] & a dégénérer en vice. L’éducation publique & particulière doit donner tous ses soins a cultiver cette vertu & a l’inculquer aux hommes avec toutes celles qui lui sont analogues. La sincérité, la franchise, la loyauté & la véracité sont les marques les plus certaines de la justesse de l’esprit & de la justice de la raison. On ne perd ces vertus que pour attenter aux droits des autres ; & dès que l’homme est bien pénétré & convaincu de la nécessité de les respecter, il est sincere, franc, loyal, vrai & véridique, il obtient la confiance publique & particulière, and acquires the reputation of a man who is worthy of himself. Truthfulness takes care of the safeguarding of the rights of man and by receiving respect, it reinforces justice. Someone who conducts his business candidly and fairly encounters a great ease in doing business because of the trust he engenders. Someone who has acquired a reputation of candour and fairness through the repetition of virtuous acts will encounter an even greater ease, because he finds that his reputation is well established. Someone who is natural and open and who is recognised as such in society has fewer obstacles to overcome in business, because he is exempted from having to dispel distrust. Candour and truthfulness often diminish violations of rights. Ingenuity, naivety and candour of the mind belong almost as much to the sentiments as to reflection and they are [196] in a sensitive mind the natural effect of sincerity. One can distinguish three classes of duties corresponding to the three principal classes of rights that we have distinguished: there are duties towards individuals, towards society in general and towards the sovereign. The duties towards individuals consist of the respect for property, of the respect that is due physically and morally for persons and which is relative to their ranks, and of the respect for the life and the liberty of co-citizens and foreigners with whom one is not at war. The duties towards society consist of the observation of laws and the contributions towards public expenses and to communal defence. The duties towards the sovereign authority, whether it is composed of several members or whether it is monarchical, consist of submission to its authority, of the respect for his person, considered physically and morally, and for his family, or for the persons who compose the sovereign body, and of respect for the representatives of the sovereign. Any transgression of those duties is an offence or a crime. Between the lightest offence and the gravest crime there are nuances of faults that vary according to the degree of the obligation of the duties transgressed. Although it is one of the first duties of a citizen not to violate the life and the liberty of another citizen, nevertheless someone who attacks loses his rights as citizen. Hence [197]

At the origins of mathematical economics


it is permitted to any person to defend his life when he is attacked and in danger. However, if of two men whose life is in danger it is necessary that one of them perishes, does justice permit one to sacrifice the other, however great the interest of each of them to do so? I do not think so, because it is better to die than to commit a crime. Life becomes a burden to the virtuous man when it is bought by a barbarous act or by a transgression of the principal laws of society. Justice can be considered as commutative and as distributive: in the first case it relates to the interests of citizens in the ordinary business of life; in the second case it relates to the interests of citizens in dispute. In the first case it is analogous to probity; in the second case it is analogous to equity. Probity itself is analogous to uprightness, to good faith, to honour, to honesty, & acquiert la reputation d’un homme digne de foi. La vérité veille à la conservation des droits de l’homme & en recevant ses hommages, elle les reporte vers la justice. Celui qui met de la franchise & de la loyauté dans les affaires qu’il traite trouve une grande facilité a terminer les affaires par la confiance qu’il obtient. Celui qui a acquis la reputation de franchise & de loyauté par la repetition des actes de ces vertus, trouve une plus grande facilité encore, parce qu’il trouve une confiance toute établie. Celui qui est naturel & ouvert & qui est reconnu pour tel dans la société, a moins d’obstacles a surmonter dans les affaires en ce qu’il est dispense d’écarter la méfiance. La franchise & la véracité diminuent souvent les torts. L’ingénuité, la naïveté, la candeur d’ame tiennent presque autant au sentiment qu’à la réflexion, & sont [196] dans une ame sensible l’effet naturel de la sincérité. On peut établir trois classes de devoirs a raison des trois principales classes de droits que nous avons distingués : il est des devoirs relativement aux particuliers, relativement à la société en général, relativement au souverain. Les devoirs relativement aux particuliers consistent dans le respect des propriétés, dans les égards dûs physiquement & moralement aux personnes en raison de leurs rangs, dans le respect de la vie & de la liberté des concitoyens, & des étrangers avec qui l’on n’est point en guerre ; relativement à la société, ils consistent dans l’observation des loix & dans les contributions aux dépenses publiques & à la defense commune ; relativement au souverain, soit qu’il soit compose de plusieurs membres, soit qu’il soit monarchique, les devoirs consistent dans la soumission a son autorité, dans le respect de la personne considérée physiquement & moralement & de sa famille, ou des personnes qui composent le corps souverain, dans le respect des mandataires du souverain. Toute transgression de ces devoirs est un tort ou un crime. Depuis le tort le plus léger jusqu’au crime le plus grave, il est des nuances de fautes qui varient suivant le degré d’obligation des devoirs transgressés. Quoique ce soit un des premiers devoirs d’un citoyen de ne point attenter à la vie & a la liberté des citoyens ; cependant celui qui attaque perd ses droits de citoyen ; dès-lors [197] il est permis a tout homme de défendre sa vie, lorsqu’elle est attaquée & en danger. Mais si de deux hommes dont la vie est en danger, il est nécessaire que l’un périsse, quelqu’intéressé que soit chacun de ces hommes a sacrifier l’autre, la justice lui permetelle de le faire pour survivre ? C’est ce que je ne crois pas : car il vaut mieux mourir que de commettre un crime. La vie devient un fardeau pour l’homme vertueux, lorsqu’il l’a rachetée par une barbaric ou par une transgression des loix principales de la société. La justice peut être considérée comme commutative ou comme distributive : dans le premier cas elle est relative aux intérêts des citoyens dans les commerce ordinaire de la

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vie ; dans le second cas elle est relative aux intérêts des citoyens en contestation. Dans le premier cas elle est analogue à la probité ; dans le second cas elle est analogue à l’équité. La probité est elleto scrupulousness and to faithfulness in agreements. Equity is analogous to impartiality, incorruptibility, integrity and to respect for property. Probity is the exact observance of the rules of justice. It is an internal sentiment through which the mind by observing its past actions does not find any that were contrary to justice, and through which the mind has the firm resolution to never go against those rules. Honour is for people of the highest rank a sentiment that is analogous to what probity is in the class of people who are [198] engaged in the production of wealth. Honour is the sentiment of probity, but more purified and subject to particular rules of refinement. Honour is for the nobles what probity is for the people. The former sentiment finds its sanction in the chastisements that society imposes on those who fall short of it; the latter is necessary in trade and in contracts from which the people derive all their advantages. The principal motives of probity are the trust that one needs, the esteem that one desires, and internal satisfaction. The trust that is needed by men is in the making of decisions not a goal that is as imaginary as public esteem seems to be, and is more responsible for the honesty of men. The three principal causes that make probity necessary are the interest of man in inspiring trust with the aim of the advancement and prosperity of his civil business, the interest of man in meriting the esteem and the recognition of society with the aim of the conservation of the social order, and the satisfaction that the virtuous man experiences through the exact observance of the rules of conduct which will lead him to true happiness in life, or the approval of his conscience. Probity has to be observed in the interior and exterior affairs of the state, as well as in private affairs. The reason of state does not legitimise injustice. Probity and good faith extend up to scrupulousness, when the laws of justice are observed most rigorously and [199] when the laws of property are observed most scrupulously. A merchant, for example, who discloses all the circumstances that may affect the price of the object put up for sale, shows a probity that takes the title of scrupulousness. A scrupulous man does justice to all people who co-operate in the success of an enterprise or the actions from which he receives the fruits. A scrupulous man does not attempt to pin the blame of an unjust acquisition on others. The laws of scrupulousness demand a certain study during one’s youth. This is an easy study, since honest men who are placed in the highest ranks of society know those laws perfectly. Scrupulousness can be carried to the highest degree of disinterestedness. It goes as far as refusal of benefits, and to being feeling humiliated by receive them. Such scrupulousness sometimes derives from pride. Faithfulness in agreements is the virtue that most distinguishes and characterises the honest or reliable man. It is of the greatest necessity in everyday même analogue à la droiture, à la bonne foi, à l’honneur, à l’honnêteté, à la délicatesse, à la fidélité dans les engagemens. L’équité est analogue a l’impartialité, a l’incorruptibilité, à l’intégrité, au respect pour la propriété. La probité est l’exacte observation des règies de la justice : c’est un sentiment intérieur par lequel l’ame en examinant ses actions passées n’en trouve aucune qui soit contraire aux règies de justice, & par lequel l’ame à la ferme resolution de ne jamais déroger a ces

At the origins of mathematical economics


règies. L’honneur est pour les gens de la première classe un sentiment analogue a celui de la probité dans la classe des hommes dont les [198] travaux sont employés à la production des richesses. L’honneur est le sentiment de la probité plus épuré & assujetti a des règies particulières de délicatesse. L’honneur est pour les nobles, ce qu’est la probité pour le peuple. Le premier sentiment trouve sa sanction dans les châtimens que la société inflige a ceux qui y dérogent; l’autre est nécessaire dans le commerce & les traités dont le peuple tire tous ses profits. Les principaux motifs de la probité sont la confiance dont on à besoin, l’estime que l’on desire & la satisfaction intérieure. La confiance dont les hommes ont besoin n’est pas dans les determinations un but aussi imaginaire que le paroît l’estime publique, & fait plus d’honnêtes gens. Les trois principales causes qui rendent la probité nécessaire, sont l’intérêt qu’à l’homme d’inspirer la confiance pour l’avancement & la prospérité de ses affaires civiles, l’intérêt qu’il a de mériter l’estime & la reconnoissance de la société en faveur de la conservation de l’ordre social, & la satisfaction que l’homme vertueux éprouve par l’exacte observation des règies de conduite qui doivent le mener au vrai bonheur de la vie, ou le témoignage intérieur de sa conscience. La probité doit être observée dans les affaires intérieures & extérieures de l’état, ainsi que dans les affaires particulières. La raison d’état ne légitime pas l’injustice. La probité & la bonne foi s’étendent jusqu’à la délicatesse, lorsqu’elles observent les loix de la justice avec la plus severe rigueur, & lorsqu’elles [199] observent les loix de la propriété avec le plus grand scrupule. Un marchand, par exemple, qui declare toutes les circonstances qui peuvent établir le prix de la chose exposée en vente est d’une probité qui prend le titre de délicatesse. Un homme délicat rend justice a tous ceux qui ont coopéré au succès d’une entreprise ou des actions dont il recueille le fruit. Un homme délicat ne cherche point a faire tomber sur d’autres le blame d’une acquisition injuste. Les loix de la délicatesse demandent une certaine étude pendant la jeunesse; cette étude est facile, parce que les honnêtes gens places dans les premiers rangs de la société les connoissent parfaitement. La délicatesse est portée jusqu’au plus grand désintéressement; elle va jusqu’à refuser des bienfaits, jusqu’à être humiliée d’en recevoir. Cette délicatesse derive quelque fois de l’orgueil. Le fidélité dans les engagemens est la vertu qui distingue le plus & caractérise l’honnête homme ou l’homme sûr. Elle est de la plus grande nécessité business. Man has to keep his promises in order to merit trust and public esteem. […] Article II Of vices and of depraved qualities IV. Of unsociability and of vices analogous to unsociability [239] Someone who relates all his actions to his personal interest, who does not care at all about the interests of others is normally ungrateful and ignorant, because the habit of completely neglecting the interests of others normally extinguishes and the destroys the natural faculties for producing virtuous sentiments.

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The egoist tries to enjoy the advantages of society without contributing to its costs. He is so accustomed to calculating the result of all his actions that his mind is committed to calculation when nature is about to produce a sentiment. The sentiments lose out through detrimental habits. Egoism is a self-love that is so exaggerated that it extinguishes most of the virtuous sentiments and so blind that it neglects the interest of society that is necessary to his personal interest. Not all men who are motivated by self-love are at the same time egoists. Someone who is led by self-love to prefer the happiness that social virtues procure to the gratification of his physical and momentary interest is not egoistic, but virtuous and sociable. The egoist occupies himself with his own interest without suspecting that his fellow citizens can work with him for his happiness, and without cooperating in the happiness of his like. Crossing a river with his like the egoist leaves the group in order to swim more comfortably, the social man swims with the group and sometimes takes the hand of his [240] brothers.i The egoist only knows personal virtues. When he practices social virtues, it is because he instantly perceives their utility. The egoist is self-sufficient. A man should not try to be self-sufficient except in circumstances in which he has to avoid depraved societies, otherwise he cannot share his pleasures with the members of virtuous societies and let them multiply together. The egoist does not know how to constrain himself for anybody else: he always chooses to enjoy himself. Egoism destroys the bonds of society that are produced by the virtuous sentiments. It has been confused erroneously with self-love, which has been considered as the only principle of moral decisions. The virtuous sentiments i Eastern Fable of S.Lambert [Jean-François de Saint Lambert (1716–1803), Les Saisons Amsterdam [Paris], 1769. The ‘Eastern Fables’ form the final section of this work (pp. 325–98)].

dans le commerce de la vie. L’homme doit remplir ses promesses pour mériter la confiance & l’estime publique. […] Article II Des vices & des qualités vicieuses IV. De l’insociabilité & des vices analogues a l’insociabilité [239] Celui qui rapporte toutes ses actions a son intérêt personnel, qui ne s’occupe point de l’intérêt des autres, est ordinairement ingrat ou méconnoissant, parce l’habitude de négliger absolument l’intérêt des autres éteint ordinairement & détruit les facultés déterminées par la nature pour produire des sentimens vertueux. L’égoiste pretend jouir des avantages de la société sans contribuer a ses charges ; il s’accoutume tellement a calculer le produit de toutes ses actions que son esprit se porte au calcul, lorsque la nature se prepare à produire un sentiment. Les sentimens se perdent par des habitudes contraires. L’égoisme est un amour de soi tellement exagéré qu’il éteint la plûpart des sentimens vertueux, & tellement aveuglé qu’il néglige l’intérêt de la société nécessaire a son intérêt personnel. Tous les hommes mûs par l’amour de soi ne sont pas cependant égoistes. Celui que l’amour de soi porte a préférer le bonheur que procurent les vertus sociales aux jouissances qu’il est de son intérêt physique ou momentané de se

At the origins of mathematical economics


procurer n’est pas égoiste, mais vertueux & sociable. L’égoiste s’occupe de ses intérêts sans songer que ses concitoyens peuvent concourir avec lui a son bonheur, & sans coopérer au bonheur de ses semblables. En traversant un fleuve avec ses semblables l’égoiste s’écarte de la troupe pour nager plus commodément; l’homme social nage avec la troupe & tend quelquefois la main a ses [240] frères.(i) L’égoiste ne connoît que les vertus personnelles. Lorsqu’il pratique les vertus sociales, c’est qu’il en apperçoit directement l’utilité. L'égoiste se suffit a lui-même. Un homme ne doit chercher a se suffir a soi-même que dans les circonstances où il lui est nécessaire d’éviter les sociétés vicieuses, où il ne peut joindre ses plaisirs à ceux des sociétés vertueuses, & accroître les uns par les autres. L’égoiste ne sait point se contraindre en faveur de qui que soit: il prend ses aises partout. L’égoiste détruit les liens sociaux que produisent les sentimens vertueux. On l’a confondu mal-à-propos avec l’amour de soi que l’on a regardé comme le seul principe des determinations morales. Les sentimens vertueux ne sont (i) Fable orientale de S.Lambert.

are not as calculated and produce more virtuous actions than self-love. Egoism is an exclusive self-love. Incivility, impoliteness, dishonesty, coldness and inflexibility are the principal vices of the egoist. An uncivil person lacks the mutual regard of society, received customs, forms that are established to show those regards. He listens without paying attention, he gives the impression of being bored while listening, he does not know how to hide disagreeable views. One is dishonest, often without the intention of being it, through a habit of harsh, dry and surly behaviour, through misplaced or badly chosen expressions. [241] An influential man is uncivil when he is impenetrable and prohibitive, and this incivility is perhaps as much due to a harshness of character as to an egoism that is little concerned with the interests of others. Greed or an excessive desire of goods and wealth normally accompanies exclusive self-love or egoism. The desire for goods and wealth seems excessive when in order to satisfy it one sacrifices some of the sentiments that give rise to public consideration and the love of fellow citizens or reciprocity. Greed normally produces avarice, cupidity, covetousness, a passion for gambling, and immoderate ambition. The miser devotes himself passionately to the love of gold and silver for the pleasure of looking at it. By denying himself necessary things he not only harms himself. He also prevents his family from making expenditures that are in keeping with their position. He neglects the needs of his wife and children. He refuses to help his friends; the love of gold extinguishes in him any charitable feeling. When he gives he seems to take back with one hand what he gives with the other. His expenditures betray stinginess or sordid economising. He rather lives in deprivation than to maintain a state that conforms to his birth, his rank and his wealth. The miser is rarely generous to the wellbeing of others. Cupidity is an augmentation or an excess of avidity: this vice leads to the sacrifice of honour, glory, a distinguished rank and public consideration for gain and profit, it urges the sacrifice [242] of an honourable state to a lucrative state. Cupidity is one of the causes of the deprivation of morals. Public cupidity influences individuals. When one sees in the great and good an immoderate passion for the acquisition of wealth, a taste for financial

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enterprises and lucrative projects, when government renders cupidity less odious by encouraging it in certain classes of society and by allowing the growth of that vice in the capital, when it spreads to the highest classes whose distinction is based more on great sentiments than on the enjoyment of wealth, then that vice will soon become general in society and will produce other vices and the corruption of morals. Partly, cupidity often finds an excuse in the means that it suggests to the public administration. Cupidity leads by an indiscernible slide to injustice: when one is extremely avid and interested it is easy to covet the goods of others. The reflection that is necessary to the establishment of equity and the observation of obligations does not enter the mind when it is agitated by the thirst for gold. That vice has made so many inroads due to a false idea of the benefits of pas aussi calculateurs, & produisent plus d’actions vertueuses que l’amour de soi. L’égoisme est un amour de soi exclusif. L’incivilité, l’impolitesse, la malhonnêteté, la sécheresse, la roideur sont les vices principaux de l’égoiste. L’incivil manque aux égards mutuels de la société, aux usages reçus, aux formes établies pour témoigner ces égards, il écoute sans attention, il donne des marques d’ennui en écoutant, il ne sait point dissimuler ce qu’il pense de désagréable. Souvent sans intention d'être malhonnête, on l’est par l’habitude des façons roides, sèches & bourrues, par des expressions déplacées ou mal choisies. [241] L’homme en place se rend incivil lorsqu’il est impenetrable & inabordable, & cette incivilité tient peut-être autant a une dureté de caractère, qu’à un égoisme qui s’occupe peu des intérêts d’autrui. Une avidité ou un désir excessif de biens & de richesses accompagne ordinairement l’amour de soi exclusif ou l’égoisme. Le désir des biens & des richesses paroît excessif, lorsqu’on sacrifie, pour le satisfaire, une partie des sentimens propres a obtenir la consideration publique, & l’amour des concitoyens ou la réciprocité. L’avidité produit ordinairement l’avarice, la cupidité, la convoitise, la passion du jeu, l’ambition démesurée. L’avare se livre passionnément a l’amour de For & de l’argent pour le plaisir de les avoir sous les yeux. En se refusant le nécessaire, il ne nuit qu’à lui; mais il refuse à sa famille les dépenses qui conviennent à son rang; il néglige les besoins de sa femme, de ses enfans ; il refuse des secours nécessaires a ses amis; son amour de l’or éteint en lui tout sentiment de bienfaisance ; s’il donne, il semble retenir d’une main ce qu’il donne de l’autre ; ses dépenses portent l’empreinte de la lésine ou d’une épargne sordide ; il aime mieux vivre dans la crapule que de tenir un état conforme a sa naissance, a son rang & à sa fortune. L’avare est quelquefois généreux du bien d’autrui. La cupidité est une augmentation ou un surcroît d’avidité : ce vice fait sacrifier l’honneur, la gloire, un rang distingué, la consideration publique au gain, au profit, engage a sacrifier [242] un état honorable a un état lucratif. La cupidité est une des causes de la dépravation des mœurs. La cupidité publique se communique aux particuliers. Lorsque l’on voit dans les grands une passion immodérée d’acquérir des richesses, le goût des entreprises financières, des projets lucratifs; lorsque le gouvernement en favorisant la cupidité de quelques classes de la société & en multipliant ce vice dans une capitale, le rends moins odieux, l’étend jusqu’aux premières classes dont la distinction est plutôt fondée sur les grands sentimens, que sur la jouissance des richesses, ce vice devient bientôt général, il en produit d’autres, & les mœurs se corrompent. La cupidité

At the origins of mathematical economics


trouve souvent en partie son excuse dans les moyens que lui suggère l’administration publique. La cupidité mène par une pente insensible a l’injustice : lorsque l’on est extrêmement avide & intéressé, il est facile de convoiter le bien d’autrui. La réflexion nécessaire a produire l’équité & l’observation des devoirs a peu d’accès dans l’esprit, lorsqu’il est agité par la soif de l’or. C’est par la fausse idée que l’on à des richesses que ce vice fait le plus de progrès. Le désir wealth. An immoderate desire of wealth makes the soul venal and extinguishes a great part of the distinguished sentiments. The more one reflects about wealth, and the more one observes the private and public life of the rich, the more one realises that wealth does not give happiness. Prosperity and virtues together give happiness. A government that diminishes the prosperity of the citizens through an unjust administration, through a misdirected distribution [243] of offices and remunerations, of expenditures and contributions, contributes to the corruption of morals. The increase in the number of unmarried people, which is the result of the decrease in prosperity, leads to an increase in debauchery. Once cupidity is spread among the highest classes of society and has established a disproportionate inequality of wealth, the discomfort of the middling classes and the lower classes becomes greater and greater, through the power that the rich obtain over prices, through the advantages they obtain in the markets, and through the luxury they establish. What sustains among the great and good this cupidity that is fatal for the morals and for society? It is primarily the love of power: because a twentieth of the fortune of a noble would suffice to buy a house and goods that satisfy all his senses. But cupidity is not limited to personal enjoyments, it also embraces the wealth of a numerous court. The insolence of a noble takes pride in enrichment and in keeping a large number of people in his dependence. In the middle of this court the great sustain vices that favour cupidity, and by softening and overexciting themselves with pleasures and conveniences they become incapable of the great sentiments which produce felicity rather than gold and silver. Cupidity and denatured sentiments are sometimes such that one desires the death of one’s parents from whom one is to inherit. immodéré des richesses rend l’ame vénale, éteint une grande partie des sentimens distingués. Plus on réfléchit sur les richesses, & plus on observe la vie privée & publique des riches, plus on reconnoît que les richesses ne font pas la félicité. L’aisance & les vertus procurent la félicité. Le gouvernement qui diminue l’aisance des citoyens par une administration injuste, par des répartitions mal [243] dirigées des emplois, des recompenses, des dépenses & des contributions, contribue a la corruption des mœurs. La multiplication des célibataires par les effets de la diminution d’aisance produit l’accroissement de la débauche. Lorsque la cupidité a gagné les premières classes de la société, & à établi une inégalité des richesses très-disproportionnée, la gêne des classes moyennes & des classes inférieures en devient de plus en plus considerable, par l’empire que les riches acquièrent sur les prix, par les preferences qu’ils obtiennent dans les marches, & par le luxe qu’ils établissent. Qu’est-ce qui soutient dans les grands cette cupidité fatale aux mœurs & a la société ? C’est principalement l’amour du pourvoir : car la vingtième partie de la fortune d’un grand suffiroit pour lui procurer une maison & des jouissances propres a satisfaire tous les sens ; mais la cupidité ne se borne pas aux jouissances personnelles, elle embrasse encore les richesses d’une cour nombreuse. L’orgueil d’un grand se flatte d’enrichir & de trainer a sa suite un grand nombre

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d’hommes sous sa dépendance. C’est au sein de cette cour que les grands sont entretenus dans les vices favorables à la cupidité, & qu’en s’amollissant & s’énervant dans les plaisirs & les commodités, ils deviennent incapables des grands sentimens qui produisent plus de félicité que For & l’argent. La cupidité & les sentimens dénaturés sont quelquefois tels que l’on desire la mort des parens dont on doit hériter.

