Dictionary of Arguments

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Mause I 39
Physiocracy/Mirabeau: ("Rule of Nature"): heyday: from the appearance of Quesnays "Tableau Economique" (1758) to the fall of Turgots as Minister of Finance (1776).
The physiocrats postulated the existence of a natural order ("ordre naturel") that could be recognized and realized by reason (thus they were under the influence of Descartes). As far as the economy is concerned, this order is characterised by freedom, competition and private property. Accordingly, the physiocrats were decisive representatives of free trade and freedom of competition ("laissez faire, laissez passer") - also and above all because they expected this to promote agriculture. Agriculture was in the center of its economic conception: since it was regarded as the sole source of all wealth; only agriculture would generate a "surplus" ("produit net", i.e. the national income).
Taxes: the physiocrats proposed a land tax as the sole source of public financing ("impôt unique"); since public revenues would ultimately have to come from the surplus generated and since this would be produced exclusively by agriculture, it is only logically, to tax agriculture or land. (1) See National Economy/Quesnay.
From today's view it is also remarkable that the first formulation of the law of decreasing marginal yield is found among the physiocrats. This means that as the use of a production factor continues to increase, the resulting increase in output decreases.


1. Mirabeau, Victor Riqueti de, Philosophie Rurale, Amsterdam 1764.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconMira I
Victor Riqueti de Mirabeau
Philosophie Rural Bd I - III Amsterdam 1764

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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