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The Life And Times Of Nicolas Dutot

  • VELDE, FRANÇOIS R.

Nicolas Dutot (1684–1741) is an important figure for the history of economic thought, as a pioneer in monetary theory and price statistics, and for economic history, as a chronicler of John Law’s System. Yet, until recently, very little information about him was known, some of it incorrect. I present extensive research that reveals a remarkable career rising from humble origins and full of surprises. He spent his formative years in the ranks of the “ancienne finance” he was thought to despise, and then worked for the Chamber of Justice that he so decried in his writings, only to be sent to the Bastille for corruption. After working for Law’s Bank and then retiring quite comfortably, he continued to socialize with his pre-System financier and banker friends, at least for a while. He also joined a short-lived learned society and accumulated a substantial library that reveals much about his tastes and affinities. The portrait that emerges is at odds with the image of an honest accountant he tried to project, but also richer and more engaging.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 67-107

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:34:y:2012:i:01:p:67-107_00
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