Replies to the principal objections that can be made against a single tax March 1789 [6] FIRST ARTICLE Of the equity of a single contribution taken from the revenues of proprietors or the entrepreneurs of agriculture, industry and commerce A single contribution taken from the revenues of proprietors or the entrepreneurs of agriculture, industry or commerce, that is to say, taken from the total product after the costs of production have been deducted, is the most simple idea that presents itself, when one proposes to take a share of private expenditures as a contribution to public expenditures. This simple and luminous idea has been rejected on the basis of pretended difficulties of execution, and fiscal resourcefulness founded on the art of hiding from men what does not please them. But when a great Nation opens its eyes to its interests, when the abuse of resources has been pushed to the limit, when all the most irregular means have been tried to subject it to taxes, when it itself recognises the necessity to pay taxes [7] and to spend in an orderly way, it should turn to the simplest and most just means to support public revenue. Any man who has inherited, or who possesses by any other way, productive funds that can be applied to agriculture, industry or commerce, any man who has received from nature or through education the ability to produce useful things or useful qualities that can be applied to the production of all objects that men demand for enjoyment and consumption, owes, after deducting the costs made in production, a proportional part of his individual revenue to the public revenues. It is rather essential that this deduction of costs is made: someone who produces ten muids of wine1 at a cost of fifty écus2 should not contribute the same as someone who produces ten muids of wine of the same quality at a cost of one hundred livres. Tax should therefore not be levied on the total product, but on the product after costs have been deducted, or on what in the total production constitutes the revenue.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Réponses aux principales objections a faire contre l’impôt unique Mars 1789 [6] ARTICLE PREMIER De l'équité d’une Contribution unique sur les revenus des Propriétaires ou Chefs d’entreprise de la Culture, de l’Industrie & du Commerce Une contribution unique sur les revenus des propriétaires ou chefs d’entreprise de la culture, de l’industrie ou du commerce, c’est-à-dire, sur le produit total, deduction faite des frais de production, est l’idée la plus simple qui se présente, lorsque l’on propose de prendre une part sur les dépenses particulieres pour contribuer aux dépenses publiques. De prétendues difficultés d’exécution, les ressources du génie fiscal, fondées sur l’art de cacher aux hommes ce qui leur déplait, ont fait rejeter cette idée simple & lumineuse; mais lorsqu’une grande Nation ouvre ses yeux sur ses intérêts, lorsque l’abus des ressources a etc porté a un point extreme, lorsqu’on a comblé tous les moyens les plus irréguliers d’asservir ses facultés contributives, lorsqu’elle reconnoît elle-même la nécessité de contribuer [7] & de dépenser avec ordre, elle doit avoir recours aux moyens les plus simples & les plus justes de fonder le revenu public. Tout homme qui a reçu de ses ancêtres, ou qui posséde d’une maniere quelconque des fonds productifs propres à la culture, a l’industrie ou au commerce, tout homme qui a reçu de la nature, ou par son education, des moyens de produire des choses usuelles ou des qualités usuelles propres a former tous les objets de jouissances ou de consommations que recherchent les hommes, après avoir prélevé les frais qu’il a faits pour produire, doit au revenu public une part proportionnelle sur son revenu particulier. Ce prélevement des frais est bien essentiel a observer : celui qui produit dix muids de vin avec cinquante écus de frais, & celui qui produit dix muids de vin d’une même qualité avec cent livres de frais, ne doivent pas contribuer également. Ce n’est done pas sur le produit total que doit être perçu l’impôt, mais sur le produit, deduction faite des frais, ou sur ce qui, dans la production totale, constitue le revenu. Since commodities or products of different kinds enter into the costs of production, a relation of homogeneity has to be given to those commodities or products that allows them to be compared to one another. This relation is obtained from the values those commodities or products obtain in exchange, or from the comparison made between all commodities or products to one commodity, which serves as common measure. […]

[17] ARTICLE IV Of the land tax One hears it said everywhere that a land tax should be established, but I do not think that all those who advance this proposition have the same idea in mind. Because, by a land tax one can mean a tax in natura, like the dîme of the church,3 or like the tax on the total product of the harvests proposed by Marshal de Vauban.4 [18] One can also mean a

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money tax on the total product of the harvests, or one can mean a tax on the revenue of the land, that is, on the product after deduction of the costs of production. The first and second are unjust, for reasons that we have given: if one does not deduct the costs of production and charges a uniform portion of the total product, like for example a tenth of the total product, whilst the costs of production differ, the collection will be very uneven and consequently very unjust. The first kind of tax would expose the Nation to a new class of tax farmers who, through authorised exclusion, would have the ability to create all the nuisances of monopoly and exorbitant increases in personal wealth, which the Nation would soon regret. The third [kind of land tax] is part of the general tax that we have proposed. But it would be unjust if, as some political writers propose, the tax on the net product of the land would be the only tax levied in a nation. We believe it necessary to prove this. The system of those political writers is [19] appealing as it presents the simplest and least costly method of collection possible. It is appealing because it is supported with calculations. It is appealing because several thinkers have undertaken to advocate it. It is appealing because it has been attacked with sarcasm, and sarcasm does not destroy reasoning and calculations. If one has some experience of how public judgement is formed, one easily understands how these appealing factors are suited to making proselytes among men whose opinions are often guided more by esteem than by conviction. Comme dans les frais de production il entre des marchandises ou productions de différentes especes, pour donner a ces marchandises ou [8] productions un rapport d’homogénéité qui puisse les faire comparer entre elles, on obtient ce rapport par les valeurs que ces marchandises ou productions acquierent dans les échanges, ou par la comparaison que l’on fait de toutes les marchandises ou productions a une marchandise qui sert de mesure commune. […] [17] ARTICLE IV De l’Impôt territorial On entend dire de toutes parts qu’il faut établir l’impôt territorial, mais je ne crois pas que tous ceux qui avancent cette proposition ayent une même opinion ; car par l’impôt territorial on peut entendre un impôt en nature, comme la dîme ecclésiastique, ou comme l’impôt propose par le Maréchal de Vauban [18] sur le produit total des récoltes; on peut entendre aussi un impôt en argent sur le produit total des récoltes ; on peut entendre encore un impôt sur le revenu des terres, c’est-à-dire, sur le produit, deduction faite des frais de production. Le premier & le second sont injustes, par les raisons que nous avons déjà exposées : si on ne fait pas la deduction des frais de production, & que l’on perçoive une même partie du produit total, comme, par exemple, le dixieme du produit total, & que les frais de production soient dans des rapports différens, les perceptions seront de la plus grande irrégularité ; & par consequent de la plus grande injustice. Le premier exposeroit la Nation a un nouvel ordre de fermiers publics qui, par des accaparemens autorisés, auroient la faculté de produire toutes les vexations du monopole & des accroissemens exhorbitans de fortune, dont la Nation auroit bientôt a se repentir.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Le troisieme fait partie de l’impôt général que nous avons propose ; mais il seroit injuste si, comme quelques Ecrivains politiques le proposent, l’impôt sur le produit net des terres étoit le seul impôt a percevoir dans une nation ; c’est ce que nous croyons devoir prouver. Le systême de ces Ecrivains politiques est [19] d’autant plus séduisant, que, parmi toutes les méthodes possibles de perception, il présente la plus simple & la moins coûteuse ; il est séduisant, parce que ses preuves sont étayées de calcul; il est séduisant, parce que plusieurs penseurs en ont entrepris la propagation ; il est séduisant, parce qu’on l’a attaqué par des sarcasmes, & que des sarcasmes ne détruisent pas des raisonnemens & des calculs ; & dès que l’ont connoît avec un peu d’expérience les sources des jugemens publics, on conçoit facilement combien ces causes de séduction sont propres a faire des prosélytes parmi les hommes dont l’opinion est plus souvent entraînée par l’estime que par la convention. If that system has to be ranked among the best possible systems, among the means to achieve national prosperity, if it establishes equity of contributions, why then do the Nations have such difficulty adopting it? Why does that ray of light have such difficulty penetrating the minds of politicians? Why does an invention that should give rise to the wellbeing of the twentyfive million inhabitants [of France], and even of all civilised Nations, lie idle in the writings of a small number of zealous citizens? [20] One of those writers arguesa that taxation, being an annual contribution, can only be established in a durable manner on a fund that renews itself each year, and consequently on the net product of the country5 and moreover that taxation is in reality only paid from the net product of the land because: 1. All sums that are disposable each year derive from only three sources; from the net product or revenue of the proprietors as such, from the reward to an effort, from some labour, and from the interest on the capitals employed6 2. Taxes are in reality not paid by wage-earners,7 they are divided between the proprietors of land and the proprietors of capital8 3. The taxes paid by the owners of capital, like those of wage-earners, fall on the sole net product of the land. My adversary mentions an objection of M.Smith: All taxes are in the last analysis surely paid either by the net product of the land or by the interest on capital; but the interest on capital would remain the same if the form of taxes were changed, because that interest is ruled by the quantity of capital compared to [21] that which is demanded, which is independent of the form of taxation9 My adversary also mentions another objection of Writers who have solemnly argued that it is impossible to raise a single, direct tax to a level that is equal to the sum of taxes that are annually paid in England and France.10 First, let us start by observing about the first proposition of my adversary that he draws a false conclusion when he says that taxation can consequently only be established on the net product of the land, because there are other funds than the product of the land that renew themselves every year. Second, let us note that the Author distinguishes between two kinds of sources of wealth,b in order to prove his position, and for the establishment of prices between the

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products of those sources he assumes gratuitously that there are only exchanges between the proprietors of one class and the proprietors of the other. aIn a work with the title Sur les fonctions des Etats-généraux & des autres Assemblies nationales. [1789; This work by Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794) was first published in 1788 with a somewhat different title: Essai sur la Constitution et les Fonctions des Assemblées Provinciales. Judging by the title quoted by Isnard he used the 1789 edition. The pagination of the editions is identical]. bIt is easily seen that in the demonstrations of the Author wages and interests on capitals form only a single class.

Si ce systême d’impôt doit être range parmi les meilleurs systêmes possibles, parmi les moyens de prospérité nationale, s’il rétablit l’équité des contributions, pourquoi done les Nations ont-elles tant de peine à l’adopter ? Pourquoi ce trait de lumière à-t-il tant de peine a pénétrer les cervaux politiques ? Comment une invention, qui doit faire le bonheur de vingt-cinq millions d’habitans, & même de toutes les Nations civilisées, restet-elle abandonnée dans les écrits d’un petit nombre de zélés citoyens ? [20] Un de ces Ecrivains avance,(a) que l’impôt, étant une subvention annuelle, ne peut être établi d’une maniere durable que sur un fonds qui se renouvelle chaque année, & par consequent sur le produit net du territoire ; Que l’impôt n’est d’ailleurs réellement payé que par le produit net des terres, parce que : 1°. Toutes les sommes annuellement disponibles, ne viennent que de trois sources, de ce produit net ou revenu des propriétaires comme tels, du salaire d’une peine., d’un travail quelconque, & de l’intérêt des capitaux employés. 2°. L’impôt n’est pas réellement payé par les salaries, il se distribue entre les propriétaires des terres & les propriétaires des capitaux. 3°. L’impôt que payent les propriétaires de capitaux retombe, ainsi que celui des salaries, sur le seul produit net des terres. Mon adversaire rapporte une objection de M.Smith : Tous les impôts sont bien payés en derniere analyse, ou par le produit net des terres, ou par l’intérêt des capitaux ; mais l’intérêt de capitaux resteroit le même, si la forme des impôts étoit changée, parce que cet intérêt se regle sur la quantité des capitaux comparée à [21] celle des demandes, qui est indépendante de la forme des impositions. Mon adversaire rapporte encore une autre objection des Ecrivains qui ont avancé gravement qu’il est impossible de porter un impôt unique & direct au point de le rendre égal à la somme des impositions que payent annuellement l’Angleterre & la France. Nous commencerons premierement par observer sur la premiere proposition de mon adversaire, que sa consequence est fausse, lorsqu’il dit que l’impôt ne peut par consequent être établi que sur le produit net des terres ; car il y à d’autres fonds que le produit du territoire qui se renouvellent chaque année. En second lieu, nous observerons que l’Auteur, pour établir sa preuve, fait deux classes de sources de richesses,(b) & suppose gratuitement que, pour l’établissement des prix entre les produits de ces sources, il n’y a que des échanges entre les propriétaires d’une classe & les propriétaires de l autre.

At the origins of mathematical economics


(a) Dans un Ouvrage intitulé: Sur les fonctions des Etats-généraux & des autres Assemblies nationales. (b) On voit facilement que, dans les preuves de l’Auteur, les salaires & les intérêts des capitaux ne font qu’une classe.

Third, my adversary alters the prices in the manner that is most convenient to his proofs and to his responses: one could [22] ask of him proofs that are somewhat more complete with regards to the effects that all possible upheavals in taxes have on prices, because it is possible to contest the effects which he declares without proof. His calculations are only subsequent to those presupposed effects. Having summarised the opinion of my adversary, I will now present mine. It is contained in a work that was printed in Lausanne at the beginning of 1781, at the same time as the translation of the Treatise on the Wealth of Nations of M.Smith was published in Yverdon.11 We think that it can throw some light on the theory of taxation. Any commodity suited to human consumption is the product of several contributing factors: the sun, the soil, water and air, and maybe some other fluids that escape our senses contribute to the production of raw materials. These activities of the elements we will call primitive activities, to distinguish them from other active forces. What does this first activity produce? It assembles particles that were separate; it separates particles that were united. It produces through the aggregation and through the separation of forms, qualities, capacities and properties that are useful to men. [23] Through his activity man adds to the activity of the elements. He assembles bodies that were separate and separates bodies that were united. As a result of his activity the elements produce in places where they would otherwise not have produced. His activity also influences the activities of animals and other sources of power, such as weights and currents that separate and assemble. Some of those activities precede the separation of raw materials from the earth and some are subsequent to it. For example, the production of silk requires the activity of the elements on the mulberry bush, the care of man for the silkworm, the activity of the silkworm, and the processing of the produce of the cocoon. Similarly, the production of a woollen textile is the result of the work of men who have fertilised the land with labour and manure, the effects of the elements that make it fecund, the work of the men who herd the sheep, the goings-on inside the sheep, the transportation of wool, the labour of the manufacturers, the activities of the merchants and the work of tailors. It can be argued that activities themselves have values in circulation, instead of supposing that it is their products [that have value]. Therefore it can also be argued [24] that all activities have to contribute to taxation. Now, I ask my adversary why, in a process made up of various activities, those activities should contribute which occur prior to the moment that the raw material is separated from the earth, and why he wants to exempt all the activities subsequent to this separation? On what basis does he determine in each case the line of demarcation that will allow him to find among the successive activities that make a things useful the point where it should Troisiemement, mon adversaire dirige les prix de la maniere la plus convenable a ses preuves & à ses réponses : on pourroit lui [22] demander des preuves un peu plus completes sur les effets que produisent dans les prix, tous les bouleversemens possibles

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dans les impositions, parce qu’on peut nier les effets qu’il annonce sans preuves. Ses calculs ne sont que postérieurs à ces effets presupposes. Je viens d’exposer sommairement l’opinion de mon adversaire, voici la mienne ; elle est consignée dans un Ouvrage qui a été imprimé a Lausanne au commencement de 1781, en même-temps qu’on imprimoit a Yverdon la Traduction du Traité des Richesses des Nations, de M.Smith; nous pensons qu’elle peut jeter quelque jour sur la théorie de l’impôt. Toute marchandise propre a la consommation des hommes, est produite par les actions de plusieurs causes : le soleil, la terre, l’eau & l’air, peut-être aussi d’autres fluides qui échappent a nos sens, concourent a produire des matieres brutes. Nous appellerons cette action primitive, l’action des élemens, pour la distinguer de celle des autres moteurs. Que produit cette premiere action ? Elle rassemble des particules divisées; elle divise des particules réunies; elle produit, par ces aggregations & ces separations des formes, des qualités, des vertus, des propriétés utiles aux hommes. [23] L’homme ajoute par son action à l’action des élémens ; il rassemble des corps divisés, il divise des corps réunis. Il résulte de son action que les élémens produisent dans des lieux où il n’auroient pas produit. Son action influe encore sur les actions des animaux & sur les actions des autres moteurs, tels que les poids & les courans qui divisent & rassemblent. Parmi ces actions, il y en a d’antérieures a la separation entre la terre & la matiere brute ; il y en a de postérieures : c’est ainsi que, pour la production d’un ouvrage en soie, il y à l’action des élémens sur le mûrier, l’action de l’homme sur le ver-à-soie, l’action du ver-à-soie & les actions sur les produits du cocon; c’est ainsi que la production d’un ouvrage en laine, résulte de l’action des hommes qui ont fertilisé la terres par des labours & des engrais, de l’action des élémens qui l’ont rendue féconde, de l’action des hommes qui y ont rassemblé des moutons, de l’action interne des moutons, du transport des laines, des actions des manufacturiers, des actions des vendeurs & des actions des tailleurs. On peut supposer que ce sont les actions elles-mêmes qui ont des valeurs dans la circulation, au lieu de supposer que ce sont leurs effets ; on peut done supposer aussi [24] que ce sont les actions qui contribuent pour l’impôt. Or, je demande a mon adversaire pourquoi, dans un assemblage d’actions différentes, il fera contribuer les actions antérieures à la separation entre la terre & la matiere brute, & pourquoi il exemptera les actions postérieures a cette separation ; à quels termes, a quelles limites fixera-t-il dans quelques cas la ligne de demarcation, afin de choisir, entre toutes les actions qui se succedent pour rendre une chose usuelle, le point où elle doit be called a product of the earth? Is wheat a product of the earth when it is sold in sheaves standing in the field, when it is in the barn, or when it is in the market place?c In the production of silk, is it the leaf of the mulberry bush or is it the cocoon that is the product of the earth? In forests, is it standing wood or cut wood that is the product of the earth? It is normally sold standing, but it could also be assumed that it would be sold cut. Is iron a product of the earth when in the mine, as ore, or in bar? [25] Pressing my adversary about this line of demarcation he will be obliged to admit that according to him only those activities contribute which we have called activities of the elements. Yet, when pressed further he would have to recognise that the activities of the elements do not have any value without human activity. But then why distinguish between a field that has the capacity to give a first form to a sum of elements by means of

At the origins of mathematical economics


the labour of men and a loom which has the capacity to give a second form to this sum of elements of nature [equally] by means of the labour of men? The activity of nature does not have any value, and no owner, prior to the labour of men: a field, or a loom only has a value once men have appropriated the elements and its capacities by means of their labour, or of that of their predecessors. Various activities contribute to the production of consumable goods; all the proprietors of those activities are the proprietors of their effects. Therefore the proprietor of works that are undertaken to clear and fertilise a field is the proprietor of its productive capacity. Therefore the proprietor of looms and machines [26] is the proprietor of the activity they produce by means of whatever driving force. Those various productive activities assumed, if a public interest requires that a part of the social mass should be destined to the common good, then each agent or representative of the agent should give a proportional part, after deduction of the advances necessary for the production of those activities. Thus we can state as a fundamental rule of taxation that all productive activities should contribute proportionally, after deduction of costs, taking into account that this proportion is determined by means of exchanges and using a common measure.12 Among the productive agents there are some that have the required qualities to produce, during certain periods, or even in perpetuity, by means of a continuous maintenance, and there are even those whose energy increases continually. This is what gives capital value to those agents or those productive capacities. But in order to determine the ratios, one takes a unit of time cFor the sake of argument we can abstract from land leases and other social customs, which imply that wheat is a product of the earth from the moment it leaves the hands of the Farmer.

