1.7 — Cantillon, Physiocrats, & Turgot — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Today we discuss Richard Cantillon, the Physiocrats, and A.R.J. Turgot.


Required Readings:

  • Cantillon, Quesnay, and Turgot, and their writings in Reader

If You Hadn’t Yet:

  • Finish Ch.3 Early Preclassical Economic Thought in Landreth & Colander
  • Finish Ch.1 Pre-Adamite Economics in Blaug

Questions to Help Your Reading

  • What does Cantillon have to say about ‘undertakers’ (entrepreneurs)?
  • What does Cantillon have to say about (Locke’s) quantity theory of money, and whether an increase in the money supply truly leads to a proportionate increase in prices?
  • What do Quesnay & the physiocrats have to say about agriculture? Why is it so much more productive (increasing the “net product”) than manufacturing?
    • What does the famous Tableau economique imply?
    • How is this like the famous circular flow in macroeconomics? How is it different?
  • What does Turgot have to say about capital?
    • How is it related to savings, and ‘advances’?
    • How is capital related to land and labor?
    • Who are capitalists? How do they relate to landowners or proprietors and undertakers?
  • What is the difference between a capitalist and an entrepreneur, in their economic functions? Are they often the same people, or different people?
  • Most of the writers like to classify different groups in society (e.g. productive and unproductive labor; workers, landowners, capitalists, proprietors, undertakers, etc), and this trend will continue for quite some time. How rigid should these classifications be? Is it anything other than an analytic tool (i.e. are there social, political, moral implications)? Is this useful?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Sep 16

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday September 16.

Tournament Votes

The first round of the Pre-Classical division of the “Most Interesting Economist in History” tournament is live. Please post your votes in the discussion board.