Antoine de Montchrétien

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Montchrétien, Antoine de


Born 1575, in Falaise, Calvados; died Oct. 8, 1621, in Tourailles, Orne. French economist.

Montchrétien first introduced the term “political economy.” His Treatise on Political Economy, published in 1615, formulated the economic policy of the nascent bourgeoisie in the spirit of mercantilism. Montchrétien’s views reflected the transition from the bullion system to developed mercantilism. He advocated an expansion of trade, defended the right of merchants to big profits, and demanded a limitation on the activity of the foreign merchants who were pumping the wealth out of France. Montchrétien condemned the luxurious life of the nobility and expressed sympathy with the popular masses, especially the peasants oppressed by feudalism.