être appelée production de la terre ? Le blé sera-t-il production de la terre lorsqu’il se vend en gerbe sur le champ, lorsqu’il est dans la grange, ou lorsqu’il est au marché ?(c) Dans la production de la soie, est-ce la feuille de mûrier qui sera la production de la terre, ou sera-ce le cocon ? Dans les forets sera-ce le bois sur pied, sera-ce le bois coupé qui sera production de la terre ? On le vend ordinairement sur pied, mais on peut supposer qu’il sera vendu coupé. Le fer sera-t-il production de la terre en mine, en gueule ou en barre ? [25] En pressant bien mon adversaire sur cette ligne de demarcation, il sera oblige de convenir qu’il estime que ce n’est que l’action que nous avons appelée action des élémens qui doit contribuer; or, en le pressant davantage, il faudra encore reconnoître que l’action des élémens n’a de valeur que par les actions des hommes. Alors pourquoi faire une difference entre un champ qui a la vertu de donner une forme premiere à une somme d’élémens par le moyen des travaux des hommes, & un métier qui a la vertu de donner une forme seconde a cette somme d’élémens de la nature, par le moyen des travaux des hommes ? L’action de la nature n’a point de valeur, n’a point de propriétaire antérieurement aux travaux des hommes : le champ, le métier n’ont de valeur, que parce que les hommes se sont approprié les élémens & leurs vertus par leurs travaux, ou par les travaux de ceux auxquels ils ont succédé. Diverses actions concourant a former les objets de consommation, tous les propriétaires de ces actions sont propriétaires de leurs effets : c’est ainsi que le

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propriétaire des travaux faits pour défricher & fertiliser un champ, est propriétaire de sa vertu productive ; c’est ainsi qu’un propriétaire de métiers & de machines, [26] est propriétaire des actions qu’ils produisent par le moyen de moteurs quelconques. Toutes ces actions productives étant supposées, si un motif d’intérêt public exige qu’il en soit destiné une partie dans une masse publique pour le bien commun, chaque acteur ou représentant de l’acteur doit donner une part proportionnelle, lorsqu’il a prélevé les avances nécessaires pour produire ces actions. Nous pouvons done donner pour regle fondamentale de l’impôt, que toutes les actions productives doivent contribuer proportionnellement, déduction faite des frais, en observant que cette proportion est déterminée par le moyen des échanges & d’une mesure commune. Parmi les actions productives, il y en a qui ont les qualités nécessaires pour produire, pendant de certaines époques, ou même a perpétuité, par le moyen d’un entretien continuel, & il y en a même dont l’énergie s’accroît continuellement: c’est ce qui donne une valeur fonciere a ces actions ou à ces vertus productives ; mais afin d’établir les rapports, on prend une (c) On voit que dans le raisonnement nous pouvons faire abstraction des baux & autres usages sociaux, desquels il résulte que le blé est production de la terre au sortir des mains du Fermier.

as standard of comparison and one compares the annual values of the productive capacities to the annual [value of the] activities.13 [27] But my adversary will say: I grant you your fundamental rule, but I maintain that if one compares a tax that is levied on all productive activities to a tax that is levied solely on the products of the activity of the earth, the effect will be the same in both cases for the proprietors of the activities subsequent to the production of the earth and for the proprietors of the prior activities. This is so because in both cases the result with regards to the revenue after the payment of tax will be the same. If he could prove this proposition one would have to yield to his opinion, because I would have to admit that his method of collection is simpler than mine. According to me, all productive activities should contribute; according to my adversary one can tax some of the proprietors of productive activities, and because of the changes in prices that will occur, the revenue of all proprietors of productive agents, after deduction of costs, will be the same in both cases. My adversary has chosen the primitive activities, which are incontestably those of the earth. But one could take another class of activities, and one could apply the same kind of reasoning based on changes in prices. Under this new assumption [28] one would have the same results for this other class. However little one may understand how one would define this supposed class, one can already sense the shortcomings of this line of reasoning. But in order to demonstrate your result in the clearest manner, I demand that before you classify activities as being prior to or as subsequent to the harvest, you examine the effects of prices in a general system of activities and that in that system subsequent activities exchange between each other, as well as with prior activities. For the carpenter sells his work to the cobbler in exchange for the work of the cobbler.

At the origins of mathematical economics


I ask, is it not from the general results of reciprocal exchanges that you can judge and discover whether the effects are the same for all proprietors of activities, and whether each finds himself in the same position after considering the effects of both assumptions. I demand that you do not assume, as is your wont, that taxation changes the price of all wages, or that you prove it, not by referring to the contract between the proprietor and his wage-earner, but by referring to the price effects within a system in which not only [29] wage-earners are paid by landowners, but also the products of wage-earners are exchanged amongst each other. I demand that you prove that if a tax has an influence on prices in a system of commodities that this influence is such as you suppose it to be. I demand that you take into account that, among all sales of commodities producing a disposable revenue, the costs or the taxes, which can be considered as an increase in costs, only enter into the determination of prices in cases where the value of products is equal to the value of costs.14 unite de temps pour terme de comparaison, & l’on compare les valeurs annuelles de ces vertus productives aux actions annuelles. [27] Mais, dira mon adversaire :J’accorde votre regle fondamentale, & je soutiens que si l’on suppose l’impôt établi sur toutes les actions productives, & que l’on suppose l’impôt établi seulement sur les produits de l’action de la terre, l’effet sera le même, dans ces deux suppositions, pour les propriétaires d’actions postérieures a la production de la terre, & pour les propriétaires d’actions antérieures: après le paiement de l’impôt dans les deux suppositions, tout se trouvera au même état pour le revenu. S’il prouvoit cette proposition, il faudroit se rendre, parce que j’aurois a convenir que sa perception est plus simple que la mienne. Suivant moi, toutes les actions productives doivent contribuer ; suivant mon adversaire, on peut ne percevoir la contribution que sur quelques propriétaires d’actions productives, & par les changemens qui se produiront dans les prix, le revenu de tous les propriétaires d’actions productives, déduction faite des frais, sera le même dans les deux cas. Mon adversaire a choisi de preference les actions primitives, qui sont incontestablement celles de la terre ; mais on pourroit prendre une autre classe d’actions, & l’on appliqueroit avec le même fondement ses raisonnemens, tirés des changemens de prix, à cette nouvelle supposition [28] : on auroit les même résultats pour cette autre classe. Pour peu qu’on étende ou qu’on resserre cette classe supposée, on peut déjà prévoir par apperçu combien pécheront ces raisonnemens. Mais, pour établir votre preuve de la maniere la plus lumineuse, je demande, qu’avant de classer les productions antérieures ou postérieures a la récolte, vous examiniez les effets des prix dans un systême d’actions quelconques, & que dans ce systême les actions postérieures soient échangées entre elles, ainsi qu’avec les actions antérieures : par la raison que le meunier vend son action au cordonnier, en échange de l’action du cordonnier. Je demande que ce ne soit qu’après les résultats généraux des échanges réciproques, que vous puissiez reconnoître & découvrir si les effets sont les mêmes pour les propriétaires d’actions, & si chacune se trouve au même point après les effets des deux suppositions.

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Je demande que, suivant votre usage, vous n’avanciez pas que l’impôt change le prix des salaires de toute sa quantité, ou que vous le prouviez, non pas par le traité entre un propriétaire & son salarié, mais par les effets des prix dans un systême où non-seulement des [29] salaries sont payés par des propriétaires de terres, mais encore des travaux de salaries sont échangés entre eux. Je demande que vous prouviez que si un impôt a de l’influence sur les prix dans un systême de marchandises, cette influence est telle que vous la supposez. Je demande que vous observiez que, dans toutes les ventes de marchandises qui produisent un revenu disponible, les frais ou les impôts, que vous pouvez considérer comme un accroissement de frais, n’entrent dans la détermination du prix, que lorsque la valeur des productions est égale à la valeur des frais. I demand that you take account of the fact that all activities whether prior or subsequent to the harvest can produce a greater or lesser disposable income. You have always denied this with regards to activities subsequent to the harvest. I demand that you analyse the argumentation by which you prove that the capitalist draws more or less the same revenue from the same capital before and after the changes in taxation.d I demand that you take into account that in the determination of prices the quantity of [30] products is a variable quantity that has its own rules of determination. Note that changes in costs have a great influence on the changes in the quantities of products and that your tax on the produce of the earth could cause a terrible upheaval in the quantities of goods produced, and that despite this up to now you have not dealt with this variability. I demand that you prove that the upheaval in prices you expect will produce the effects you hope for, taking into account the influence that the prices of foreign products have on national products. I demand that you solve the following two difficulties. 1. Since the net product varies in the production of the same commodity, whilst the selling price of a commodity is the same, how can one suppose that the producers-cumsellers raise their prices in such a manner that it pays for the tax in equal measure? For example, I suppose that two producers of wheat each harvest twelve septiers,15 one spending 60 liv[res] on commodities other than wheat, and the other spending 120 liv[res]. I suppose that the tax burden is one sixth of the net product in the case where all products [31] contribute, and that the tax burden is half of the net product in the case where only the produce of the land contributes. If I suppose that in the first case the price of wheat is 20 liv[res] per septier, then we will have Costs Tax at 1/6th16 Net revenue after tax17 For the first producer 60 liv. 30 liv. For the second producer 120 20

150 liv. 100

If I suppose that in the second case the price of wheat is 30 liv [res] per septier, then we will have Costs Tax at 1/2 [Net revenue after tax] For the first producer 60 liv. 150 liv. For the second producer 120 120

150 liv. 120

At the origins of mathematical economics


d [Condorcet 1789] Vol. II, page 8

Je demande que vous observiez que toutes les actions antérieures & postérieures à la récolte, peuvent produire un revenu disponible plus ou moins fort: ce que vous avez toujours me, relativement aux actions postérieures à la récolte. Je demande que votre raisonnement, pour prouver que le capitaliste retire a peu près le même revenu du même capital avant & après la conversion de l’impôt,(d) soit analyse. Je demande que, dans la determination des prix, vous observiez que la quantité de productions [30] est une quantité variable qui a ses regies de determination. Vous observerez que les variations dans les frais ont une grande influence sur les variations des quantités de productions ; que votre impôt sur le produit de la terre pourra produire une terrible revolution dans les quantités de productions, & que cependant vous n’avez fait jusqu'à present aucun cas de cette variabilité. Je demande que vous prouviez que la revolution, que vous annoncez dans les prix, doit produire les effets que vous espérez, en mettant en considération l’influence qu’ont les prix des productions étrangeres sur les prix des productions nationales. Je demande que vous résolviez ces deux difficultés. 1°. Le produit net variant dans la production d’une même marchandise & les prix de chaque marchandise étant les mêmes, comment supposer que les producteurs-vendeurs accroissent les prix de maniere a être également remboursé de l’impôt; par exemple, je suppose que deux producteurs de blé récoltent douze septiers, l’un avec 60 liv. de frais en marchandises autres que le blé, l’autre avec 120 liv. ; je suppose que l’impôt est au sixieme du produit net dans les cas où toutes les productions [31] quelconques contribuent, & que l’impôt est a la moitié du produit net dans le cas où le produit territorial seulement contribue. Je suppose pour le premier cas le blé à 20 liv. le septier, on aura Frais Impôt au sixieme Revenu net après l’impôt payé Pour le prem. producteur 60 liv. 30 liv. Pour le sec. producteur 120 20

150 liv. 100

Je suppose pour le second cas le blé à 30 liv. le septier, on aura Frais Impôt a demi Pour le prem. producteur 60 liv. 150 liv. Pour le sec. producteur 120 120

150 liv. 120

(d) Tom. II. pag. 8.

If I suppose that in the third case the price of wheat is 26 1. 13 s. 4 d.18 [per septier], then we will have Costs Tax at 1/2 [Net revenue after tax] For the first producer 60 liv. 130 liv. For the second producer 120 100

130 liv. 100

If the price of wheat is 30 liv., the first producer has the same revenue as in the first case, but this is not so for the second producer. If the price of wheat is 26 liv. 13 sols, 4 den.,

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the second producer has the same revenue as [32] in the first case, but this is not so for the first producer. 2. Of the products of the land one part is sold and another part is consumed by the producers: the producers of different foodstuffs sell to one another; but since selling can be seen as nothing but exchange and since commodities that are exchanged have the same value, one can say that each producer consumes and sells. Yet for your system to work it is necessary that the tax on what he sells is paid for him, and that it is he who pays the tax on what he consumes. However, if some consume a lot and others little, how can one suppose that all [producers] are reimbursed equally, if the prices of each measure of a commodity are the same. I therefore demand that you prove not only that sellers have power over prices to get their public contributions reimbursed, something you assume, but also that you prove that this supposed power is the same for all producers. I demand that you make a new analysis of the interest of capital, by distinguishing it more clearly from the interest of money and by avoiding a confusion between those two kinds of interest, when arguing, like M. Smith, [33] that the interest on capital is determined by the relation between demanders and capitalists. You should also observe that the interest of capital, which one can call the net product of capital,19 may be higher in one country than in another, while the interest on money is higher in the second than in the first, as is the case for England and France.20 You should observe that one can imagine a net product of capital, while abstracting from any kind of money lending that serves to establish a rate of interest. You should observe that the interest rate of money is subsequent to the establishment of the ratio between capitals and their net product, and that the price of land is also subsequent to that establishment.21 You should observe that that ratio depends on the current price of products and the durability of capital. You should observe that, for those reasons, the change in the selling price of land that results from the suppression of a right in selling, does not apply to the current price of agricultural products and commodities. Je suppose pour le troisieme cas le blé a 26 1. 13 s. 4 d., on aura Frais Impôt à demi Pour le prem. producteur 60 liv. 130 liv. Pour le sec. producteur 120 100

130 liv. 100

Si le blé est à 30 liv. le premier producteur à le même revenu que dans le premier cas ; mais il n’en est pas de même pour le second. Si le blé est à 26 liv. 13 sols. 4 den. le second producteur à le même revenu net que [32] dans le premier cas, mais il n’en est pas de même pour le premier producteur. 2°. Parmi les productions de la terre, une partie est vendue, une partie est consommée par les producteurs : des producteurs de différentes denrées se vendent entre eux ; mais comme la vente peut être supposée n'être qu’un échange, & que les marchandises échangées ont une même valeur, on peut supposer que chaque producteur consomme & vend : or, il faut done, pour satisfaire a votre systême, qu’il fasse payer sur ce qu’il vend, l’impôt qu’a payé ce qu’il consomme ; mais si les uns consomment beaucoup & les autres peu, les prix de chaque mesure de marchandises étant les mêmes, comment supposer qu’ils se sont tous rembourser également.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Je demande done, non-seulement que vous prouviez l’empire que vous supposez au vendeur sur les prix pour le rembourser des droits qu’il paye au public, mais encore que vous prouviez que cet empire étant suppose, il soit le même pour tous les producteurs. Je demande que vous fassiez une nouvelle analyse sur l’intérêt des fonds capitaux, en les distinguant bien clairement de l’intérêt de l’argent, & en évitant de confondre assez ces deux intérêts, pour avancer, ainsi que M. Smith, [33] que l’intérêt des fonds capitaux est réglé en raison des demandeurs & des capitalistes ; en observant que l’intérêt des fonds capitaux, que l’on doit appeler le produit net des fonds capitaux, peut être plus fort dans une Nation que dans une autre, tandis que l’intérêt de l’argent est plus fort dans la seconde que dans la premiere, ainsi que pour l’Angle terre & la France ; en observant que l’on peut supposer un produit net des fonds capitaux, en faisant abstraction de toute espece de prêt d’argent propre a établir un taux d’intérêt; en observant que le taux de l’intérêt de l’argent est postérieur a l’établissement du rapport entre les fonds capitaux & leur produit net, & que le prix des terres est postérieur aussi a cet établissement; en observant que ce rapport depend du prix courant des denrées & de la durée des fonds capitaux; en observant que, par ces raisons, ce changement de prix qui résulte, dans la vente des terres, de la suppression d’un droit sur la vente, ne peut pas s’appliquer au prix courant des denrées & marchandises. I demand that, on a subject so difficult to understand because of the complication of its relations, you do not advance any general proposition before having analysed all aspects of it. […] Je demande que, dans une matiere aussi difficile à concevoir par la complication de ses rapports, vous n’avanciez aucune proposition generate sans l’avoir analisée jusques dans ses élémens. […]

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Reflections on the issue of the assignats (1790) In: Les Devoirs de la seconde législature (1791) Vol. I, NINTH ISSUE [257] France is at this moment awaiting an important decision by the national assembly about a considerable issue of paper money.1 I too believe myself able to expound some principles on this matter. Many people have reasoned about it employing good or less good principles about monies and paper monies, we will attempt to deepen the understanding of this subject and to throw some light on it. Many political writers say that monies only have value through convention or through the law; others say that the value of monies is inherent in their nature, that is to say, that their value [258] depends on an order of things that is not arbitrary, or that cannot be submitted to arbitrary laws. Men who are ill versed in this matter have said that money value does not depend on nature, since it is subject to variation. However, one can say of a thing that varies according to the laws of nature that it is dependent on nature and not on the decision of men. The theory of money is only difficult for those who do not want to study it attentively. A sum of commodities of every kind is in circulation. The proprietors of each commodity want to exchange it against one or several others. Their bids, determined by their desires and needs, compared to the bids determined by the desires and needs of the proprietors of other commodities, establish computable ratios between commodities of one kind and commodities of another kind. If several commodities can be compared to each other, one can be compared to all others. If a small volume of this commodity is very valuable then it serves as a convenient pledge of all others. This secondary use of the commodity, added to its original uses, is a new need which increases its value relative to other commodities,2 or which reduces the relative value of the others: this is the theory of money in a nutshell. One can conclude quite evidently that the value of monies Réflexions sur l’émission des assignats (1790) Dans: Les Devoirs de la seconde législature (1791) T.I, NEUVIEME CAHIER [257] La France attend en ce moment une decision importante de l’assemblée nationale, sur une emission considerable de papiers-monnoies. Je crois aussi pouvoir exposer des principes sur cette matière. Beaucoup de personnes en ont raisonné, en employant plus ou moins les bons principes sur les monnoies & les papiers-monnoies, nous allons faire ensorte d’approfondir ce sujet & d’y trouver quelques lumières. Beaucoup de politiques disent que les monnoies n’ont de valeur que par convention ou par la loi ; d’autres disent que la valeur des monnoies est inhérente a leur nature, c’est-àdire que leur valeur [258] depend d’un ordre de choses qui n’est pas arbitraire, ou qui ne peut être soumis à des loix arbitraires.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Des hommes peu verses dans cette matière, ont dit que la valeur monétale ne depend pas de la nature, puisqu’elle est sujette a varier. Mais d’une chose qui varie en vertu des loix de la nature, on peut dire qu’elle depend de la nature & non de l’arbitre des hommes. La théorie des monnoies n’est difficile que pour ceux qui ne veulent pas l’étudier avec attention. Une somme de marchandises de toute espèce est en circulation. Les propriétaires de chaque marchandise, voulant l’échanger contre une ou plusieurs autres ; leurs enchères déterminées par leurs desirs & leurs besoins, comparées aux enchères déterminées par les desirs & les besoins des propriétaires d’autres marchandises, établissent des rapports calculables, entre les marchandises d’une espèce & les marchandises d’une autre espèce. Si plusieurs marchandises peuvent être comparées entre elles, une d’elles peut être comparée à toutes les autres ; si cette marchandises a beaucoup de valeur sous peu de volume, elle sert de gage commode de toutes les autres. Cet usage secondaire de cette marchandise étant ajouté aux autres usages auxquels elle pouvoit être primitivement destinée, est un nouveau besoin qui accroît sa valeur relativement aux autres, ou qui diminue la valeur des depends no more on the decision of men than the value of any other goods or commodities. If the quantity of metals in a society doubles it is evident that values change, but one cannot assert that the values of the commodities that are not monies will double relative to metal monies. This is because a new order of demands establishes itself that depends on the one hand on desires, which are without limits, and on the other hand on the means of demanders, which differ according to the inequality of wealth, and it is the new order on which the change in values depends.a One should also consider that what is called the numéraire, or the quantity of money, is only part of the totality of metals that are in circulation, [260] and that consequently one cannot say that the values of commodities double if the specie doubles. A metallic money is a real pledge for all commodities one parts with and which one retains until one purchases other commodities, because of the value that the metal has due to its uses. If another commodity were discovered smaller volumes of which were of greater value than metals, which was abundant enough to serve as pledge for all nations, and furthermore was as solid and as easy to imprint as metals, then that new commodity would soon supplant metals. Therefore the value of monies is not conventional; it depends on the value, which metals derive from their uses, relative to other commodities. Paper does not have the right qualities to serve as money. Among the many faults that deprive it of this property is the fact that large volumes have little value. However, the principle of loyalty in agreements, which is one of the bases of sociability,3 sometimes lends it this character; it is representative of a real pledge if the paper contains a promise to pay real commodities or metals, and when this promise merits trust. Will a considerable issue of such papers influence the prices of commodities? In a small pamphlet [261] that has just been published with the title effects of the assignats on the price of bread,4 M.Dupont says that if as many assignats are brought into circulation as there is money in the kingdom, it will be as if the quantity of money has doubled, and if there is twice as much a Suppose that a quantity of 100,000 measures of wheat is brought in circulation and that there is in circulation a quantity of 300,000 measures of metals and that by the order of bids there is the

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following equation to determine the value of wheat: 100,000 measures of wheat divided by 10 are equal to 300,000 measures of metals, or what comes down to the same thing: one measure of wheat equals 30 measures of metal. If I assume that the quantity of metals becomes 600,000 one should not conclude that one will have: one measure of wheat equals 60 measures of metals, since because of this doubling of metals the denominator 10 will change through the new order that establishes itself in offers and bids.

