Gournay, Vincent de

Gournay, Vincent de

(văNsäN` də go͞ornā`), 1712–59, French economist, precursor of the physiocratsphysiocrats
, school of French thinkers in the 18th cent. who evolved the first complete system of economics. They were also referred to simply as "the economists" or "the sect." The founder and leader of physiocracy was François Quesnay.
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 and of Adam Smith. A wealthy merchant, he was in government service as intendant of commerce from 1751 to 1758. He translated and annotated the chief work of Josiah Child (see under Child, Sir JohnChild, Sir John,
d. 1690, English administrator in India. In 1680 he was appointed the British East India Company's agent at Surat, then the company's main factory (i.e., trading station) in W India.
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 and gathered around him a group of men interested in reforming the economy of France and in abolishing trade restrictions. His favorite phrase was "Laissez faire, laissez passer," and he is generally credited with being its originator. Unlike the physiocrats, he regarded industry and commerce as well as agriculture to be important sources of wealth.
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