Amand Schindler (1742-1782): an advocate of free trade in the Bohemian Enlightenment
The Austrian school reformer Amand Schindler belonged to the physiocratic writers on economics who in the late eighteenth century argued in favor of free trade and against the prevailing mercantilist policies. He claimed that the ban on exporting grain from Bohemia led to a distortion of prices and to a welfare loss for domestic agriculture. Independently of Adam Smith he arrived at similar arguments but also held that liberalization would improve public morality and thus enhance general welfare. Though now largely forgotten, Schindler’s one book on economics is an interesting example for the use of physiocratic arguments intended to make Joseph II abandon traditional cameralist policies. The Catholic Enlightenment had a strong influence on Schindler’s concern that trade protectionism may suborn the moral corruption of society.
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