autres relativement à elle : telle est [259] succinctement la théorie de la monnoie ; il en résulte bien évidemment que la valeur des monnoies ne depend pas plus de l’arbitre des hommes, que la valeur de toutes les autres denrées ou marchandises. Si la quantité des métaux double dans une société, il est evident que les valeurs changent : mais on ne peut affirmer que les valeurs des marchandises qui ne sont point monnoies, doublent relativement aux métaux monnoies. Car il s’établit un nouvel ordre dans les demandes qui depend d’une part, des desirs qui sont sans limite, de l’autre part, des facultés des demandeurs qui varient suivant l’inégalité des richesses, & c’est de ce nouvel ordre que depend le changement dans les valeurs.(a) Il faut considérer aussi que ce que l’on appelle numéraire, ou la quantité de monnoie, n’est qu’une partie de tous les métaux qui sont dans la circulation, [260] & par consequent on ne doit pas dire que les valeurs des marchandises doublent, si le numéraire double. Une monnoie métalique, par la valeur qu’ont les métaux à raison de leur usage, est done un gage réel de toutes les marchandises dont on se défait, ou que l’on conserve jusqu’à ce qu’on se procure d’autres marchandises. Si l’on découvroit quelque marchandise qui eût plus de valeur sous moins de volume que les métaux, qui fût assez abondante pour servir de gage chez toutes les nations, & qui eût d’ailleurs autant de solidité & la même propriété d’empreinte que les métaux, cette nouvelle marchandise supplanteroit bientôt les métaux. La valeur des monnoies n’est done pas conventionnelle ; elle depend done de la valeur que les usages des métaux leur procure relativement aux autres marchandises. Le papier n’a point les qualités propres a servir de monnoies : parmi tous les vices qui lui enlèvent cette propriété, il a peu de valeur sous beaucoup de volume ; mais le principe de la fidélité aux engagemens, qui est une des bases de la sociabilité, lui prête quelque fois ce caractère ; si le papier contient une promesse de payer en marchandises réelles ou en métaux, & que cette promesse mérite de la confiance, il est représentatif d’un gage réel. Une emission considerable de ces papiers influe-t-elle sur les prix des marchandises ? M.Dupont [261] dans une petite brochure qu’il vient de publier & qu’il a intitulée, effet des assignats sur le prix du pain, dit que si l’on met autant d’assignats dans la circulation, qu’il y a d’argent dans le royaume, c’est comme si l’on doubloit la quantité de l’argent, & que s’il y avoit le (a) Si une quantité de mesures de blé mises en circulation, est de 100,000 ; qu’une quantité de mesures de métaux mis en circulation, soit de 300,000 ; & que par l’ordre des enchères, on ait pour déterminer la valeur du blé, cette egalite : 100,000 mesures de blé divisées par 10, equivalent a 300,000 mesures de métaux, ou ce qui revient au même : une mesure de blé équivaut a 30 mesures de métaux. Je suppose que la quantité de métaux devienne 600,000, il n’en faut pas conclure que l’on aura : une mesure de blé équivaut a 60 mesures de métaux, car a raison de ce doublement de

At the origins of mathematical economics


métaux, le dénominateur 10 changera par le nouvel ordre qui s'établira dans les offres & les enchères.

money then one will buy bread at double the price. For a start, one can respond to M.Dupont that if the effect is that all commodities have to double in price, then the daily wages of the people should double as well, since those daily wages have a current price just like all commodities. If this effect influences all commodities, all other things being equal, it should also affect the daily wages. He should therefore not address the people with his argumentation, since on the same grounds one could say to the people: your daily wages will double in price. However, we do not think that the issue of assignats has to double the price of commodities: that issue, which I consider dangerous under the disastrous circumstances in which France finds itself, should not be fought with such feeble arguments. We further have to respond to M.Dupont, 1. that a doubling of specie does not produce a doubling of all prices. 2. that the issue of promises to pay does not produce the same effect on prices as a new introduction of an equal value of specie. If a new group of inhabitants would settle in France [262] who together would have two billions in silver, this new introduction would produce changes in prices that would be relative both to the manner in which the new sum would be distributed between the new inhabitants, and to the differences that would exist between the spending power of the new inhabitants and the spending power of the old inhabitants. One can easily understand how much those facts may vary, and likewise all moral and physical circumstances influencing the offers that give rise to the determination of prices. Thus it would be extravagant to assert that prices will double; one can foresee that some commodities of a pressing need could at least triple or quadruple. The nature of spending determines prices. Prices increase if more is consumed than before. To see if an increase in currency increases prices, one should not only compare this increase to the currency of one nation, but one should consider it as if it was introduced into the general trade of Europe. One should not assume that creditors will consume the capitals they are paid back; either they will draw an interest from the public treasury, and then they will look after their papers, or they will attempt to place their capitals in trade, or they will keep them even without interest by making efforts to acquire nationalised properties.5 Nevertheless, [263] they would have difficulty placing them in trade, as we will see. Moreover can it be believed that the issue of assignats will keep coin in circulation so as to act there concurrently with promissory notes? The price changes that will occur depend on the order of expenditures that will exist: an issue of assignats does not establish new fortunes; it only enables existing ones to fulfil their commitments or their expenditures. double d’argent il faudroit acheter les marchandises le double plus cher. On peut observer d’abord à M.Dupont, que si toutes les marchandises doivent doubler de prix par cet effet, les journées du peuple doivent doubler aussi; car ces journées ont un prix courant comme toutes les marchandises, & si cet effet influe sur toutes les marchandises, toutes choses étant égales d’ailleurs, il doit agir sur les journées. Ce n’est done pas au peuple qu’il falloit adresser son raisonnement, puisqu’on peut dire avec les mêmes fondemens au peuple : vos journées doubleront de prix. Mais nous ne pensons pas que

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l’émission des assignats doive doubler le prix des marchandises : ce n’est pas par des raisons aussi foibles qu’il faut combattre cette emission, que je regardé comme dangereuse par les circonstances désastreuses dans lesquelles se trouve la France. Nous devons ensuite observer a M.Dupont, 1°. que le doublement du numéraire ne produit pas le doublement de tous les prix. 2°. Qu’une émission de promesses de payer ne produit pas sur les prix le même effet qu’une nouvelle introduction d’une valeur égale de numéraire. S’il se présentoit en France une troupe de nouveaux [262] habitans qui eussent ensemble deux milliards en argent, cette nouvelle introduction produiroit des variations dans les prix qui seroient relatives, soit a la manière dont la nouvelle somme seroit répartie entre les nouveaux habitans, soit aux differences qui se trouveroient entre les facultés des nouveaux habitans & les facultés des anciens habitans. On sent aisément combien ces données peuvent varier ainsi que toutes les circonstances morales & physiques, qui influent sur les offres dont résulte l'établissement des prix ; ainsi il y auroit de l’extravagance a affirmer que les prix doubleront ; on peut prévoir que quelques marchandises d’un plus pressant besoin pourroient au moins tripler ou quadrupler. La nature des dépenses determine les prix. Les prix augmentent si l’on consomme plus qu’on ne consommoit. Pour voir si une augmentation de numéraire augmente les prix, il ne faut pas seulement comparer cette augmentation au numéraire d’une nation, il faut le considérer comme introduit dans le marché général de l’Europe. On ne doit pas supposer que les créanciers consommeront les capitaux dont ils recevront le remboursement ; ou ils tireront un intérêt du trésor public, & alors ils garderont leurs billets ; ou ils chercheront a placer leurs capitaux dans le commerce, ou ils les garderont même sans intérêt, en se pressant d’acquérir des biens nationaux. Cependant [263] ils auront de la peine à les placer dans le commerce, ainsi que nous le verrons. D’ailleurs croit-on que l’émission des assignats fera remettre le numéraire dans la circulation pour y agir concurremment avec des promesses de payer ? Les changemens qui surviendront dans les prix dependent de l’ordre qui existera dans les dépenses : une emission d’assignats n’établit pas des fortunes nouvelles ; elle met seulement les anciennes en états de satisfaire à leurs engagemens ou a leurs dépenses. If one assumes that through some kind of charitable act a quantity of currency equal to the present quantity of currency is distributed in some way between the present inhabitants, then prices will depend on that distribution, and it cannot be affirmed that prices will double. Also, if one assumes that some proprietor distributes promissory notes in a nation, then it is those promises that influence prices; it is the future currency that produces new means of payment, resulting in an increase in the price of goods. But in France the means of payment exist; the creditors of the state regulate their expenditure on the basis of their means; those means represented by promissory notes or by real currency, command [264] the consumption goods that the creditors need in proportion to the distribution of means. The distribution of spending power is one of the elements that most influence the prices of commodities. This spending power consists of capitals or of revenues; people

At the origins of mathematical economics


who bring their capitals into circulation, either because of squandering or for some other reason, influence prices in ways other than when they spend their revenues. Spending power that is dormant relative to circulation is bound to influence the increase of prices when it is introduced. If the proprietors of reimbursable claims receive promissory notes as reimbursement, they will bring into circulation new values by virtue of the spending power they have been given in exchange for the values destroyed by the cancellation of their claims. This new spending power is bound to influence prices. If the proprietors of a nation throw two billion of promissory notes, mortgaged on their funds, into circulation all at the same time, a revolution in prices must result depending to a large extent on the ratios between the goods they acquire for consumption or for useful employment. But it cannot be said what the ratio of price increase will be for each kind of good, because this ratio will depend primarily on the ratios [265] the proprietors will spend and the ratios [of spending] on the goods they would want to buy. Neither can it be said that the effect of this issue will be the same as when a new quantity of coin is introduced in the state. If those promissory notes can fulfil the function of money by circulating, they diminish the need for [metallic] monies: thus, part of the monies tends to revert to other needs and other uses; from it another change in prices will result since metals will be less precious relative to other commodities. But will the effective currency remain in circulation? Will there not be a stagnation of a superabundant quantity of currency? Will the effective currency revert to other needs? Will it move abroad? Will luxury spending or alimentary spending be the result of the new issue? All those variable factors will influence prices. Si on suppose que par une bienfaisance quelconque une quantité de numéraire égale à la quantité du numéraire actuel est distribué d’une manière quelconque entre les habitans actuels, les prix dépendront de cette distribution, & l’on ne peut affirmer que les prix doubleront. Si on suppose aussi qu’un propriétaire quelconque distribue dans une nation des promesses de numéraire, ce ne sont pas ces promesses qui inflent sur les prix ; c’est le numéraire futur qui produit des moyens nouveaux de payer, dont il résulte une augmentation du prix des denrées. Mais en France les moyens de payer subsistent ; les créanciers de l'état ont des facultés sur lesquelles ils règlent leur dépense ; ces facultés représentées par des promesses de payer ou par du numéraire réel, attirent a elles en raison de leur [264] distribution, les consommations dont les créanciers ont besoin. La distribution des facultés est un des élémens qui influent le plus sur les prix des marchandises. Ces facultés consistent dans les capitaux ou dans les revenus ; les hommes qui mettent, soit par dissipation, soit par tout autre cause, leurs capitaux dans la circulation, influent sur les prix, autrement que s’ils n’y mettent que leur revenu. Des facultés qui dorment relativement a la circulation doivent, lorsqu’elles s’y presentent, influer sur les augmentation des prix. Si les propriétaires des charges remboursables reçoivent en remboursement, des promesses de payer, ils mettront dans la circulation des valeurs nouvelles en vertu de facultés qui leur sont rendues, en échange des valeurs détruites par la suppression de leurs charges. Ces nouvelles facultés doivent influer sur les prix.

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Si les propriétaires d’une nation répandent en même temps dans la circulation, pour deux milliards de promesses de payer, hypothéquées sur leurs fonds, il doit résulter de cette emission une revolution dans les prix, qui dépendra en grande partie des rapports entre les denrées qu’ils attireront pour les consommer ou pour les employer a leur utilité. Mais on ne peut affirmer quel sera le rapport de l’accroissement des prix de chaque espèce de denrée, parce que ce rapport dépendra principalement des rapports, entre les emissions [265] que feront les propriétaires & des rapports entre les denrées qu’ils voudront se procurer. Mais on ne peut affirmer que l’effet de cette emission sera le même que s’il introduisoit dans l'état une quantité de numéraire nouveau. Si ces promesses de payer peuvent, en circulant, faire la fonction de monnoie, elles diminuent le besoin des monnoies : une partie des monnoies tend alors a retourner aux autres besoins ou aux autres usages ; il en résultera encore un changement dans les prix, parce que les métaux seront moins précieux relativement aux autres marchandises. Mais le numéraire effectif restera-t-il dans la circulation ? Ne resulterat-il pas une stagnation d’une quantité surabondante de numéraire ? Le numéraire effectif retournera-til aux autres besoins ? sera-t-il attiré par l'étranger ? resultera-t-il de l’émission nouvelle, des dépenses de luxe ou des dépenses alimentaires ? ? toutes ces causes variables influeront sur les prix. Others estimate the increase in prices that will be produced by the issue of two billion of assignats at 25 per cent. This estimate is as arbitrary as that of the doubling [of prices]. Personally, I fear that the stagnation in circulation produced by the revolution does not produce a fall that will not be compensated by this increase. If an issue of notes by the state is founded on confidence, and if it is meant for the acquittal of debts that are due to be paid, it produces no increase [266] in prices about which any class of society could complain, since it replaces a due issue of coin. Finance bills founded on confidence would produce the same effect on circulation as assignats, because trade could increase its credit by means of well-accredited finance bills, and productive enterprises would arouse a new competition through that credit. One should not confuse an issue of currency or of state notes meant for the acquittal of claims, with currency or notes of the state that would fall from the sky, or that would be introduced by some charitable act: the former do not produce new spending power, the latter do create new spending power. Moreover, those who make calculations about an issue of state notes, equal to the quantity of currency, should note that one must count among the papers that have the function of currency, letters of exchange and endorsements. It should also be noted that the same good is bought several times, passing from production through all the channels of fabrication, and that it is only the final consumption which determines its prices. If the expenditures made by the proprietors after an issue of state notes are not dissipatory then there is a great advantage to the nation in the reduction of coin in favour of other needs for metals; because the currency [267] is nothing but one of the costs of enjoyment, which reduce the disposable wealth rather than increase it. The currency has no immediate utility to man, it is only useful because it facilitates the circulation of immediately useful objects. Every time man diminishes the need for things of mediate utility to the benefit of things of immediate utility, he increases his wealth. That which is tool, machine, or instrument, for example, can be considered as being of mediate utility,

At the origins of mathematical economics


and every time one can simplify, tools, machines or instruments, it is to the benefit of wealth that is immediately useful. It is in this manner that the reduction in currency can be advantageous: when the need for it becomes less through the substitution of papers that have enough credit to replace real pledges. The state has two billion of payable debts. I assume that it is ordered by a decree that the payable debt is distributed among all proprietors of every kind, in proportion to their capitals, and that they will be charged to pay it off within a given period. But I assume that this period is sufficient that a given quantity of currency by circulating could serve for the payment of a sum that is four or five times as much or even more. It is known that the D’autres estiment à 25 pour cent, la hausse du prix des denrées que produira l’émission de deux milliards d’assignats. Cette estimation est aussi arbitraire que celle du double. Pour moi je crains bien que les engorgemens de circulation que produit la revolution, ne produisent une baisse qui ne soit pas compensée par cette hausse. Si une emission de billets d’états est fondée sur la confiance, & quelle soit destinée a acquitter des dettes exigibles, elle ne produit pas un accroissement [266] dans les prix contre lequel aucune classe de l’état puisse réclamer, puisqu’elle remplace une emission exigible de numéraire. Des quittances de finances fondées sur la confiance, produiroient le même effet sur la circulation que des assignats, car le commerce pourroit accroître son credit par des quittances de finance bien accréditées, & les sources de productions exciteroient une nouvelle concurrence par ce credit. Il ne faut pas confondre une emission de numéraire ou de billets d’état destinés à acquitter des créances, avec du numéraire ou des billets d’état qui tomberoient du ciel, ou seroient introduits par une bienfaisance quelconque : les uns ne produisent pas des facultés nouvelles, les autres créent de nouvelles facultés. D’ailleurs ceux qui font des calculs sur une emission de billets d’état, équivalente à la quantité de numéraire, doivent observer qu’il faut compter dans les effets qui font fonction de numéraire, les lettres de changes & les endossemens. Il faut observer aussi qu’une même denrée est achetée plusieurs fois, en passant de la production par tous les canaux de la fabrication, & que ce n’est que la consommation definitive qui determine ses prix. Si les dépenses que font les propriétaires par une emission des billets d’état, ne sont pas dissipatrices, il résulte un grand avantage pour la nation, de la diminution de numéraire au profit des autres besoins de métaux ; car le numéraire [267] n’est qu’un des frais de jouissance qui diminuent plutôt la richesse disponible, qu’ils ne l’accroissent. Le numéraire n’est point a l’homme d’une utilité immediate, il ne lui est utile que parce qu’il facilite la circulation des objets immédiatement utiles. Toutes les fois que l’homme peut diminuer les besoins des choses d’une utilité mediate, au profit des choses d’une utilité immediate, il accroît ses richesses. Ce qui est, outil, machine ou instrument, par exemple, peut être considéré comme étant d’une utilité mediate, & toutes les fois qu’on peut simplifier les outils, les machines ou les instrumens, c’est au profit des richesses immédiatement utiles. C’est ainsi que la diminution du numéraire peut être avantageuse ; c’est lorsque le besoin en devient moindre par la substitution d’effets qui ayent assez de credit pour remplacer des gages réels.

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L’état a deux milliards de dettes exigibles. Je suppose que par un décret on ordonne que la dette exigible sera répartie sur tous les propriétaires quelconques, en raison de leurs capitaux, & qu’ils seront charges de l’acquitter en un espace de tems determine. Mais je suppose que ce temps soit suffisant, pour que la circulation, une quantité déterminée de numéraire puisse servir a payer une somme quadruple ou quintuple de cette quantité ou same quantity of currency can serve for the circulation of a quantity of goods that is equal to a much [268] larger sum, and that this quantity varies relative to the speed of circulation. Thus it could happen that in a nation that has no more than 600 million of currency, this nation would pay 600 million of taxes annually, because each écu could pass through the public purse several times a year. It is thus that in an army, a sum of currency can enable the circulation of a much larger sum of goods, because the currency can pass from the canteens into the coffers, from the coffers into the pockets, from the pockets to the canteens, and have the same circulation several times; the entrepreneurs may lend their profits to the coffers and give their provisions on credit. Therefore, I can assume that the sum of two billion can be paid in one year by all proprietors, even though the total amount of currency may not be more than two billion. I will assume, if one wants, that some of the proprietors pay cash and others by means of contracts mortgaged on their funds: they will pay the debt with their capitals rather than paying it with their income. Then the expenditure of the creditors will sustain itself, and that of the proprietors will necessarily be restrained. It is possible that the expenditure of the former compensates the economising of the others. Under this assumption the debt would be paid off without causing a considerable variation in prices. It will be easily understood that these are not [269] plans that I propose, they are assumptions I make to examine the effects resulting from those assumptions. Since the debt is payable, it should be paid in currency; but if it is assumed that price variations must be caused by the issue of paper money, those variations will not be greater than if one would pay in the way one should. Thus the proprietors of payable financial claims have a right to arouse a circulation that is the same as what it would be if real payment would take place, under the assumption that no new currency would be introduced. They must arouse this circulation because they have purchasing power, by virtue of their claims. It is this purchasing power which must arouse this circulation, and produce variations in prices, rather than an issue of paper money. The purchasing power the creditors of the state enjoy, in reality and by right, being equal to two billion, are perhaps only one sixtieth part of the spending power of the inhabitants of the kingdom, whether in money capital, or in agricultural, mercantile and industrial funds; how can one assume that those spending powers when activated, either through a real payment or through promissory notes could make commodities double in price? même plus considerable ; on sçait qu’une même quantité de numéraire peut servir a la circulation d’une quantité de denrées équivalentes à une somme beaucoup [268] plus considerable, & que cette quantité varie en raison de la rapidité de la circulation.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Ainsi il pourroit se faire que dans une nation qui n’auroit que 600 millions de numéraire, cette nation payât annuellement 600 millions d’impôts, parce que chaque écu pourroit passer plusieurs fois dans l’année au trésor public. C’est ainsi que dans une armée, une somme de numéraire peut servir à la circulation d’une valeur beaucoup plus considerable de denrées, parce que le numéraire peut passer des cantines dans les caisses, des caisses dans les poches, des poches aux cantines, & faire plusieurs fois la même circulation ; les entrepreneurs prêtant leur bénéfice aux caisses & faisant leurs approvisionnemens a credit. Je puis done supposer que la somme de deux milliards peut être payee en une année par tous les propriétaires, quoique le numéraire total ne soit que de deux milliards. Je supposerai que si l’on veut que les propriétaires payent les uns comptant, les autres en contrats hypothèqués sur leurs fonds: ils payeront la dette sur leurs capitaux au lieu de la payer sur leur revenu. Alors la dépense se soutiendra de la part des créanciers, & elle sera néces-sairement restreinte de la part des propriétaires. Il est possible que la dépense des uns compense l’économie des autres. La dette se trouveroit payee dans cette supposition sans une variation considerable dans les prix. On observera aisément que ce sont pas ici [269] des projets que je suppose, ce sont des suppositions que je fais pour examiner les effets qui résultent de ces suppositions. Puisque la dette est exigible, elle devroit done être payee en numéraire ; mais si l’on suppose qu’il doit résulter des variations dans les prix de l’émis-sion du papier-monnoie, ces variations ne seront pas plus considérables que si l’on payoit ainsi qu’on le doit. Les propriétaires des créances exigibles ont done droit d’exciter une circu-lation telle qu’elle doit être par un payement réel, sans qu’on suppose une introduction nouvelle de numéraire. Ils doivent exciter cette circulation, parce qu’ils ont, en vertu de leurs créances, des facultés d’acquérir. Ce sont ces facultés d’acquérir qui doivent exciter cette circulation, & produire des variations dans les prix, plutôt qu’une emission de papiers-monnoie. Les facultés d’acquérir dont jouissent réellement, par le droit, les créanciers de l’état, étant équivalentes a deux milliards, ne sont peut-être que la soixantième partie des facultés des habitans du royaume, tant en capitaux, qu’en fonds de terre, de commerce & d’industrie ; comment peut-on supposer que ces facultés mises en état d’activité, soit par un payement réel, soit par des promesses de payer puissent faire doubler les prix des marchandises ? Has the issue of 400 million of assignats, equal [270] to one-fifth of France’s currency, produced an increase in the price of goods by one-fifth? Has it produced any noticeable increase?6 An issue of paper money to repay financial claims does not produce any new spending powers, it only activates it for those who have a right to it. Therefore I understand by paper money, a paper that, through its credit, can fulfil the function of real payment for commodities. There are different kinds of paper monies. They can be state notes, that is to say, notes to the bearer issued in the name of the state, as payment for credits. They can also be notes of hand of a deposit bank or a trading bank: the deposit bank is one that keeps all its deposits; the trading bank is one that, exploiting a large part of its deposits, keeps enough to satisfy the claimants.

