Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press
JOHN LAW P: Economic Theorist and Policy-Maker

JOHN LAW P: Economic Theorist and Policy-Maker

by Antoin 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 role to 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198823483
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Pages: 406
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Antoin E. Murphy is a retired Professor of Economics and Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin. He was a visiting scholar at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, the Institut d'Études Démographiques in Paris, the Hoover Institution, and the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His special interests are in macroeconomics, monetary economics, and the history of monetary thought. He was one of the founding and joint managing editors of the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Law's Writing and his Critics
3. Law's Background
4. Duelling Beaux
5. The 'Gambling' Banker
6. Metamorphosis: John Law the Economist
7. The Edinburgh Environment in 1705
8. Money and Trade
9. The Conceptualization of the System
10. France 1714-1715
11. The Establishment of the General Bank
12. The Establishment of the Company of the West
13. The Slow Development of the System
14. The Rise and Rise of the Mississippi Company, 1719
15. A Specie-less France, 1720
16. The Lull before the Storm
17. The Measures of 21 May 1720
18. Law the Improviser
19. Requiem for the Banknote
20. The Possibility of a Recall to France
21. Death in Venice

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