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John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker

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  • Murphy, Antoin E.

    (Trinity College)

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    Abstract

    John Law (1671-1729) left a remarkable legacy of economic concepts from a time when economic conceptualization was very much at an embryonic stage. Yet he is best known--and generally dismissed--today as a rake, duellist, and gambler. This intellectual biography offers a new approach to Law, one that shows him to have been a significant economic theorist with a vision that he attempted to implement as policy in early-eighteenth-century Europe. Law's style, marked by a clarity and use of modern terminology, stands out starkly against the turgid prose of many of his contemporaries. His vision of a monetary and financial system was certainly one of a later age, for Law believed in an economy of banknotes and credit where specie had no role to play. Ultimately Law failed as a policy-maker, in part because of the entrenchment of the financiers and their aristocratic backers and in part because of theoretical flaws in his vision. His struggle for power took place against the background of Europe's first major stock boom and collapse. The collapse of the Mississippi System, which he had conceived, and the South Sea Bubble led to a lasting impression of Law as a failure. It is this impression that Antoin Murphy seeks to dispel.

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    This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780198286493 and published in 1997.

    ISBN: 9780198286493
    Order: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780198286493.do
    Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780198286493

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    Cited by:
    1. Thomas M. Humphrey, 1999. "Mercantilists and classicals: insights from doctrinal history," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 55-82.
    2. Michel Bellet, 2011. "Saint-Simonism and Utilitarianism : the history of a paradox. Bentham’s Defence of Usury under Saint-Amand Bazard’s Interpretation," Working Papers 1135, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
    3. Thomas M. Humphrey, 1998. "Mercantilists and classicals: insights from doctrinal history. 1998 annual report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    4. Madarász, Aladár, 2011. "Buborékok és legendák. Válságok és válságmagyarázatok - II/1. rész. A Déltengeri Társaság
      [Bubbles and myths, crises and explanations II/1: the South Sea bubble]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 909-948.
    5. Michel Bellet, 2011. "Saint-Simonism and Utilitarianism: the history of a paradox. Bentham's Defence of Usury under Saint-Amand Bazard's Interpretation," Working Papers halshs-00654847, HAL.
    6. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2001. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Roberds, William & Velde, Francois R., 2014. "Early Public Banks," Working Paper Series WP-2014-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    8. Mauricio C. Coutinho, 2014. "Arguments On Nom-Metallic Money (1650-1750)," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    9. John Berdell, 2010. "Retrospectives: An Early Supply-Side-Demand-Side Controversy: Petty, Law, Cantillon," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 207-17, Fall.
    10. Antoin E. Murphy, 2004. "Corporate Ownership in France: The Importance of History," NBER Working Papers 10716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Madarász, Aladár, 2011. "Buborékok és legendák. Válságok és válságmagyarázatok - II/2. rész. A Déltengeri Társaság
      [Bubbles and myths, crises and explanations II/2: the South Sea bubble]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1001-1028.

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