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When they have all the necessary qualities to assure their credit, paper monies are of great utility in a state, because they leave a large part of metals to immediate needs and enjoyments, because their transport is rather less costly than that of specie or coins, and because that reduction in expenses benefits the mass of disposable wealth of a nation. [271] While good paper monies augment the mass of disposable wealth of a nation, bad paper monies can produce the most disastrous crises in the wealth of a nation. It is inappropriate to compare Law’s system7 to that of state notes. The former system consisted of a bank whose capital was to be composed of all the profits made by the merchants of the American, Asian and African trade, by the farmers-general, by the administrators of part of the domains, by the sovereign in the fabrication of money, and by the receivers-general of finances. The value of its shares thus depended on the enthusiasm with which they were sought after. Enthusiasm raised the prices of those shares to crazy levels. Bank notes were distributed in proportion to those prices. When the enthusiasm cooled, prices fell rapidly. It was found that the notes represented a fleeting and lost value. That is what brought down the system. However if the state issues promissory notes and if one of the guarantees of those promises is lacking then the state is not freed of that debt and it then has to pay out of taxes what it cannot acquit out of [national] domains. Moreover those who pay the municipalities the price of the nationalised lands in money will doubtless have the preference over [272] those who offer assignats and after the total sale, what will be the guarantee of the assignats remaining in circulation if not the public revenue? L’émission de 400 millions d’assignats, qui equivalent [270] au cinquième du numéraire de France, a-t-elle produit une augmentation d’un cinquième dans le prix des denrées ? a-t-elle seulement produit une augmentation sensible ? Une emission de papiers-monnoie pour payer des créances ne produit point de nouvelles facultés, il ne fait que donner de l’activité à celles qui ont droit d’en avoir. J’entends done par papier-monnoie, un papier qui, par son credit, peut faire la fonction de gage réel des marchandises. Les papiers-monnoies sont de différente espèce ; ils peuvent être des billets d’état, c’est-à-dire, des billets au porteur délivrés au nom de l’état, pour gages de créances. Ils peuvent être aussi des reconnoissances d’une banque de dépôt ou d’une banque commerçante ante : la banque de dépôt est celle qui conserve son dépôt; la banque commerçante est celle qui, en faisant valoir une grande partie de son dépôt, en conserve assez pour satisfaire les réaliseurs. Les papiers-monnoies sont d’une grande utilité dans un état, lorsqu’ils ont toutes les qualités nécessaires pour en assurer le credit, parce qu’ils rendent une grande partie des métaux aux besoins & aux jouissances immédiates, parce que leur transport est bien moins couteux que celui des espèces ou des monnoies, & que cette diminution de dépenses tourne au profit de la masse des richesses disponibles d’une nation. [271] De bons papiers-monnoies augmentent la masses des richesses disponibles d’une nation ; de mauvais papiers-monnoies peuvent produire les crises les plus désastreuses dans les richesses d’une nation. On a compare mal-à-propos le systême de Law, avec celui des billets d’état. Ce systême consistoit dans une banque, dont le capital devoit être compose de tous les profits que peuvent faire les commerçans d’Amérique, d’Asie & d’Afrique, les fermiers-

At the origins of mathematical economics


généraux, les administrateurs d’une partie des domaines, le souverain dans la fabrique des monnoies, & les receveursgénéraux des finances. La valeur de ces actions dépendoit done de l’enthousiasme avec lequel on les recherchoit. L’enthousiasme a élevé ces actions a des prix fous ; on a distribué des billets de banque en raison de ces prix ; l’enthousiasme s’est refroidi, les prix sont tombés avec rapidité ; il s’est trouvé alors des billets qui ne représentoient plus qu’une valeur passée & déchue, c’est ce qui a fait tomber le systême. Mais si l’état fait une emission de promesses de payer, & si une des hypothèques de ces promesses manque, l’état n’est pas quitte de ses promesses, & il faut alors payer sur les contributions ce qu’il ne peut acquitter sur des domaines. D’ailleurs ceux qui porteront de l’argent aux municipalités, en acquittement du prix des biens nationaux, auront sans doute la preference sur [272] ceux qui porteront des assignats, & d’après la vente totale, qu’elle sera l’hypothèque des assignats qui resteront dans la circulation, si ce n’est le revenu public ? One can suppose either that the notes of the state carry interest, or that they do not carry interest, or that they carry an interest that is below the normal current rate of interest. In principle a debt should carry interest, because the funds enjoyed by the debtor, or those upon which the debt is mortgaged, are assumed to be productive. The debts created by the state, for example, are either mortgaged on the domains of the state, or are supposed to be mortgaged on the funds of individuals who have to contribute to the public revenue. Since those funds are productive and the debts mortgaged on those funds are a kind of co-ownership, the creditor must share in the annual reproduction. Through whoever’s hands paper money without interest passes, they do not share in the revenue of the funds on which it is mortgaged. With that kind of note the debtor pays less than he owes. But, it will be said, one can lend paper money at interest. Moreover, it will also be said, since it replaces coin, no stagnation that is detrimental to the owner needs to occur; or if [273] a noticeable stagnation occurs one can indemnify the owner with a portion of the current rate of interest. In the first place, it is necessary that paper money is accepted in trade and that obligations are accepted to pay after a given period a value that may be much greater than that received. One can oblige someone, not by right but by force, to accept a note of the state as payment, but one cannot oblige a trader, neither by right nor by force, to take notes of the state for a loan. When trade is forced to accept them at conditions that are disadvantageous to the lender, would trade be flourishing enough to assure the merchant the sale of consumption goods that can give rise to the employment of capital equivalent to two billion? If all at once trade puts into circulation an immense sum of state notes, this will make the goods necessary to production more expensive and it is not certain that by the time the products are put up for sale the sales revenue will be sufficient to cover those costs. A considerable affluence of funds to be placed in trade will result for the carrier of notes, who can be considered the lender, in a fall in interest below the normal rate of interest. The lender would therefore lose a part of the revenue that he has a right to expect from the state, which is his debtor, [274] and moreover the expenditure that would be made by trade according to the hypothesis, by increasing the prices of goods, would impoverish the carrier of notes even more.

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The means is therefore only expedient in so far that it can hide from the creditors of the state and the carriers of the notes the wrong that is done to them. But it is no more legitimate than a bankruptcy or an official depreciation. On peut supposer que des billets d’état portent intérêt & qu’ils ne portent pas intérêt, ou qu’ils portent un intérêt au dessous du cours ordinaire de l’intérêt. Il est dans les principes qu’une créance doit porter intérêt, parce que les fonds dont jouit le débiteur, ou sur lesquels sont hypothéquées les créances, sont supposes productifs. Les créances de l’état, par exemple, ou sont hypothéquées sur des domaines de l’état, ou sont censées hypothéquées sur des fonds particuliers, qui doivent contribuer au revenu public. Comme ces fonds sont productifs, & que les créances hypothéquées sur ces fonds, sont des espèces de co-propriétés de ces fonds ; le créancier doit participer aux reproductions annuelles. Par quelques mains que circule un papier-monnoie sans intérêt, il ne participe point au revenu des fonds sur lesquels il est hypothéqué. Le débiteur paye moins qu’il ne doit, par un billet de cette espèce. Mais, dira-t-on, on peut prêter à un intérêt un papier-monnoie. D’ailleurs, dira-t-on encore, comme il remplace le numéraire, il ne doit point éprouver une stagnation préjudiciable au propriétaire ; ou il s’éprouve [273] quelque stagnation sensible, on peut indemniser le propriétaire par une portion du taux courant de l’intérêt. Il faut d’abord que le commerce veuille accepter du papier-monnoie & oblige a payer après une époque déterminée, une valeur peut être beaucoup plus considerable que celle qu’il aura reçue ; on peut obliger, non pas en vertu du droit, mais en vertu de la force, à recevoir en payement, un billet d’état, & on ne peut obliger ni en vertu du droit, ni en vertu de la force, un négociant a prendre en emprunt, des billets d’état. Quand le commerce seroit porté à en prendre à des conditions désavantageuses pour le prêteur, le commerce seroit-il assez florissant pour assurer au commerçant le debit des objets de consommation que doit faire naître un emploi de capitaux equivalent a deux milliards ? Si le commerce met tout à-la-fois dans la circulation une somme immense de billets d’état, il renchérira les denrées nécessaires a la production, & il n’est pas certain qu’à l’époque où ses productions seront mises en vente, le debit pourra l’indemniser de ses frais. Une affluence considerable de fonds a placer dans le commerce, produiroit pour le porteur de billets que l’on suppose prêteur, une baisse d’intérêt au-dessous du cours d’intérêt ordinaire ; le prêteur perdroit done une partie du revenu qu’il a droit d’attendre de l’état, qui est son débiteur, [274] & d’ailleurs la dépense que feroit le commerce suivant l’hypothèse, en augmentant les prix des denrées appauvriroit encore le porteur de billets. Le moyen n’est done ingénieux qu’en ce qu’il peut cacher aux créanciers de l’état ou aux porteurs de billets, le tort qu’on leur fait. Mais il n’est pas plus légitime qu’une banqueroute ou une reduction déclarée. The creditor of the state or the creditor of the creditor of the state should therefore use the fictitious cash [to purchase] consumable goods. If he keeps it he will lose the interest on his capital. And only by supposing that no stagnation in the circulation of cash occurs can one permit to issue a state note without interest.

At the origins of mathematical economics


It has perhaps not often been noticed that because real money does not carry interest the quantity of money rises naturally to the level it should have for circulation to take place without stagnation. This is the reason for the limit that establishes itself between the share of metals that are used for the needs of life and the share used to serve as money. In nature everything has its limits of increase and decrease; it is up to man to discover these if he wants to reason soundly about natural effects. An exception to this rule arises from the love [275] of hoarding. This love is devoted to real metals, to effective pledges. But savers do not trust the fictitious and only show confidence in papers that represent gold a long time after this confidence is established in circulation. In order to believe that paper money does not have to carry interest, if one compares it with effective money, one should thus hope that it would not experience stagnation. Yet stagnation is unavoidable if there is no confidence and as long as the state note is not at a par with money or real cash. With the plan to create assignats without interest, one can thus allow the reimbursement of the whole debt with promissory notes without interest! One has compared state notes without interest to bank notes. But bank notes are at par, otherwise the bank will be faced with its ruin. One can foresee that state notes without interest will never be at par. Who can calculate if an issue of state notes will establish an equilibrium such that the fictitious and effective money supply will not experience stagnation and what the right issue is to produce that equilibrium. It is no more permitted to the state to issue finance bills with an interest below [276] par than assignats with an interest of the same kind. If the assignats are free, assignats and finance bills are one and the same thing. One should not engage in operations of this kind and say: we do not declare bankruptcy, the financial operations dictated by arbitrary power will not happen again. Bank notes do not carry interest and that must remain so as long as they have the function of money, as long as their convertibility is certain, because like coins these paper monies do not experience stagnation. Bank notes differ from state notes in that trade and deposits establish themselves the quantity of paper that does not harm circulation. Who will Ce sera done en objets de consommation qu’il faudra que le créancier de l’état, ou le créancier du créancier de l’état, emploie le numéraire fictif, s’il ne veut pas le garder ; s’il le garde, il perdra l’intérêt de ses capitaux. Et ce n’est qu’un supposant qu’il n’en résultera pas de stagnation dans la circulation du numéraire, qu’on ne peut se permettre de délivrer un billet d’état sans intérêt. On n’a peut être pas assez observe que par la raison que le numéraire réel ne porte pas intérêt, la quantité de numéraire s’élève naturellement jusqu’au point où il doit être pour que la circulation se fasse sans stagnation ; c’est-là la raison des limites qui s’établissent entre la portion des métaux employés aux besoins de la vie, & la portion employee au service des monnoies. Tout présente dans la nature les raisons des limites des accroissemens & des diminutions ; c’est a l’homme à les découvrir s’il veut raisonner avec sagacité sur les effets naturels. Ce principe reçoit des exceptions par l’amour de [275] la thésaurisation; cet amour s’exerce sur les métaux réels, sur des gages effectifs ; mais les hommes a coffre-fort ne

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donnent pas dans le fictif, & ne témoignent leur confiance aux papiers représentans de l’or, que long-temps après l’établissement de cette confiance dans la circulation. Pour croire qu’un papier monnoie peut ne pas porter intérêt, si on le compare au numéraire effectif, il faut done espérer qu’il n’éprouvera pas de stagnation. Or la stagnation est indispensable s’il n’y a pas de confiance & tant que le billet d’état n’est pas au pair de l’argent ou du numéraire réel. Avec le systême de créer des assignats sans intérêt, on peut done se permettre de rembourser toute la dette par des promesses sans intérêt ! Si l’on a droit de rembourser l’exigible en billets sans intérêt, on auroit done le droit aussi de rembourser le nonexigible sans intérêt ! On a compare les billets d’état sans intérêt aux billets de banque ; mais les billets de banque sont au pair, ou la banque est menacée de se ruine. On doit prévoir que des billets d’état sans intérêt ne seront jamais au pair. Qui peut calculer si une emission de billets d’état établira un équilibre tel que le numéraire fictif & effectif, n’éprouve pas de stagnation & quelle est l emission propre a produire cet équilibre. Il n’est pas plus permis a l’état de délivrer des quittances de finance avec un intérêt audessous [276] du pair, que des assignats avec un intérêt de la même espèce. Si les assignats sont libres, les assignats & les quittances de finance ne sont qu’une seule & même chose ; il ne faut pas faire des opérations de cette espèce & dire : nous ne faisons pas banqueroute, les operations de finance dictées par le pouvoir arbitraire ne se renouvellent plus. Les billets de banque ne portent pas intérêt, & cela doit être tant qu’ils font la fonction de numéraire, tant que la realisation est certaine, parce que comme le numéraire, ces papiers monnoies n’éprouvent pas de stagnation. Les billets de banque different des billet d’état, en ce que le commerce & les dépôts établissent eux-même, quelle est la quantité de papiers monnoies dare to assure, on the other hand, what is the quantity of state notes that will not harm circulation? An issue of state notes, supposing that it will be appropriate to maintain it at par, can only be made in a piecemeal manner and up to the point where the natural effects of circulation fail. A considerable and sudden issue can produce dangerous upheavals in circulation even when their mortgages are good. What will happen then if confidence is lacking? But, it will be said, one can suppose a stagnation of state notes and establish a rate of interest below the normal rate of interest, such that the carriers be indemnified for the period of stagnation. [277] One can only establish such an average rate of interest in an arbitrary manner. No man can calculate it because it depends on an immense number of variables and no man should permit himself to opine in favour of arbitrary laws, when he will, by expressing his opinion, certainly conspire against property. It cannot be hoped that state notes without interest or carrying reduced interest can maintain themselves at par. State notes that are forced, without interest and without term of reimbursement are chimeras. If they would be forced, with interest and without term of reimbursement, they would be withheld [from circulation], because the interest that gives them currency would be below par.

At the origins of mathematical economics


State notes are good and advantageous if they are supported by confidence. Their issue should only take place gradually, to prevent shocks in circulation. They should carry interest as long as it is not certain that by replacing cash they do not experience stagnation. Forcing people to accept them is violating properties. As long as state notes are not at par property is threatened. If property is threatened the goal of satisfying the commitments made by the sovereign in name of the nation is failing. State notes can only be advantageous if confidence is maintained. Yet if they are forced this is because they are not supported by confidence. [278] If they are supported by confidence it is unnecessary to force them. Declaring state notes forced is declaring that one does not have any hope in their confidence, it is revealing the weakness of the basis for confidence. By making assignats forced one favours the debtors who buy the assignats at a low price in order to acquit themselves [of their debts], one favours treasures who will sell silver and will pay with paper, one favours the infidelity of commissioners who will receive silver and will pay with paper. One can force people to accept assignats for the money one owes, but one cannot force them to give the money they have for assignats; that is what will always harm the assignats.8 If the assignats are forced they may ruin France, if they are free they will not be taken up. qui ne nuit pas à la circulation. Qu’est-ce qui osera assurer, au contraire, quelle est la quantité de billets d’état qui ne nuira pas à la circulation ? Une emission de billets d’état, en supposant qu’ils soient propres à se maintenir au pair, ne peut se faire que par gradations & jusqu’à ce que les effets naturels de la circulation les refusent; une emission considerable faite subitement, peut produire des revolutions dangereuses dans la circulation, même en supposant que leur hypothéque soit bonne ; que sera-ce lorsque la confiance manquera ? Mais on peut supposer, dira-t-on, une stagnation des billets d’état, & établir un taux d’intérêt, au-dessous du course ordinaire de l’intérêt, & tel que le porteur soit indemnité des temps de stagnation. [277] Ce n’est qu’arbitrairement qu’on peut établir un tel taux d’intérêt moyen. Aucun homme ne peut le calculer, parce qu’il depend d’une immensité de variables, & aucun homme ne doit se permettre d’opiner pour des loix arbitraires, lorsqu’il doit attenter à la propriété, par son opinion, d’une manière aussi certaine. On ne doit pas espérer que des billets d’état sans intérêt ou portant intérêt réduit, puissent se mettre au pair. Des billets d’état forces, sans intérêt, sans terme de remboursement, sont des chimères ; s’ils étoient forces avec intérêt sans terme de remboursement, on les garderoient, parce que l’intérêt qu’en donneroit le commerce, seroit au-dessous du pair. Des billets d’état sont bons & avantageux, si la confiance les soutient ; leur emission ne doit se faire que par des degrés, pour ne pas produire de secousses dans la circulation. Ils doivent porter intérêt tant qu’on n’est pas certain qu’en remplaçant le numéraire, ils n’éprouvent pas de stagnation ; forcer a les recevoir, c’est violer les propriétés. Tant que les billets d’état ne sont pas au pair, la propriété est menacée; si la propriété est menacée, le but de statifaire aux engagemens pris par le souverain, au nom de la nation, est manqué.

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Les billets d’état ne peuvent être avantageux qui si la confiance les soutient; or s’ils sont forces, c’est parce que la confiance ne les soutient pas. [278] Si la confiance les soutient, il est inutile de les rendre forces ; déclarer les billets d’état forces, c’est déclarer soi-même que l’on ne fonde aucun espoir sur la confiance, c’est découvrir soi-même la foiblesse des bases de la confiance. En rendant les assignats forces, on favorise les débiteurs qui achètent des assignats a vil prix pour s’acquiter, on favorise les trésoriers qui vendront l’argent & paieront en papier ; on favorise l’infidélité des commissionnaires qui recevront en argent & paieront en papier. On peut forcer de donner des assignats pour de l’argent qu’on doit, mais on ne peut forcer de donner de l’argent qu’on a pour des assignats ; voilà ce qui nuira toujours aux assignats. Si les assignats sont forces, ils peuvent ruiner la France ; s’ils sont libres, ils ne prendront pas. Once it is well recognised that forced assignats are bad it will perhaps be too late to take recourse to taxation in order to save France. It is a great ill not to tax appropriately and to burden future generations with present expenditures, because there will come a time when the excess of taxes will harm the reproduction of wealth. The ease with which the 400 millions of assignats have been used, while foregoing the imposition of new taxes for the year 1790, may cost France dearly. There is no production without circulation [279] or sale; there is no circulation or sale without confidence. There will be no confidence if the assignats are forced or if the mortgages are bad, which is the same thing. Because no violence has to be exercised towards someone who has an interest in accepting them. The loss of assignats, the ease with which assignats can be stolen, forged, the ease with which one can be ruined by financial speculation, the ease with which the classes that are initiated in the mysteries of administration will be able to make gains from speculation will harm the success of the assignats. We will prove that state notes cannot be advantageous if they are not supported by confidence. If confidence does not support state notes their fate will be unknown and foreigners will not want them; the fluctuations in their fate will expose nationals to reversals of fortune and the fear of these reversals will stop circulation, will prevent future contracts, will harm enterprises, and will feed the spirit of speculation. The sources of products or of the increase in wealth that may be harmed by an issue of state notes are internal trade, external trade, industry, agriculture and the population. If confidence does not support state notes all these sources of wealth will experience obstruction and instead of enriching itself the state [280] will see tax receipts reduced, since they can only grow with general revenue. Trade may offer an outlet to assignats, to be of use to large enterprises; but if the issue is substantial it will not absorb a mass of fictitious money that may be withdrawn from trade after one year to be put down for the purchase of ecclesiastical property. When all sources of products languish at the same time, each of them further influences all the others, and because of this the decline is progressive and rapidly increasing.

