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La nourriture les bestiaux: nota sull'evoluzione del tableau economique

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  • Paolo Trabucchi
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    Fodder for live-stock was, in Quesnay’s view, a critical portion of the farmer’s circulating capital. By increasing recourse to stabling it increased the availability of manure which in turn would increase yield per acre of land. Expenditure on fodder is in fact the single item that best of all characterizes the more general revolution in technical and social relations advocated by Quesnay for French agriculture of his time and often referred to as the passage from petite to grande culture. Yet in Quesnay’s tableau économique a quite unprecedented assumption (as far as Quesnay’s own earlier writings are concerned), according to which each class divides its expense half on agricultural produce and half on manufactured goods, makes it impossible to give explicit account of this part of capital in the diagram. The present note tries to follow the rather complex course of changes the treatment of this quantity of fodder – “la nourriture des bestiaux†– underwent through the different versions of the tableau, from the first “edition†of 1758 to the Formule of 1767: Quesnay’s puzzling remarks on population in the first two “editions†, the introduction of interests on original advances in the third, the suppression of fodder in L’Ami des Hommes, its final accounting outside the tableau in Philosophie rurale and in the Analyse de la Formule. Several obscure passages in Quesnay’s notes to the tableau are thus clarified and a better understanding of its general evolution made possible.

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    Paper provided by University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics in its series Working Papers with number 112.

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    Length: 28
    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp112
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