John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker

Hardcover | February 1, 1997

byAntoin E. Murphy

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John Law (1671-1729) left a remarkable legacy of economic concepts from a time when economic conceptualization was very much at an embryonic stage. Yet he is best known--and generally dismissed--today as a rake, duellist, and gambler. This intellectual biography offers a new approach to Law,one that shows him to have been a significant economic theorist with a vision that he attempted to implement as policy in early-eighteenth-century Europe. Law's style, marked by a clarity and use of modern terminology, stands out starkly against the turgid prose of many of his contemporaries. His vision of a monetary and financial system was certainly one of a later age, for Law believed in an economy of banknotes and credit where specie had no roleto play. Ultimately Law failed as a policy-maker, in part because of the entrenchment of the financiers and their aristocratic backers and in part because of theoretical flaws in his vision. His struggle for power took place against the background of Europe's first major stock boom and collapse.The collapse of the Mississippi System, which he had conceived, and the South Sea Bubble led to a lasting impression of Law as a failure. It is this impression that Antoin Murphy seeks to dispel.

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John Law (1671-1729) left a remarkable legacy of economic concepts from a time when economic conceptualization was very much at an embryonic stage. Yet he is best known--and generally dismissed--today as a rake, duellist, and gambler. This intellectual biography offers a new approach to Law,one that shows him to have been a significa...

Antoin E. Murphy is at Trinity College,.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:404 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.06 inPublished:February 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019828649X

ISBN - 13:9780198286493

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`adds usefully to the study of Law ... a rational sympathetic treatment of Law's efforts to convert the French financial system from specie to paper notes ... One of this book's many virtues is a careful analysis of the documents brought together by Paul Harsin in the three volumes of what hecalled Law's Oeuvres completes ... The result of this critical scholarship is an impressive documentation ... this is a fine addition to the subject as a whole and deserves to be widely read.'J.F. Bosher, York University, Toronto, EHR, June 1999