At the origins of mathematical economics


State notes cannot be subdivided into very small sums otherwise trade would be exposed to theft, loss, robbery and forgery. Therefore one cannot banish effective money from circulation, at least for small sums. Neither can it be banished for the payment of large sums, because then one would have to relinquish foreign trade and moreover the more real money is removed from co-existing with representative money, Il sera peut être trop tard de recourir aux impôts pour sauver la France, lorsqu’on sera bien convaincu que les assignats forces sont mauvais ; c’est un grand mal de ne pas imposer a propos, & de rejetter, sur les générations futures, la charge des dépenses présentes, parce qu’il vient un temps où l’excès des impôts, nuit à la reproduction des richesses. La facilité avec laquelle on s’est servi des 400 millions d’assignats créés, en se dispensant d’établir de nouveaux impôts pour l’année 1790, peut couter bien cher a la France. Il n’y aura point de production, sans circulation [279] ou debit ; il n’y aura pas de circulation ou debit, sans confiance. Il n’y aura point de confiance si les assignats sont forces ou si les hypothèques sont mauvaises, ce qui est la même chose ; car il n’y a point de violence a exercer envers celui qui est intéressé a accepter. Les pertes d’assignats, la facilité de voler des assignats, les contrefactions, la facilité d’être ruiné par l’agiotage, la facilité que des classes initiées aux mystères de l’administration, auront de faire des gains par l’agiotage, nuiront aux succès des assignats. Nous allons prouver que les billets d’état ne peuvent être avantageux, si la confiance ne les soutient. Si la confiance ne soutient pas les billets d’état, leur sort sera flottant, & les étrangers n’en voudront pas ; les fluctuations de leur sort exposeront les nationaux a éprouver des revers de fortune, & la crainte de ces revers arrêtera la circulation, empêchera les marches a terme, nuira aux entreprises, entretiendra l’esprit d’agiotage. Les sources de productions ou d’accroissement de richesses auxquelles peut nuire une emission de billets d’état, sont le commerce intérieur, le commerce extérieur, l’industrie, l’agriculture & la population ; or si la confiance ne soutient pas les billets d’état, toutes ces sources de richesses éprouveront des engorgemens, & l’état au lieu de s’enrichir, [280] verra diminuer les impôts, qui ne peuvent croître qu’avec le revenu général. Le commerce peut offrir un débouché aux assignats, pour servir a de grandes entreprises ; mais si l’émission est considerable, il ne se chargera pas d’une masse de numéraire fictif, qui peut lui être enlevé au bout d’un an, pour être porté a l’achat des biens ecclésiastiques. Lorsque toutes les sources de productions languissent toutes à-la-fois, l’effet qui se produit sur chacune influent encore sur toutes les autres, & la dépérissement est par-là même progressif ; il s’accroît suivant une progression très-rapide. Les billets d’état ne peuvent se subdiviser en très-petites sommes, sans exposer le commerce aux vols, aux pertes, aux brigandages, aux contrefactions. On ne peut done bannir le numéraire effectif de la circulation, au moins pour les petites sommes ; on ne peut le bannir non plus pour l’acquittement des grosses sommes ; car il faudroit dès lors renoncer au commerce étranger, & d’ailleurs plus le numéraire s’éloignera de concourir avec les

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the more distant confidence becomes. Thus the hypothesis of confidence cannot be upheld together with the hypothesis of the absolute removal of effective money. If confidence is not complete, representative money cannot maintain itself at par with effective money and thus one will obtain [281] silver for paper at a loss. One will not know whether he who has gained by taking money will not lose more the next day by disposing of it. He who receives paper in payment of debts does not know how much he will lose in order to dispose of it, and he who has made a future contract does not know how much he will be paid at an agreed time. If trade is directed to receiving capitals in order to employ them as productive funds, it will lend at a very low price because of the great competition between lenders and it will expose itself to making little profit by paying costs that are increased by the competition from the new papers brought into circulation. An issue of fictitious or real money promptly supplies to trade what has been withdrawn from it slowly. All those obstacles discourage production whose source cannot do without effective money. Interior trade, industry and agriculture will thus be obstructed at their source; the population, which feeds those sources of production and which is fed by them, will also experience obstacles to its growth. Instead of employing capitals in productive funds, either in warehousing, in shipping, in large acquisitions, in manufactories, or in land clearing, trade and industry will become an idle chase of capitals that [282] may be elusive, and for which they are held to pay either uncertain interest, or an interest in terms of effective money. The more considerable the issue is the larger are those obstructions. The fear of seeing the forced assignats change into free assignats is one of the great obstacles to the success of the forced assignats. How can one talk any longer of liberty under a regime where state notes are forced? A so-called liberty of that kind will destroy what centuries of so-called despotism made prosper. One of the harmful consequences of assignats is that some products will increase more in price than others because they are more susceptible to being paid in assignats. Moreover, most merchandises are payable in assignats wholesale and in coins in small quantities. Manufacturers will pay their costs in coins and will receive their profits in assignats’. there will thus necessarily be losses if the assignats are not at par. A state is obliged to pay with effective money in its colonies and abroad if confidence does not maintain state notes; because one cannot force colonies without risking their loss, because confidence is not decreed [283] and because foreign countries are sheltered from decrees. numéraire représentatif, plus la confiance s’éloignera ; ainsi l’hypothèse de la confiance ne peut se soutenir avec l’hypothèse de l’éloignement absolu du numéraire effectif. Si la confiance n’est pas entière, le numéraire représentatif, ne peut se soutenir au pair, avec le numéraire effectif, & alors on se procurera de [281] l’argent, pour du papier, avec perte, & l’on ne saura pas si le lendemain celui qui a gagné en prenant du papier, ne perdra pas davantage pour s’en défaire, & celui qui reçoit du papier en acquittement de dettes, ne sçait pas combien il perdra pour s’en défaire, & celui qui fait un marché a termes, ne sçait pas de combien il sera payé a une époque déterminée.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Si le commerce se determinoit a recevoir des capitaux pour les employer en fonds productifs, il emprunteroit a très-bas prix a cause de la grande concurrence des prêteurs, & il s’exposeroient a faire peu de profits en payant des frais renchéris par la concurrence des nouveaux effets mis dans la circulation. Une emission de numéraire fictif ou réel, rend au commerce subitement, ce qui lui a etc enlevé lentement. Toutes ces entraves découragent la production dont la source ne peut se passer de numéraire effectif. Le commerce intérieur, l’industrie & l’agriculture, seront done engorgés dès leur source ; la population qui alimente ces sources de productions, & qui est alimentée par elle, éprouvera aussi des obstacles a son accroissement. Au lieu d’employer les capitaux aux fonds de productions, soit en magasins, soit en vaisseaux, soit en grandes acquisitions, soit en manufactures, soit en défrichemens ; le commerce & l’industrie ne se chargeront qu’en tatonnant de capitaux, qui [282] peuvent manquer dans leurs mains, & pour lesquels ils seront tenus de payer ou un intérêt incertain, ou un intérêt en numéraire effectif. Ces entraves seront d’autant plus grandes, que remission plus considerable. La crainte de voir changer les assignats forces, en assignats libres, est un des grands obstacles au succès des assignats forces. Comment peut-on encore parler de liberté sous un regime où les billets d’état sont forces ? une prétendue liberté de cette espèce, détruira ce que des siècles prétendu despotisme ont fait prospérer. Une des consequences nuisibles des assignats, c’est qu’il y a des denrées qui augmenteront plus que d’autres parce qu’elles sont plus susceptibles d’être payées en assignats. D’ailleurs, la plupart des marchandises seront payables, par assignats en gros, & par argent en detail ; les manufactures paieront leurs frais en argent, & recevront leurs profits en assignats : il y aura done des pertes nécessaires si les assignats ne sont pas au pair. Un état oblige de payer dans ses colonies & chez l’étranger, en numéraire effectif, si la confiance ne soutient pas les billets d’état; parce qu’on ne peut forcer des colonies, sans s’exposer a les perdre, & parce que la confiance ne se décrète [283] pas, & parce que l’étranger est a l’abri des décrets. Therefore the trader who has connections abroad and with colonies will have to speculate in fear, if confidence does not support state notes. He is thus exposed to loss when buying money, or have his partners exposed to loss. The very fears to which the trader is exposed make his credit falter and since credit increases the funds of a trader tenfold his undertakings must suffer considerably from an issue of assignats without confidence. Foreigners will withdraw all their credits from France and will be afraid to put their funds in our trade if they are forced to content themselves with assignats as repayments. If foreign trade is conducted only with effective money, trade will lose either the cost of transport of specie, or the costs that replace it when bills of exchange are used. It is rather surprising that this truth expressed by M.Bergasse9 has been contested, yet I defy [anyone who claims] that one can acquit foreign debts without having real specie transported, without having to pay the costs of transport, or without paying the costs of exchange, which are always payable on the spot, which means having to pay more than is received. Since foreigners will always want to be paid in silver and will be able to pay

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with notes or at least to make a profit [284] from the trade in those notes, they will be due in silver more than they owe, which is either to their benefit or to the benefit of their commission agents. Besides, when the interior sources of production languish one will buy commodities from abroad and one will have to pay for them in silver, and if foreigners are allowed to pay with state notes, trade will not be tempted to sell to them any more than to nationals. If the price of goods increases, the sale abroad of national commodities will decline and the price of foreign commodities will also increase in France. If state notes are not supported by confidence, no class in the state will be keen to obtain them, for fear of holding them when they fall. If one does not have confidence in them it is because their fall is feared, this fear is thus bound to hold back all enterprises, obstructing all sources of production. Duress is not a remedy for lack of confidence, because duress only aggravates mistrust. By making state notes forced one forces free property owners to become creditors of the state. This is a violation of property that cannot be compared to laws that enforce tax contributions, because the losses that may have to be endured through forced state notes are not proportional [285] to the ability to pay. Everything rests on confidence. The issue can only succeed with confidence. If confidence exists it is unnecessary to use force; if confidence does not exist the issue is dangerous. If the assignats are forced, this is attributing to them a reality they do not have, it is making wealth of something that is not. Nothing demonstrates the weakness of the basis of confidence better than the duress to accept assignats. Le négociant qui a des rapports avec l’étranger & avec les colonies, doit done désormais faire ses speculations avec crainte, si la confiance ne soutient pas les billets d’état. Il est done expose a perdre, pour se procurer du numéraire, ou avoir des correspondans exposes à perdre ; les craintes même auxquelles est expose le négociant, font chanceler son credit, & comme le credit décuple les fonds d’un négociant, ses entreprises doivent souffrir considérablement, d’une emission d’assignats sans confiance. L’étranger retirera de France toutes ses créances & craindra de mettre des fonds dans notre commerce, s’il est oblige de s’en tenir a des assignats pour être remboursé. Si le commerce étranger ne se fait qu’avec du numéraire effectif, le commerce perdra ou les frais de transport d’espèce, ou les frais qui le remplacent par le moyen du change ; il est bien étonnant qu’on ait contesté à M. Bergasse, cette vérité ; car je défie qu’on s’acquitte avec l’étranger sans faire transporter réellement des espèces, en payant des frais de voiture, ou sans payer les frais du change, qui tombent toujours a la charge de la place, qui a plus à payer qu’à recevoir ; comme les étrangers voudront toujours être payés en argent, & pourront trouver des moyens de payer en billets ou du moins de faire le bénéfice [284] que produira le commerce de ces billets, soit a leur profit, soit au profit de leurs commissionnaires, il leur sera dû en argent plus qu’ils ne devront. D’ailleurs, les sources de productions, languissant intérieurement, on tirera des marchandises de l’étranger, & il faudra les acquitter en argent, & si l’étranger trouve le moyen de s’acquitter en billets d’état, le commerce ne sera pas plus tenté de lui vendre que dans l’intérieur. Si le prix des denrées augmente, le debit extérieur des marchandises nationales diminuera, & le prix des marchandises de l’étranger, augmentera aussi en France.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Si la confiance ne soutient pas les billets d’état, aucune classe de l’état ne sera empressée de s’en procurer, dans la crainte d’en être porteur lors de leur chute ; si on n’y à pas de confiance, c’est parce qu’on craint leur chute, cette crainte doit done retarder toutes les entreprises, engorger toutes les sources de productions. La contrainte n’est point un remède contre le défaut de confiance ; car la contrainte ne fait qu’aggraver la méfiance. En rendant les billets d’état forces, on force les propriétaires libres, à devenir créanciers de l’état ; c’est une violation de propriété qui ne peut être comparée aux loix qui forcent a des contributions ; parce que les pertes que peuvent faire essuyer les billets d’état forces, ne sont pas proportionnelles [285] aux facultés. Tout gît dans la confiance. L’émission ne peut réussir qu’avec la confiance. Si la confiance existe, il est inutile de forcer ; si la confiance n’existe pas, remission est dangereuse. Si les assignats sont forces, c’est leur attribuer une réalité qu’ils n’ont pas, c’est faire une richesse de ce qui n’en est pas. Rien ne démontre plus la foiblesse des bases de la confiance, que la contrainte de recevoir les assignats. But, it will be said, the assignats are not really state notes, they should rather be considered as notes of a bank whose capital consists of land and assignats could be realised when one desires by the acquisition of land. Thus they will obtain confidence. Perhaps it will even also be added that mistrust about this kind of state notes is spread by the manoeuvres of the enemies of the constitution. Let us therefore examine whether the assignats that have been or are to be created by the national assembly are suited to inspiring confidence. For a creditor to have confidence in his debtor, not only do his payments have to be at par, but also he needs to be able to count on the continuation of his payments, either because of real mortgages or because of a multitude of moral circumstances that are difficult to specify. [286] State notes are mortgaged either on state domains or on tax receipts. As soon as the national assembly has declared the assignats forced, she herself has declared that confidence may evade her. State notes are dangerous when one forbids receivers to give silver, when available, for paper. If a nation requires confidence, it cannot do it more effectively than by publishing its accounts. The national assembly herself knows so little of the accounts that each of her members puts the revenues, debts and expenditures at an arbitrary sum. Until now there has not been any account confirmed by the national assembly upon which the creditor of the state may base calculations or speculations to determine his confidence. As soon as assignats lose steadfast five or six per cent on the spot, one can reliably say that the assignats have not obtained public confidence. Everything thus forebodes that too large an issue will produce a very considerable loss. However, the rate of assignats must be a thermometer according to which one hastens to withdraw or allows the issue of assignats. The national assembly has engaged in financial operations bound to destroy confidence. 1. She has authorised the caisse d’escompte to suspend [287] its payments. She has given letters of suspension, which are emanations of arbitrary power, because the law ordains to pay what one owes.

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2. The decree of 19 December 1789 regarding the caisse d’escompte proves that the national assembly has been caught out because it simultaneously orders the creation of assignats and the free convertibility of notes of the caisse d’escompte. Yet the creation of the assignats is precisely what excuses the caisse d’escompte from offering convertibility. That decree therefore has been illusory for the creditors of the caisse d’escompte, who believing to be repaid in silver on the first of July, according to the Mais les assignats, dira-t-on, ne sont pas absolument des billets d’état, ils doivent plutôt être considered comme des billets d’une banque, dont le capital est en fonds de terre ; & les assignats pourront être realises quand on voudra, par l’acquisition des fonds de terre ; ils obtiendront done de la confiance : on ajoutera même aussi peut être que c’est par les manœuvres des ennemis de la constitution, qu’on répand de la méfiance, sur cette espèce de billets d’état. Examinons done si les assignats créés ou a créer par l’assemblée nationale, sont propres a inspirer de la confiance. Pour qu’un créancier ait de la confiance dans son débiteur, il faut nonseulement que ses paiemens soient au pair, mais encore que l’on puisse compter sur la continuation de ses paiemens, soit par des hypothèques réelles, soit par une multitude de circonstances morales qu’il est difficile de détailler. [286] Des billets d’état sont hypothéqués ou sur les domaines de l'état, ou sur les contributions. Dès que l’assemblée nationale, a declare les assignats forces, elle a declare elle-même que la confiance pouvoit lui échapper. Les billets d’état seront dangéreux, tant qu’il faudra défendre aux receveurs de donner de l’argent, quand ils en auront, pour du papier. Si une nation réclame la confiance, elle ne le peut faire avec plus d’efficacité qu’en publiant ses comptes. L’assemblée nationale connoît si peu les comptes elle-même, que chacun des ses membres porte les revenus, les dettes & les dépenses, a une somme arbitraire. Jusqu’à present il n’y a aucun compte avoué par l’assemblée nationale & sur lequel le créancier de l’état, puisse établir les calculs ou les speculations, qui détermineront sa confiance. Dès qu’il est constant que les assignats perdent cinq ou six pour cent, sur la place ; il est constant que les assignats n’ont point obtenu la confiance publique. Tout annonce done qu’une plus grande emission produira une perte plus considerable : le cours des assignats devroit cependant être un thermometre d’après lequel on s’empressât de retirer, ou l’on se permit d’émettre des assignats. L’assemblée nationale a fait des operations de finance propres à détruire la confiance. 1°. Elle a autorisé la caisse d’escompte a suspendre [287] ses payemens. Elle a done donné des lettres de sursis, qui sont des emanations du pouvoir arbitraire ; car la loi ordonne de payer ce qu’on doit. 2°. Le décret du 19 décembre 1789, concernant la caisse d’escompte, prouve que l’assemblée nationale s’est laissé surprendre, car il ordonne en même tems la creation des assignats & le paiement des billets de la caisse d’escompte, à bureau ouvert. Or la creation des assignats est précisément ce qui a dispense la caisse d’escompte de s’acquitter à bureau ouvert; parce les billets de la caisse ont etc convertis en assignats.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Ce décret a done etc illusoire pour les créanciers de la caisse d’escompte, qui, croyant être promise of the national assembly, have only been repaid by a promissory note of assinats, signed by le Couteux. 3°. The assignats that were to carry five per cent interest, according to the decree of 19 December 1789, have been reduced arbitrarily to three per cent of interest, by the decree of 17 April 1790. The national assembly has cleared the ecclesiastical lands of their mortgage. She has decreed that the contracts whereby the debtors have committed themselves to pay in cash will be considered void with regards that clause. These acts are breaches of the fidelity in agreements, which tallies badly with the display of French loyalty. The [288] arbitrary power [of the Ancien Regime] never produced laws more iniquitous than these. The deficit, which was fifty-six million at the time of the suspension of payments on the first of May 1789, is at present incalculable because daily revenues decrease and the spirit of independence grows. The people have been told that the state has been enriched by the addition of ecclesiastical land to the domains of the state. But the expenses of government have increased because of the new constitution and because of new forms of administration. Moreover, the principles established by the [declaration of] the rights of man may lead to the abolishment of the decisions of the current legislature, and it is unknown what will be the decisions of succeeding legislatures. Furthermore, the rustlings of civil war and insubordination among the people may yet ferment for a long time to come. Is the mortgage certain? Is the mortgage sufficient? No honest speculator is able to confirm that. What then will be the benefit to the state if the costs of religious practice and the payment of pensions are 160 million per year, if the debts of the clergy are seven to eight million and the levies for the poor 80 million, and if the state gives one sixteenth of the sales price [of ecclesiastical land] to the municipalities? [289] Can one believe that the project proposed by M.Bailly10 to sell the ecclesiastical land to the municipalities will be able to establish confidence? Only men with feeble minds could be seduced by that project. The municipalities are minor bodies that will not have any credit if the credit that a national assembly of representatives must lend to an operation of finance decreases or weakens. Moreover, the municipalities do not have the means to purchase [ecclesiastical land]. If capitalists can buy ecclesiastical land the credit of the municipalities is only an empty and useless intermediary. If capitalists are not allowed to buy, the municipalities can only be the administrators of that land. Should it not be asked whether the national assembly should resume the payments? They were resumed one year before the opening of the EstatesGeneral. remboursés en argent au premier juillet, d’après la promesse de l’assemblée nationale, ne l’ont été que par une promesse d’assignats, signé le Couteux. 3°. Les assignats qui doivent porter cinq pour cent d’intérêt, suivant le décret du 19 décembre 1789, ont été remis arbitrairement a 3 pour cent d’intérêt, par le décret du 17 avril 1790.

