IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Montchrétien Founder of Political Economy


  • Cosimo Perrotta


Montchrétien is still appreciated as a literate and author of tragedies, but is gravely neglected as an economist. His book - Traité de l’économie politique (1615) - is one of the most important expression of mercantilism. Like for the other mercantilists, Montchrétien’s main concern was development through the expansion on manufactures, the organisation of the poor for labour, the increase of exportations and a keen economic competition with the other states. Montchrétien enriches his arguments by drawing from his immense erudition about far and recent history, mythology and also a detailed and deep knowledge of the social and economic problems of his time. But his most important achievement was the foundation of modern political economy as different from ancient household economy. Contrary to the common conviction that the title of his book was just an unintentional chance, we are set to show that Montchrétien was perfectly aware of the main features of the new economic science: management of social wealth in the public interest, growth of social wealth and a general welfare as the main aim, balance between private and public interest. Private interest is the spring of enrichment; its protection is the source of individual rights and of liberty. Public interest must ensure equal rights, welfare and protection of the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Cosimo Perrotta, 2016. "Montchrétien Founder of Political Economy," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(2), pages 73-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:spespe:v:html10.3280/spe2016-002005

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Single articles can be downloaded buying download credits, for info:

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B17 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - International Trade and Finance
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fan:spespe:v:html10.3280/spe2016-002005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Angelo Ventriglia). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.