Who is François Quesnay?June 25, 2021
François QuesnFrançois Quesnay was a French physician and economist who lived from 1694 to 1774. He is the leader of the economists known as the Physiocrats.
Born into a middle-class family, François Quesnay, after studying medicine, became the chief surgeon of the Hôtel-Dieu in Mantes. He gained great fame as a surgeon and obstetrician. In his Observations on the Effects of Bloodletting, written in 1730, he refuted the arguments that had been made on the subject up to that time. In 1736 he published his book, The Physical Essay on Animal Economics. Permanent secretary of the Academy of Surgery in 1737, to Madame de Ponpadour in 1749, and to King XV in 1752. He became Louis’ physician.
In the apartment reserved for him in the Versailles Castle, Quesnay brought together the people of the palace who were interested in economic issues and who would form the physiocrat group in the future, such as Diderot, Turgot, Marquis of Mirabeau, Dupont de nemours, Lemercier de La Rivière.
Quesnay, the founder of the physiocracy or school of physiocrats, who put forward a general theory of society and was based on two basic concepts, one philosophical (“natural order”) and the other economic (“pure product”), expressed his teaching in two articles in Diderot’s Encyclopedia (” farmer” (1756) and “grain” (1757). In 1758 he published his main work, The Economic Table, in which he embodied his view of natural economic laws.
Claiming that the source of wealth in the social structure is only agriculture, Quesnay wanted to give importance to free exchange and especially the free movement of grains.
Quesnay, who was interested in economic issues after the age of sixty, took advantage of the opportunities of the palace and gathered many intellectuals around him. Here she met Adam Smith. He died in 1774 while serving as a doctor at the Palace of Versailles.
Ouesnay is a great economist with a strong sense of coherence and synthesis. The assumption that only agriculture produces net production and that industry is inefficient; proposal for a single tax on land rent; understanding of natural order; He is an economist and thinker known for his slogan of Tableau Economique laissez-faire, in which he describes how the output of those engaged in agricultural activities is distributed among social classes, and for being the pioneer of Physiocratic Economic Thought, which was in demand in France in the 1750s. In Quesnay’s time there was the notion that agriculture was the engine of economic growth, and this thought played a key role in the emergence of Physiocratic ideas. Even after the industrial revolution began and the influence of the Physiocrats waned, the emphasis on the importance of agriculture was made with reference to Quesnay’s writings.
Thinkers and economists such as Smith and Marx were influenced by Quesnay. While Smith was influenced by the physiocratic distinction between the productive classes, which play an important role in the reproduction of the economy, and the unproductive classes, which produce the substances necessary for consumption; It influenced Marx’s ideas on economic analysis, which pointed to the existence of a surplus value greater than sufficient to make a living, due to the function of workers in the formation of agricultural and industrial output.
Quesnay’s intellectual rivals were Mercantilism and Kolbertism, which placed emphasis on manufacturing and industry, albeit against French agriculture. Therefore, the practical programs of the Physiocrats were to abolish the obstacles in the countryside and the taxes left over from the Middle Ages; modernize the financial system by reducing the mixed tax system to a single tax on land rent; transforming small businesses into large-scale agricultural establishments; keeping the grain trade free of all mercantilist restrictions; In short, it was to compete with England. These views were logical in Quesnay’s time.
The first articles he published in the field of economics were articles written for the Encyclopedia in 1756 and 1757 when he was 60 years old. In 1758, he wrote the Economic Table, a kind of input-output table, in which he explained how the income between classes circulates every year, that the subject of circulation is not money, but goods, and that money is a tool that facilitates circulation. Later, together with one of his supporters, the Marquis de Mirabeau, he wrote the book Philosophie Rurale, explaining the Physiocratic doctrine. His other writings are collected in the book titled La Physiocratie, edited by another supporter, Du Pont de Numours (1739-1817), and named after Quesnay’s followers.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM Who is May?