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L’assemblée nationale a dégagé le bien du clergé de son hypothèque ; elle a décrété que les contrats par lesquels les débiteurs se sont engages à payer en espèces, seroient regardés comme nuls, quant a cette clause. Ces actes sont des atteintes a la fidélité des engagemens qui figurent mal avec l’étalage que l’on a fait de la loyauté franchise. Le [288] pouvoir arbitraire n’a jamais rendu de loix plus iniques que celles-là. Le deficit qui, d’après la suspension des remboursemens étoit au premier mai 1789, de cinquante-six millions, est actuellement incalculable, parce que les revenus décroissent tous les jours, & que l’esprit d’indépendance s’accroît journellement. On dit au peuple que l’état est enrichi par la reunion des biens du clergé au domaine de l’état; mais les charges de l'état sont accrues par la nouvelle constitution & par les nouvelles formes d’administration ; mais les principes établis sur les droits du peuple, peuvent le porter a anéantir ces dispositions de la legislature actuelle ; mais on ignore qu’elles seront les dispositions des legislatures suivantes. Mais les germes de la guerre civile & de l’insubordination peuvent fermenter encore long-temps parmi le peuple. L’hypothèque est-elle certaine ? L’hypothèque est-elle suffisante ? C’est ce qu’aucun spéculateur de bonne foi, ne peut affirmer. Quel sera done le bénéfice de l’état, si les frais de culte & l’acquittement des pensions, coutent par an, 160 millions ; les dettes du clergé sept à huit millions ; la taxe pour les pauvres 80 millions ; si l’état accorde aux municipalités un seizième du prix des ventes ? [289] Croît-on que le projet propose par M.Bailly, de vendre les biens du clergé aux municipalités, est propre a établir la confiance ? ce projet ne peut séduire que les hommes foibles en conception ? Des municipalités sont des mineures qui n’auront aucun credit, si celui que doit donner une assemblée de représentans de la nation, à une operation de finance, baisse ou s’affoiblit. D’ailleurs les municipalités n’ont point de moyens d’acquérir. Si les capitalistes doivent acheter les biens du clergé, le credit des municipalités n’est qu’un intermediate vain & inutile ; si les capitalistes ne doivent pas acheter, les municipalités ne peuvent être que les administrateurs de ces biens. Ne peut-on pas se demander si les paiemens ne pouvoient pas se mettre au courant, par l’assemblée nationale ? Il y étoient un an avant l’ouverture des états-généraux. The national assembly proclaims such order, such savings, increased domains and nineteen hundred million are to be paid in paper! There will never be a financial operation that can re-establish [debt payments by the state] as long as trust in the agents of all the tutelary powers of the state is not reestablished and there will be no trust as long as they are not be in perfect agreement. There will be no trust as long as one part of the nation is the enemy of the other; no trust as long as the inferior classes have misplaced pretensions on the rights of the [290] superior classes; no trust as long as the prince does not enjoy sovereign monarchic authority; no trust as long as the constitution of 17 June 178911 has force of law. If the national assembly does not work towards the re-establishment of trust, its convocation will have been no more than one moment in a long sequence of abuse. If its laws are regarded arbitrary and its authority absolute, our descendants will say that the dominant party of this assembly committed a permanent breach of justice. If trust is re-established, if the balance between revenues and expenditures is established, if the present shortage of money is promptly repaired, either through discharge by capitalists who have hoarded it, or through the credit of promissory notes

At the origins of mathematical economics


which the state brings into circulation, then capitalists will find employment for their savings and those savings will benefit productive funds instead of taking a course towards consumptive expenditures. If trust accompanies an issue of assignats, there will be no fear or terror of merchants, which contribute to the increase in the prices of goods at the expense of consumers whose revenue has not increased due to that issue. If trust would be re-established the state would not have to fear seeing capitalists [291] take real money abroad, without open lending, either by consumers, or by the chiefs of enterprises of all sources of production of trade, industry and agriculture. There will be no distinction between free state notes and finance bills because trade will accept them with the same eagerness. The mass of disposable wealth will increase because of the reduction in the need for coins, which one should consider as belonging to the costs of enjoyment. No one will dismay that the sources of production are squeezed in order to satisfy the commitments of the state, because it will be seen that by reducing taxes to a less oppressive level one favours the increase in production, and the increase in revenue, which supports trust, and follows from the increase of all branches of production. France will shine with new light and it will renew the hope of seeing its prosperity increase along with the true happiness of its inhabitants. L’assemblée nationale annonce tant d’ordre, tant de reduction, un accroissement de domaines, & dix-neuf cent millions vont être payés en papier ! Il n’y aura jamais d’opération de finance propre a les rétablir, si la confiance ne se rétablit en faveur des agens de toutes les puissances tutélaires de l’état ; nulle confiance tant qu’elles ne seront pas dans un accord parfait ; nulle confiance tant qu’une partie de la nation sera ennemie de l’autre ; nulle confiance tant que les classes inférieures auront des pretentious déplacées sur les droits des classes [290] supérieures ; nulle confiance tant que le prince ne jouira pas de l’autorité souveraine monarchique ; nulle confiance tant que la constitution du 17 juin 1789, aura force de loi. Si l’assemblée nationale ne travaille pas au rétablissement de la confiance, sa convocation n’aura été qu’un des termes d’une longue progression d’abus. Si ces loix sont regardées comme arbitraires & son autorité comme absolue, nos descendans diront que la parti dominant, tenoit dans cette assemblée, un lit de justice permanent. Si la confiance se rétabliroit, si la balance s’établiroit entre les revenus & les dépenses, la pénurie actuelle du numéraire seroit bientôt réparée, soit par l’émission qu’en feroient les capitalistes qui l’ont enfoui, soit par le credit des promesses de payer, que l’état mettroit dans la circulation : les capitalistes trouveroient l’emploi de leurs épargnes, & ces épargnes tourneroient au profit des fonds productifs, au lieu de suivre le cours qu’elles prennent vers les dépenses de consommation. Si la confiance accompagne une emission d’assignats, les craintes & les terreurs des marchands, ne contribueront pas à l’accroissement du prix des denrées, au prejudice des consommateurs, dont le revenu n’est point accru par les effets de cette emission. Si la confiance se rétablissoit, l’état ne seroit pas expose a la crainte de voir les capitalistes porter [291] le numéraire réel, sans les emprunts ouverts chez l’étranger, soit par les consommateurs, soit par les chefs d’entreprise dans toutes les sources de production du commerce, de l’industrie & de l’agriculture. Les billets d’état libres ou les quittances de finance ne formeroient plus une distinction, parce que le commerce les recevroit avec le même empressement ; la masse

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des richesses disponibles s’accroît par la diminution des besoins du numéraire, que l’on doit regarder comme tenant aux frais de jouissance. Nul ne verroit avec inquiétude que les sources de productions ne fussent pas pressées pour satisfaire aux engagemens de l’état, parce que l’on verroit que c’est en rendant les contributions peu gênantes, qu’on favorise l’accroissement de la production, & que l’accroissement de revenu qui entretient la confiance est la suite de l’accroissement de toutes les branches de production. La France reluiroit d’un nouveau jour, & elle reprendroit l’espoir de voir s’accroître sa prospérité avec le vrai bonheur de ses habitans.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Of the new system of taxation established by the national assembly of France in 1791 (1791) In: Les Deviours de la seconde legislature Vol. IV, ISSUE X, 2 July 1791 [301] The national assembly, being in its operations at the mercy of all kinds of sects of innovators that are presented to her, has been unable to escape the Economists.1 It is well known that this sect has two great objectives: to establish the democratic administrative hierarchy of the marquis d’Argenson, which was reasserted by M.Turgot;2 and second, to have the theory of taxation of Doctor Quesnai accepted. Both projects have been partly successful. It is well known that the system of Doctor Quesnai consists in the raising of public revenue on [302] the net product of the land exclusively, and consequently to exempt from it any other kind of production. The national assembly has well understood that she could not impose 600 millions of taxes on the land alone, because such contributions would exceed the net product, but this difficulty does not discourage the Economists. We admit, they say, that it is not possible to suppress all indirect taxes at once, but once we have adopted the principle let us suppress the indirect taxes bit by bit. The [rent] value of land will subsequently increase enough for a replacement of every tax that is suppressed by an increased burden of tax on the land. This is the great proposition the Economists have often put forward and which has never been demonstrated. One should not believe that the tableau économique of Doctor Quesnai, which has seduced some novices and some ignorant people, provides a demonstration. Nor do the calculations of the marquis de Condorcet—which are an arithmetical analysis of facts he supposes—constitute a theoretical demonstration of this ridiculous proposition that has been maintained for so long. The shortcomings of the tableau économique are that the author only considers the contracts or exchanges between the proprietors and the entrepreneurs of agriculture and industry, and does not consider at all the contracts or exchanges that the entrepreneurs conclude amongst themselves. Du nouveau systême d’impôts établi par l’assemblée nationale de France, en 1791 (1791) Dans: Les Deviours de la seconde legislature T. IV, CAHIER X, 2 JUILLET 1791 [301] L’assemblée nationale, livrée dans ses travaux a toutes les sectes de novateurs qui se sont présentées a elle, n’a pu échapper a celle des économistes. On sçait que cette secte avoit deux grands objets en vue : l’une d'établir la hierarchic administrative,

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démocratique, du marquis d’Argenson, renouvelée par M.Turgot; l’autre de faire passer la théorie de l’impôt du médecin Quesnai : l’un & l’autre projets ont réussi partiellement. On sçait que le systême du médecin Quesnai, consiste a établir le revenu public uniquement sur [302] le produit net des terres, & d’en affranchir par consequent toute autre espèce de production. L’assemblée nationale a bien senti qu’elle ne pouvoit pas établir 600 millions d’impositions, uniquement sur la terre, parce que plusieurs contributions auroient excédé le produit net, mais cette difficulté ne rebutoit pas les économistes. Nous convenons, disoient-ils, qu’on ne peut supprimer a la fois tous les impôts indirects, mais après avoir adopté le principe, supprimez les impôts indirects parties par parties, & la valeur des terres augmentera successivement assez, pour que chaque remplacement d’impôt supprimé puisse être rétabli sur la terre. C’est là la grande proposition que les économistes ont souvent avancée, & n’ont jamais démontrée. Qu’on ne prenne point pour une demonstration ni le tableau économique du médecin Quesnai, qui a séduit quelques novices ou quelques ignorans, ni les calculs du marquis de Condorcet, qui sont une analyse arithmétique des faits qu’il suppose, mais qui ne forment pas une demonstration théorique de cette proposition ridicule & trop long-temps soutenue. Les vices du tableau économique consistent en ce que l’auteur n’y considère que les contrats ou marches entre les propriétaires & les chefs d’entreprise, de culture & d’industrie, & n’y considère nullement les contrats ou marches que font les chefs d’entreprise quelconque entre eux. [303] The shortcomings of the demonstrations of Condorcet are that they continually suppose the principlea The national assembly has only adopted the principles of the Economists with regards to the farmers, that is to say, she has exempted the farmers from the land tax. The farmers will however pay a property tax, but they will not pay tax in proportion to their activity or to the interest on their advances. It seems to some people that taxes should be levied on all products whether they are natural products or manufactured products. That kind of tax would perhaps be the easiest to establish and the long usage of the dixme seems to recommend it. However, if one carefully analyses the sources and the effects of the production of wealth, one sees that it is not equitable. All wealth that during a given period passes through the hands of the head of an enterprise consists of his advances and his products. In agriculture one may assume a landowner and a farmer. It is right that the farmer partakes in the product, [304] since he has funds to make advances. Since reproduction is normally annual, we take the year as the term of comparison. It is therefore necessary that the farmer recoup each year the equivalent of the renewal of his agents, machines and instruments, as well as a product in proportion to the employment of his capital. This product is regarded as an interest on the capital he employs. It is also necessary that a part of the product pass to the landowner. It is easy to form an idea of the equivalent of the renewal of agents, machines and instruments, because each year a quarter has to be renewed of what lasts four years, a third of what lasts three years, half of what lasts two years and all of what only lasts one year, or what is used up each year.

At the origins of mathematical economics


But it is not as easy to determine what should rule the division of the [net] product between the farmer and the landowner. It is perhaps believed that this depends on the number of farmers and the number of landowners,3 and it is this idea that has misguided the national assembly, or at least those members who have examined the question which occupies us. For it has been argued that if the landowners carry the burden of taxation, equilibrium will be re-established because in the new leases the farmer will repay the proprietor the excess he paid. The interest on the advances of agriculture will fall to the benefit of the landowner and equilibrium will re-establish itself. One does well to [305] distrust such political predictions, which are asserted as certainty by innovating charlatans. To demonstrate the necessity of such effects, one would have to solve a great unsolved problem. No Dupont, no Condorcet…not even a Lagrange has solved it in a manner that is applicable to the system of the Economists, a The demonstrations of Condorcet can be found in his work [S]ur les fonctions des [E]tatsgénéraux & [des] autres [A]ssemblées nationales [1789; cf. Isnard 1789b, note a.].

[303] Les vices de demonstration de Condorcet consistent en ce qu’elles contiennent une supposition continuelle du principe.(a) L’assemblée nationale n’a adopté le principe des économistes que relativement aux fermiers, c’est-à-dire, elle a affranchi les fermiers de l’imposition foncière. Les fermiers payeront bien une contribution mobiliaire, mais ils ne payeront pas d’imposition a raison de leur industrie ou de l’intérêt de leurs avances. Il semble à quelques personnes que l’impôt doit être perçu sur toutes les productions quelconques de la nature & de l’industrie. Cet impôt seroit peutêtre le plus facile a asseoir, & un long usage de la dixme semble prévenir en sa faveur ; mais en analysant bien les sources & les effets de la production des richesses, on voit qu’il n’est pas equitable. Toutes les richesses, qui, dans une époque donnée, passent dans les mains d’un chef d’entreprise sont ses avances & ses produits. Dans l’agriculture on peut concevoir un propriétaire & un chef de culture; le chef de culture ayant des fonds pour faire des avances, il est [304] juste qu’il participe au produit. Comme les reproductions sont communément annuelles, c’est l’année que nous prendrons pour terme de comparaison. Il faut done que chaque année, le chef de culture retire l'équivalent du renouvellement de ses agens, machines & instrumens, & un produit a raison de l’emploi de ses capitaux ; ce produit est regardé comme un intérêt quelconque des capitaux qu’il emploie ; il faut aussi qu’une partie du produit passe au propriétaire. Il est aisé de se former une idée de l'équivalent du renouvellement des agens, machines & instrumens, car il faut renouveller chaque année un quart de ce qui dure quatre ans, un tiers de ce qui dure trois ans, la moitié de ce qui dure deux ans & tout ce qui ne dure qu’un an, ou ce qui s’absorbe chaque année. Mais il n’est pas aussi aisé de régler ce qui doit déterminer le partage entre le produit du chef de culture & le propriétaire. On croit peut-être que cela depend de la somme des fermiers & de la somme des propriétaires, & c’est ce qui a pu induire en erreur l’assemblée nationale, ou ceux de ses membres qui ont examine la question que nous agitons; car on a pu dire : si les propriétaires sont surcharges, l'équilibre se rétablira,

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parce que dans les nouveaux baux, le propriétaire se fera rembourser par le fermier, ce qu’il paye de trop; l’intérêt des avances de la culture baissera au profit du propriétaire, & l'équilibre se rétablira. Il faut bien se [305] méfier de ces predictions politiques, que des charlatans novateurs annoncent avec sécurité. Pour démontrer la nécessité de pareils effets, il faudroit résoudre un grand problême qui n’est pas résolu, & qu’aucun Dupont, qu’aucun Condorcet …ni même qu’aucun Lagrange ne résoudra d’une manière applicable au (a) On peut voir les demonstrations de Condorcet, dans son ouvrage sur les fonctions des états-généraux & autres assemblies nationales.

because the complication of the givens is too great: it is the problem of the value of commodities or of things. The determination of the level of interest is part of this great problem. One should not believe that the interest on the funds of agriculture only depends on the contracts between the farmers and the landowners. Since all capitals whatsoever tend to obtain a same interest, the contracts between the manufacturers and the consumers necessarily influence the contracts between the farmers and the landowners. One should not, following the Economists, only consider the trades between the landowners and the industrial entrepreneurs, because the trades between the entrepreneurs of industry and of agriculture influence the whole of prices and the whole of prices influences the rate of interest. It has not been demonstrated at all that if the landowner alone pays tax, he will be repaid in the lease. If the lease dates from before the introduction of the tax, then everybody agrees that if the landowner alone pays, the [306] farmer has to repay him. But if the tax is introduced before the [agreement of the] lease then, according to the Economists, equilibrium will be re-established through the lease. This has not been demonstrated and it is not difficult to convince oneself of the contrary. I assume that after the renewal of advances the product to be divided between the farmer and the landowner is 12 and that the share of the landowner is 6 and that of the farmer 6; that initially each paid 1 in tax and that it is decided that henceforth the landowner pays 2 and the farmer nothing, not taking into account that the farmer may pay the landowner 1 until the end of the lease. It is argued that in the subsequent lease the share of the farmer will be 5 and that of the landowner 7. This cannot be demonstrated because various factors can influence the [rate of] interest during the interval between the introduction of the tax and the renewal of the lease. I assume that in another agricultural enterprise, after the renewal of advances, the product to be divided between the farmer and the landowner is 18 and that the share of the landowner is 6 and that of the farmer 12, because he has twice as much advances to make as the farmer in the previous case. That initially the landowner paid 1 in tax and the farmer 2 and that it is decided that henceforth the landowner pays 3 and the farmer nothing. It is evident that those two landowners [307] do not pay the same rate relative to their revenue. While the law therefore says that the net revenues of landowners contribute in the same proportion, two different lands that have the same net revenue and whose agricultural advances are very different will pay the same contribution and the interests

At the origins of mathematical economics


on the agricultural advances could not support a proportional contribution through the effects of the lease. Under the assumption of two landowners who have the same net product and two farmers whose advances differ by a factor of two, one cannot reconcile the following propositions: that the contribution must be proportional to the net product; that the landowner can be held responsible for the systême des économistes, parce que la complication des données est trop considerable : c’est celui de la valeur des marchandises ou des choses. La determination des prix de l’intérêt, est une des parties de ce grand problême. Il ne faut pas croire que l’intérêt des fonds de culture ne depend que des contrats entre les fermiers & les propriétaires de terres. Comme tous les capitaux quelconques, tendent a obtenir un même intérêt, les contrats entre les manufacturiers & les consommateurs influent nécessairement sur les contrats entre les fermiers & les propriétaires. Il ne faut pas à l’exemple des économistes, ne considérer en sus que les marches entre les propriétaires des terres & les chefs d’industrie, parce que les marches que font entre eux les chefs d’industrie & de culture, influent sur l’ensemble des prix, & l’ensemble des prix influe sur le taux de l’intérêt. Il n’est nullement démontré que l’impôt n’étant payé que par le proprié-taire, le propriétaire se fait rembourser par le bail de ce qu’il doit payer. Si le bail est antérieur a l’établissement de l’impôt, tout le monde convient que si le propriétaire paye seul, le [306] fermier doit le rembourser, mais si l’établissement de l’impôt est antérieur au bail, c’est dans ce cas que les économistes prétendent que l’équilibre se rétablit par le bail. C’est ce qui n’est pas démontré, & il est facile de se convaincre du contraire. Je suppose qu’après le renouvellement des avances le produit a partager entre le fermier & le propriétaire soit de 12, que la part du propriétaire soit de 6 & celle du fermier de 6 ; que chacun payoit ci-devant 1 de contribu-tion, & qu’on determine que désormais le propriétaire payera deux, & le fermier rien, sauf au fermier a tenir compte d’un au propriétaire jusqu'à la fin du bail, ou pretend que par le bail suivant, la part du fermier sera de cinq, & celle du propriétaire sera de sept. Cela ne peut nullement être démontré, car diverses causes peuvent influer sur les variations de l’intérêt dans l’intervalle entre l'établissement de l’impôt & le renouvellement du bail. Je suppose que dans une autre entreprise de culture, & après le renou-vellement des avances, le produit a partager entre le fermier & le propriétaire soit de 18, que le part du propriétaire soit de 6, & celle du fermier de 12, ayant deux fois autant d’avances à faire que dans le cas precedent, que le propriétaire payât ci-devant un de contribution, & le fermier de deux ; & qu’on determine que désormais le propriétaire payera trois & le fermier rien. Il est evident que ces deux propriétaires [307] ne payeront pas une même quotité relativement à leur revenu. Si la loi porte done que les revenus nets des propriétaires, contribuent dans la même proportion, deux biens différens qui auront même revenu net, & dont les avances de culture seront très-différentes, payeront même contribution ; & les intérêts des avances de culture ne pourront supporter une contribution proportionnelle par les effets du bail. Dans une supposition de deux propriétaires qui ont un même produit net, & de deux fermiers dont les avances varient du double au simple, on ne peut concilier ces propositions, que la contribution doit être propor-tionnelle au produit net, que le propriétaire peut-être tenu de payer l’impôt,

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payment of tax; that the renewal of the lease will give the landowner what he loses by this arrangement; and that the farmers receive an interest that is proportional to their capital. This irreconcilability alone destroys the system of the Economists, because it demonstrates the falsity of the proposition which they have asserted without demonstration. That is, the proposition that the leases will re-establish the equilibrium that seems to be destroyed by the introduction of taxes on the net product of land. I assume that the share of a landowner is 12 and the share of his farmer 24, after deduction has been made of the reimbursement necessary for the renewal of agents and machines. I assume that the share of another landowner is 12 and the share of his [308] farmer 48, and that the principle [of taxation] is that each has to contribute in proportion to his ability. If the rate of taxation would be one-sixth then the first proprietor would contribute 2 and his farmer 4 and the second landowner would contribute 2 and his farmer 8. But how could you prove that only the net product would pay the tax at a same rate while supposing at the same time that the interest on advances maintains the same relation with the capitals? This is impossible: make any assumption you like and you will in the end always arrive at the assumption of a rate of tax that is not the one required by public needs. The national assembly has ruled that the land tax will be levied on the net product of the land, that is to say, on what remains to its owner after the costs of cultivation, sowing, harvest and maintenance have been deducted from the gross product. The instruction that is added to the decree on the land tax says that costs of cultivation should be understood to include the interest on all primitive advances that are necessary for exploitation.4 This is one of the great mistakes of the national assembly, which will give rise to many great irregularities in the collection of the land tax. The state of the net products, for which the national assembly has asked and on the basis of which the land tax will be imposed cannot be determined in such a manner that the landowner [309] and the owner of the moveable wealth of agriculture can both be made to contribute in the same proportion. This is so because two different pieces of land do not have the same ratio between the product and the advances. Perhaps one will say that no tax should be paid on the interest of the advances of the cultivator, but that would be a great error. It is the same with the interest of the advances of the cultivator as with the interest of the advances of any industrial enterprise: since those advances are productive, their products should contribute to the public expenditures, by which they are protected. The Economists have gone so far as to say that industry is not productive because nature creates, while industry changes forms. This is an absurdity that could not be maintained in the face of people with a modicum of judgement and sound reason. The labour of a horse produces advantages of which the treasury should have a share, and the labour of horses forms part of the advances or costs of agriculture and of industry. If one would like to have a new system accepted, it should be maintained with better arguments. que le renouvellement du bail rendra au propriétaire ce qu’il perd par cette disposition, & que les fermiers reçoivent un intérêt proportionné à leurs capitaux. Cette inconciabilité seule détruit le systême des économistes : parce qu’elle démontre la fausseté de la proposition qu’ils ont avancée sans la démontrer : celle qui porte que les baux rétabliront l’équilibre que semble détruire l’établissement de l’impôt sur le produit net des terres.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Je suppose que la part d’un propriétaire soit de 12, la part de son fermier de 24 ; deduction faite du remboursement propre au renouvellement des agens & machines. Je suppose que la part d’un propriétaire soit de 12, la part de son [308] fermier soit de 48, s’il est de principe que chacun doit contribuer en raison de ses facultés, & que la quotité de contribution soit du sixième ; alors le premier propriétaire contribuera de deux, son fermier de 4; le second propriétaire contribuera de deux, son fermier de huit. Mais comment pouvez-vous établir que le produit net seul, payera l’impôt dans une même quotité, & supposer en même-temps que l’intérêt des avances se maintient dans un même rapport avec les capitaux ? cela est impossible : faites toutes les suppositions que vous voudrez & vous n’y parviendrez tout au plus, que dans la supposition d’une quotité de contribution qui ne sera pas celle que les besoins publics exigeront. L’assemblée nationale a réglé que l’impôt foncier seroit perçu sur le produit net des terres, c’est-à-dire, sur ce qui reste a son propriétaire, deduction faite sur le produit brut des frais de culture, semences, récolte & entretien. L’instruction jointe au décret sur la contribution foncière, porte qu’il faut comprendre dans les frais de culture l’intérêt de toutes les avances premières, nécessaires pour l’exploitation. C’est là une des grandes erreurs de l’assemblée nationale, laquelle va faire naître les plus grandes irrégularités dans la perception de la contribution foncière. Les états de produit nets des terres, qu’a demandés l’assemblée nationale, & sur lesquels doit-être répartie la contribution foncière, ne peuvent-être faits de manière qu’on puisse faire contribuer en même-temps le propriétaire du fonds [309] & le propriétaire des richesses mobiliaires de la culture dans la même proportion, par la raison qu’il n’existe pas le même rapport entre le produit & les avances de deux fonds différens. On dira peut-être que l’intérêt des avances du cultivateur ne doit payer de contribution, ce seroit une grande erreur. Il en est de l’intérêt des avances du cultivateur comme de l’intérêt des avances de toute entreprise d’industrie : comme ces avances sont productives, leurs produits doivent contribuer aux dépenses publiques qui les protègent. Les économistes ont été jusqu’à dire que l’industrie n’étoit pas productive, parce que la nature crée, & que l’industrie donne des formes ; c’est une absurdité qui n’a pu se soutenir devant les hommes qui ont quelque fond de jugement & de raisonnement. Le travail d’un cheval produit des avantages dont le trésor public doit avoir une part, & le travail des chevaux est une des parties des avances ou frais de culture & d’industrie. Lorsqu’on veut admettre un nouveau systême, il faut le soutenir par de meilleures raisons. The national assembly has exempted farmers from tax on the basis of a false principle, that is, she has not ordered that a distinction be made between the assessment of the farmer, which should be based in part on his advances and the assessment of the proprietor. Moreover, how could one count on the indicative registers of the lands that are being used? Judging by some of the registers that have already been made, the [310] new tax will exceed the estimate of the net product of the land.5 Every parish or community has an interest in giving very low estimates, so that they will not be taxed more heavily than others. Those indicative states have to give various classes of land and their capacity for each parish. A number of classes should be established for the whole kingdom, according to the knowledge of the general administration about the worst and the best qualities of land. Inspectors should be sent to each parish, after having received an account of the

