pp. 1-26: Pietro Sebastianelli

Alle origini del liberalismo. Boisguilbert e la questione del commerce des grains


Between the late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth century, in France, something decisive takes place within the texts that deal with the vexed question of the commerce des grains. This fundamental event, that would revolutionize economic thought, is the publication, in 1707, of Pierre Le Pesant de Boisguilbert’s Traité de la nature, culture, commerce intérêt et des grains. Boisguilbert’s arguments were aimed at supporting the “liberalization” of the commerce des grains. This event, in addition to revolutionizing the grid of constituted knowledge around the economy, would help to open the way for a new form of governmentality. This article describes this event through a comparison with another text published in France in those years, the Traité de la Police by Nicolas Delamare to show how, starting with Boisguilbert, economic thought was transformed into a completely different form of rationality, anticipating what soon would be called “physiocracy”.

Keywords: Boisguilbert – Mercantilism – Physiocracy – Liberalism – Governmentality

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