Colloquium on J.B. Say

Dates and location TBA

Attendance is strictly by invitation only. Suggestions/feedback welcome – please email me.

Main reading: Say, J.B., ([1803] 1855) A Treatise on Political Economy (translation of the 4th Edition) – print copy at Amazon, or see this free pdf, or Library of Economics and Liberty.

1. Entrepreneurship

  • Schumpeter, Joseph (1954) History of Economic Analysis p.556-557?
  • Say, Ch. on “The profits of the entrepreneur”
  • Rothbard, M, “J.B. Say Salvages the Entrepreneur” excerpted from An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (1995), volume 2, chapter 1: “J.B. Say: the French tradition in Smithian clothing.”
  • NB: the 1821 edition translated “entrepreneur” as “adventurer” which is clumsy. Perhaps contrast with Kirzner and Foss/Klein.

2. Utility vs. the labour theory of value

  • (1803) p.24, Vol 1 (page 3 of the second edition)
  • Verify from the beginning of 1819 (4th ed) onwards, e.g., “production is not creation, it is the production of utility”, consumption = the destruction of utility, “immaterial products” = services [uses the example of doctors and medicine to criticise Smith]
  • Some Adam Smith on “immaterial products” (see above)

3. International trade and public choice

  • Smith, Adam (1766) Wealth of Nations, Book IV
  • Ricardo David — section on international trade
  • Chaptal, Jean-Antoine (1819) L’industrie Francaise (covers infant industries in Vol II, see pp. 430-431, 434, 450, 456
  • Say Ch.17, Book 1 “The effects of the administrations regulations having the goal of influencing production”, Vol 1, pp.179-81 and pp.206-208 (on special interests)

4. Classical business cycle theory

  • Harberler (1937) Prosperity and Depression [sections?] (free pdf)
  • Hayek’s “Paradox of Saving” (see Prices and Production)

5. Keynes on ‘Says Law’

  • Keynes, John Maynard (1936) The General Theory, Ch. 2 ‘Postulates of Classical Economics (pp.18-22 of CW VII), Ch. 3 ‘Effective Demand” (pp.25-26 of CW VII)
  • Kates (1998) Say’s Law and the Keynesian revolution, Elgar, Ch 1 pp.10-19
  • Kates (1998) Say’s Law and the Keynesian revolution, Elgar, Ch 7 pp. 130-145

6. The generally accepted view

  • Lange ([1942] 1970) “Say’s Law: a restatement and criticism” in Papers in Economics and Sociology, Oxford: Pergamon Press
  • Becker and Baumol (1952) “Classical Economic Theory”, Economica, Vol. 19, pp. 355-376
  • Schumpeter ([1954] 1986) History of Economic Analysis, pp. 617, 618, 619 & 739
  • Patinkin ([1956] 1965) Money, interest and prices, New York University Press p. 193
  • Blaug, Mark (1958) Ricardian economics, a history study, Yale University Press, section on ‘Defense of the law of markets’ (pp.89-93)

7. The response

  • Hutt (1974) A rehabilitation of Says Law, Ohio University Press, the ‘Introduction’, pp.1-12
  • Sowell, Thomas, ([1974] 1994] Classical economics reconsidered, Princeton section on ‘Say’s Law’ (pp.35-52)
  • Clower and Leijonhvud (1973) “Say’s Principle: What it does mean and what it doesn’t mean” Intermountain Economic Review, Vol 4., pp. 1-16
  • Kates (1998) Say’s Law and the Keynesian revolution, Elgar, Appendix B, pp.223-225

8. Say and the Austrians

  • Mises, “Lord Keynes and Says Law” in ‘Planning for Freedom’, pp.64-71
  • Hazlitt (1959) Failure of the New Economics, pp.31-42 (approx.)
  • Horwitz, S “Say’s Law of markets: an Austrian appreciation” in Kates (ed) Two Hundred Years of Say’s Law: Essays on Economic Theory’s Most Controversial Principles

9. The EEJ Symposium

Other works to possibly incorporate:

Kates (ed) Two Hundred Years of Say’s Law: Essays on Economic Theory’s Most Controversial Principles

Some excellent blog posts and comments:

Steve Horwitz has two Freeman articles for the general reader:

Also [see photos]:

  • A footnote in the 1814 second edition of Treatise foresaw rail roads
  • Letter to Jefferson – Say didn’t seem to realise that he’d be a neighbour, and didn’t seem to realise that he’d most probably own slaves were he to emigrate