- 経済学史研究 (ISSN:18803164)
- vol.52, no.1, pp.20-34, 2010-07-26
The purpose of this article is to examine the changes in the role played by the government in the market according to the theories of the French political economy from the 1780s to the 1830s. These theories are generally regarded as the precursors of "economics." This article reveals that these theories attempt to use the market politically aiming to develop the people's "well-being" or "happiness," and to redefine the government's role in the market. At the beginning of nineteenth century, J. B. Say and C. Dunoyer emphasized the political significance of a free industrial market. According to them, it enables the people's "moeurs" to be independent and self-disciplined, so as to establish a post-revolutionary political order. Some contemporary political economists such as J. Droz and M. T. Duchatel doubted the compatibility between the accumulation of wealth and the development of "happiness" of the people. They asserted the need for elementary education as it leads to the redistribution of "new wealth." Moreover, social economists from the 1830s, such as A. de Villeneuve-Bargemont and E. Buret, emphatically discussed the perverse effect of industrialization, stating that the concentration of capital inevitably caused the pauperization of most of the people. They believed that the new role of the government should be the "moralization" of the poor through the organization of intermediate groups such as religious associations, saving associations, charity groups, mutual societies, and patriarchal families.