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state of the capacities of each municipality, and they should determine to which class number the different qualities of land of each parish belong. Everybody knows the weaknesses of the property tax;6 it is not known why it is charged at 1/20, while the net product of the land contributes 1/6. Those who receive interest from government loans are not subject to any tax, while those who receive interest from private loans pay one-fifth tax. This is an inequality that is the result of the need of the state for idle creditors, to accomplish a revolution of which the beginnings have been helped by the terror they have experienced. Those who have an annuity on the lives of private individuals are only subject to a deduction that is proportional to the perpetual interest that the capital could have earned. Why is this protection accorded to the corrupting and pernicious system [311] of life annuities? Why does someone who wants to enjoy twice as much, disregarding his family and his heirs, not contribute twice as much for a capital that could have perpetually contributed if it had been invested with less avarice and less egoism? After having determined the means by which the soil has to contribute, one had to find means by which other kinds of revenue should contribute, and even to surcharge the owners of land. For this one has proposed the property tax, licences, stamp duty and registration rights. The property tax is supposed to fall on the interest of rental incomes, on the salaries of offices, and on industry. Licences fall on industry exclusively. The stamp duty is a casual right that falls on agriculture, on industry and on trade. The registration right is a casual right that falls almost entirely on landed proprietors. The fundamental principle of the tax system is that everyone should contribute in proportion to his ability.7 This is one of those simple ideas that everyone understands and that only needs to be contrasted with the false system that has been put forward. When persons contribute according to their abilities, things contribute in proportion to their net product, that is to say, in proportion to what remains after deduction of the value of the C’est par un faux principe, que l’assemblée Rationale a exempté les fermiers d’impositions, c’est-à-dire, n’a pas fait distinguer la cote du fermier qui doit consister dans une partie de ses avances, & la cote du propriétaire. D’ailleurs, comment pourra-t-on compter sur les états indicatifs de propriétés auxquels on travaille ? A en juger par quelques états déjà faits, la nouvelle [310] contribution surpassera l’estimation du produit net du territoire. Chaque paroisse ou communauté est intéressée a porter ses estimations très has pour n’être pas surchargée relativement aux autres. Ces états indicatifs devoient pour chaque paroisse contenir diverses classes de terres & leur contenance. On devoit établir un nombre de classes pour tout le royaume, d’après la connoissance qu’à l’administration générale des plus mauvaises terres & des meilleures terres du royaume. Des commissaires transportant dans chaque paroisse, après avoir reçu l’état des contenances fait par chaque municipality auroient determine a quelle numéro des classes de terre du royaume eut appartenu la première & la dernière classe de chaque paroisse. Tout le monde connoît les vices de la contribution mobiliaire; on ne sait pas pourquoi on la porte au vingtième, tandis que le produit net des biens fonds contribue au sixième. Ceux qui ont des rentes sur l’état ne subiront aucune retenue, tandis que ceux qui ont des rentes sur des particuliers subiront une retenue d’un cinquième. C’est une inégalité qui résulte du besoin qu’on avoit des oisifs créanciers de l’état, pour consommer une revolution dont ils ont servi les commencemens par la terreur qu’ils ont éprouvée.

At the origins of mathematical economics


Ceux qui ont des rentes viagères sur de particuliers, ne subiront de retenue que dans la proportion que le capital eut porté en rente perpétuelle. Pourquoi accorder cette protection au systême corrupteur [311] & pernicieux des rentes viagères ? Celui qui, au mépris de sa famille & des ses héritiers veut jouir au double, pourquoi ne contribue-t-il pas au double, pour un capital qui eut contribué perpétuellement s’il l’eût place avec moins d’avarice & d’égoïsme ? Après avoir determine le moyen de faire contribuer la terre, il falloit trouver les moyens de faire contribuer tout autre espèce de revenu, & même de surcharger encore les propriétaires des terres, de contribution casuelles. On a imagine pour cela la contribution mobiliaire, les patentes, le timbre & le droit d’enregistrement. La contribution mobilaire est censée porter ses les intérêts de rentes, sur les salaires de fonctions & sur l’industrie; les patentes portent uniquement sur l’industrie. Le timbre est un droit casuel qui porte sur la culture, sur le commerce & sur l’industrie. Le droit d’enregistrement est un droit casuel qui porte presque en totalité sur les propriétaires fonciers. Le principe fondamental du systême de l’impôt, c’est que chacun doit contribuer en raison de ses facultés; ce principe est une de ces idées simples que tout le monde saisie, & qu’il n’est nécessaire de démontrer qu’à raison des faux systêmes qu’on avance pour en éloigner. Lorsque les personnes contribuent suivant leurs facultés, les choses contribuent en raison de leur produit net, things necessary to the renewal of advances. The abilities [312] of people are either the rent of their lands, the interest of their productive capitals, or the wage of their labour, or the interest on a stake they have in an enterprise of agricultural or industrial production. This fundamental principle has been put in the declaration of rights,8 but the national assembly does not conform to it in any of the various taxes it has established. With the land tax no rules have been established that make the landowner contribute in proportion to the net product and the farmer in proportion to the interest on his advances. With the property tax the worst rule has been chosen to determine the revenue of each industry, and the level of the tax is arbitrary since it is not the same rate as the land tax. The same is true for the licences. Licences resemble in part privileges and in part tax bills: insofar they are privileges they confirm the bad principles of the Ancien Regime about the right to work, which cannot be accorded to man by any public power; insofar they are tax bills they are wrong in that the rate of the right as a whole is arbitrary, and distributed among the chiefs of industry according to a bad rule.9 Stamp duty and the registration right are casual rights that deviate completely from the fundamental principle of public contributions. Their [313] amount depends on the number of transactions that are put on paper, the number of contracts or deeds that are processed. A similar piece of land that is sold ten times in one hundred years, will perhaps pay six times as much as another that has not been sold. Those casual taxes on sales belong to the feudal system under which the suzerain was considered as the original proprietor. One abolishes the feudal system but one preserves its debris! The right of registration is a right to a useful public service. The rights to public services should be abolished. It is unbecoming to the dignity of the government to let itself be said for a service above its value, with the aim of applying the surplus to other services. One of the great faults of the tax system of the national assembly is that the total sum of taxes has been determined arbitrarily. Another fault is that the assembly delegated

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to exercise granting powers has assumed the power to decree taxes without being subjected to a granting power. There is no liberty in a state if the nation does not enjoy the right to grant taxes directly or through its representatives, who are delegated for this purpose. The assembly has decreed incidental taxes without knowing their size. All tariffs are arbitrary, they are not based on any principle of equity. One could halve them or double them by virtue of the same rule or by virtue of other [314] hypothetical calculations that would have equally weak foundations. c’est-à-dire, en raison de ce qui reste, deduction faite de la valeur des choses nécessaires au renouvellement des avances. Les facultés [312] des personnes sont, ou le revenu des leurs biens fonds, ou l’intérêt de leurs capitaux productifs, ou le salaire de leur industrie, ou l’intérêt d’une action qu’elles ont sur quelque entreprise de production de culture ou d’industrie. Ce principe fondamental est place dans la declaration des droits; mais l’assemblée nationale ne s’y est conformée dans aucun des genres de contribution quelle a établis. Dans l’impôt sur les terres, on n’a pas établi des règies propres a faire contribuer le propriétaire en raison du produit net, & le fermier en raison de l’intérêt de ses avances. Dans la contribution mobiliaire on a pris la règle la plus vicieuse pour estimer le revenu de chaque chef d’industrie, & le taux de contribution est arbitraire, n’étant pas dans un même rapport que celui de la contribution foncière. Il en est de même des patentes. Les patentes tiennent en partie du privilége, en partie d’une quittance de contribution : comme tenant du privilege elles confirment les mauvais principes de l’ancien regime sur le droit de travailler, qui ne peut-être accordé par aucune puissance publique a l’homme; comme tenant d’une quittance de contribution, elles sont vicieuses en ce que la quotité du droit est arbitraire dans sa totalité, & réparti entre les chefs d’industrie, suivant une règle mauvaise. Le timbre & le droit d’enregistrement sont des droits casuels qui s’écartent entièrement du principe fondamental des contributions publiques. Leur [313] produit depend de la quantité d’affaires que l’on fait sur du papier, de la quantité de contrats ou d’actes que l’on passe. Une même terre vendue dix fois en cent ans, aura payé peut-être un sixième de plus de contribution, qu’une autre qui n’aura pas été vendue. Ces droits casuels sur les ventes, tiennent au systême féodal dans lequel le suserain étoit censé propriétaire primitif. On abolit le systême féodal & l’on en conserve les debris ! Le droit d’enregistrement est un droit sur un service public utile. Les droits sur les services publics devoient-être abolis. Il n’est pas convenable a la dignité du gouvernement de se faire payer un service au-dessus de sa valeur, pour en appliquer le surplus a d’autres services. Un des grands vices du systême des impôts, de l’assemblée nationale, c’est d’avoir établi arbitrairement la masse des contributions. Un autre vice, c’est que l’assemblée députée pour octroyer, s’est arrogé la puissance de décréter les impôts sans être soumise a une puissance octroyante. Point de liberté dans un état si la nation ne jouit pas du droit d’octroyer les impôts par ellemême ou par ses représentans députés ad hoc. L’assemblée a décrété les impôts accessoires, sans connoître leur produit; tous ses tarifs sont arbitraires, ils n’ont aucun principe d’équité pour base. On pouvoit les porter a moitié comme au double, en vertu du même arbitre, ou en vertu d’autres [314] calculs hypothétiques, qui n’auroient pas eu de fondemens moins solides.

At the origins of mathematical economics


One of the great faults of the tax system of the national assembly is that the heaviest burden of contributions falls on the land, and that according to the principles of the national assembly it is the majority of active citizens that decrees this by deliberating among themselves or through the body of their representatives. The most important decisions of government are made by the bodies of the armed industrial classes.10 It is said that the revolution has many supporters, but those supporters are either members of the armed industrial classes, or those who are fearful of the power of the armed industrial classes, or those who want to further their own interest by captivating the armed industrial classes by their oratory art. How can one imagine that the body of the armed industrial classes should govern an agricultural kingdom? One must be wallowing in the most extreme ignorance about the relations that exist between the various kinds of productions and properties to believe that such a government could survive. Not only are the powers not placed where they should be in the new constitution, but man is not free under the new constitution since the sovereign representative body of the people enjoys an absolute and unlimited power. The declaration of the 23 June 178911 gave the French liberty under the monarchy, without including false maxims that pander to the multitude. [315] The constitution that is preferred by the multitude formally places the French under the power of despotism. But, it is said, the majority of Frenchmen wants this government, however absolute it is, and if superior forces oppose its wish by force, France may be exposed to the greatest misfortunes; one part of the French could even be exposed to the fury of the majority, and the minority would make itself culpable of working with foreign powers in order to subjugate the majority. It is neither force nor number that establishes justice, and whatever the force of those who prevail or whose projects triumph, the truly guilty are the ones who support the party of inequity. All the more reprehensible is the one who patiently abuses the sentiments of blood or of the love of the fatherland, which get stirred in the oppressed without fail, in order to raise support for injustice. In a war the guilty one is he who attacks unjustly, and whatever the bonds that tie the combatants together, those bonds are broken by he who attacks unjustly. Those who have taken away the rights of sovereignty from the king, those who have taken away the unassailable rights from the first classes of society, those who rushed an unlimited and absolute authority over the French people, whatever the marks of gratitude they receive from the classes they have flattered and seduced, they will be truly guilty of the [316] misfortunes that France may fall prey to after the return of the rule of justice and the return of the legitimate and monarchic government of France. They arm the industrial class, they pander to the industrial class, they violate the rights of property, and they annul the ancient public powers that Un des grands vices du systême des impôts de l’assemblée Rationale, c’est que la plus forte partie des contributions porte sur la terre, & que suivant les principes de l’assemblée nationale, c’est la majorité des citoyens actifs qui les décrète en délibérant par euxmêmes, ou par l’organe de leurs représentans. Les decisions les plus importantes du gouvernement sont rendues par les organes de l’industrie armée. La revolution a bien des partisans, dit-on, mais ces partisans sont, ou les membres de l’industrie armée, ou ceux

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qui redoutent la puissance de l’industrie armée, ou ceux qui veulent subjuguer a leur profit par l’art oratoire l’industrie armée. Comment peut-on concevoir qu’un royaume agricole doit être régi par le corps de l’industrie armée ? Il faut avoir croupi dans la plus extreme ignorance sur les rapports qui subsistent entre les divers genres de productions & de propriétés, pour croire qu’un tel gouvernement puisse subsister. Non-seulement les puissances ne sont pas dans la nouvelle constitution où elles doivent-être ; mais encore l’homme n’est pas libre sous la nouvelle constitution, puisque le souverain représentant du peuple y jouit d’une puissance absolue & sans bornes. La declaration du 23 juin 1789, rendoit la liberté aux françois sous la monarchie, sans comprendre des fausses maximes qui flattent la multitude. [315] La constitution que la multitude préfère s’établit formellement les françois ois sous le pouvoir du despotisme. Mais, dit-on, la majorité des françois veut ce gouvernement, quelque absolu qu’il soit, & si des puissances supérieures s’opposoient par la force à son vœu, la France seroit exposée sée aux plus grands malheurs; un partie même des françois ois seroit exposée see aux fureurs de la majorité, & la minorité seroit coupable de s’entendre avec les puissances étrangères pour subjuguer la majorité. Ce n’est ni la force, ni le nombre qui établit la justice, & quelle que soit la force de ceux qui l’emportent ou qui triomphent dans leurs projets, les vrais coupables seront ceux qui soutiendront le partie de l’iniquité. Celuilà n’en est que plus condamnable qui abuse des sentimens que le sang ou l’amour de la patrie doit inspirer a l’opprimé pour lui faire supporte l’injustice avec patience. Dans une guerre celui-là est coupable, qui attaque injustement, & quels que soient les liens qui attachent les combattans, ces liens sont rompus par celui qui attaque injustement. Ceux qui ont ôté au roi ses droits de souveraineté, ceux qui ont ôté au premières classes de la société des droits inattaquables, ceux qui ont envahi une autorité sans bornes & absolue sur le peuple françois, quels que soient les témoignages de reconnoissance qu’ils reçoivent des classes flattées & séduites par eux, seront les vrais coupables des [316] malheurs auxquels la France peut-être en proie par le retour du règne de la justice & par le retour des principes du gouvernement légitime & monarchique de France. On arme l’industrie, on flatte l’industrie, on viole les droits & les propriétés, on annulle l’ancienne force publique qui protégoit les propriétés. On a pour protected properties. They control the armed artisans of the towns, and those to whom, without them expecting it, they have distributed scraps of authority, and because they are in power they claim to command reason too! The assembly claims philosophy as its own, but the new philosophy itself rejects her from her bosom. The course that remains to her is to repeat that she has given the French liberty; but if you want to enjoy liberty, know what liberty is. It is the ability to enjoy your rights without harming the rights of others; it is a right not to be governed by an absolute power. Therefore, do not allow the rights of others to be violated, do not allow yourselves to be governed by a power without limits. When all rights are respected, when you will be governed by a sovereign whose authority is limited by an equitable division of the legislative power, then you can claim to enjoy liberty.

At the origins of mathematical economics


If the king of France would have wanted to preserve an absolute authority despite his people and in defiance of the fundamental and constitutive laws of monarchy, then doubtless he would have been guilty of wanting to uphold [317] an unjust pretension by force of arms and even more if he would have borrowed foreign powers to supplement the powers at his disposition. But no sovereign prince is guilty if, after having exhausted all other means, he employs the force of arms to resist oppression. And why should a king, who is charged with the interests of the political and organised body of his people and who is awake to its interest, be deprived of this right of resistance, which the national assembly attributes to the least citizens? In the state of prosperity the guides of the French people would be guilty of invading the principal rights of the order of government. In the state of perplexity to which this empire is reduced as the result of anarchy and as the result of incorrect and forced operations of finance, how much more guilty are they not of exposing the French to the growth of expenditures and misfortunes, in order to maintain the usurpation and violation of the laws of justice and equity, which nature prescribes to society! How guilty are they of saying that they are capable of sustaining the war. Alas, wars are not only bloody, they are also [financially] ruinous! The bankruptcy of the state of peace progresses unobserved to plunge us into anarchy, and still you raise your war cries! If your assignats lose thirty or forty per cent, [318] if they lose fifty or sixty, do you think that your financial system could survive, and that you would not be in a state of bankruptcy? Do you think you could put the smallest army in the field? Only by uniting behind you the great proprietors and the king can you reaffirm your financial system. You can unite them behind you only by giving them, not vain privileges they do not claim, but their legitimate rights. Reintroduce not abuses but rights and the blood of the people will be saved, peace will return to the kingdom and the kingdom will be invincible to foreign powers. Do not use the blindness of the people. soi les artisans armés des villes, & ceux a qui l’on a distribué, centre leur attente, des parcelles d’autorité, & parce qu’on a pour soi la force, on pretend qu’on a pour soi la raison ! L’assemblée réclame pour elle la philosophic, mais la nouvelle philosophie elle-même la repousse de son sein. Il lui reste pour ressource de répéter qu’elle a donné aux françois la liberté ; mais si vous voulez jouir de la liberté, sachez done ce que c’est que la liberté. C’est la faculté de jouir de vos droits sans nuire aux droits d’autrui; c’est le droit de n'être pas gouverné par une puissance absolue. Ne laissez done pas violer les droits d’autrui, ne vous laissez done pas gouverner par une puissance sans bornes. Vous pourrez prétendre alors jouir de la liberté, lorsque tous les droits seront respectés, lorsque vous serez gouverné par un souverain dont l’autorité sera limitée par un partage equitable de la puissance legislative. Si le roi de France eut voulu conserver malgré son peuple, une autorité absolue au mépris des loix fondamentales & constitutives de la monarchie, sans doute il eut etc coupable de vouloir soutenir [317] par la force des armes une prevention aussi injuste, & encore plus d’emprunter des forces étrangères peut suppléer aux forces qui étoient a sa disposition. Mais nul prince souverain n’est coupable, si après avoir épuisé les autres ressources, il emploie la force des armes pour resister a l’oppression. Et pourquoi done un roi charge

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des intérêts du corps politique & organise de son peuple, & veillant a ces intérêts, seroit-il privé de ce droit de resistance que l’assemblée nationale a attribué au moindre citoyen ? Dans l’état de prospérité, les guides du peuple françois seroient coupables d’envahir des droits principaux dans l’ordre du gouvernement. Dans l'état de perplexité où est réduit cet empire par les résultats de l’anarchie, par les résultats des operations vicieuses & forcées de finance, combien ne sont-ils pas plus coupables encore d’exposer les françois a accroître leurs dépenses & leurs infortunes, pour soutenir des usurpations & des violations des loix de la justice & de l’équité, que la nature present aux sociétés ! Combien n’est-on pas coupable de leur dire que l’on est en état de soutenir la guerre. Hélas ! les guerres ne sont pas seulement sanguinaires, elles sont encore ruineuses ! La banqueroute dans l’état de paix avance insensiblement pour nous plonger dans l’anarchie, & vous faites éclater encore des cris de guerre! Si vos assignats perdent trente ou quarante pour cent, [318] s’ils perdent cinquante ou soixante, croyez-vous que votre systême de finances pourra subsister, & que vous ne serez pas dans un état de faillite ? Croyez-vous que vous pourrez mettre la moindre armée en campagne ? Ce n’est qu’en réunissant a vous les grands propriétaires & le roi, que vous raffermirez votre systême de finances; ce n’est qu’en leur rendant, non de vains privileges qu’ils ne réclament pas, mais leurs droits légitimes, que vous les réunirez a vous. Rétablissez non les abus, mais les droits, & le sang du peuple sera épargné, & la paix se rétablira dans le royaume, & le royaume sera invincible relativement aux puissances étrangères. Ne jouissez pas de l’aveuglement du peuple. You are the masters of the person of the king; that may augment your triumph in the eyes of the feeble man, but the famous events of the 21 June 179112 have they strengthened your works in any way? They have robbed you of the approval of the king, which you seemed to enjoy, and they have worsened your offences in the eyes of the avengers of that unfortunate prince, if there exist any among the other sovereigns. And you, the French, my fellow citizens, whom I desire to see free as much as you desire it yourselves, i