Jean Baptiste Say

(redirected from Jean-Baptiste Say)
Also found in: Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Say, Jean Baptiste


Born Jan. 5, 1767, in Lyon; died Nov. 15, 1832, in Paris. French economist, one of the first representatives of vulgar political economy. An ideologist of the big bourgeoisie, Say advocated free trade and opposed intervention by the state in the economy. From 1819 he was a professor of political economy. His principal work is A Treatise on Political Economy (1803; Russian translation of individual chapters, 1896).

Say considered himself a commentator on and popularizer of the teachings of A. Smith, but in fact he vulgarized Smith’s views. He believed that the laws of capitalist production are eternal and that consumption is the goal of economic activity. In his opinion, utility, production costs, and supply and demand are the basis of value. Drawing on Smith’s dogma, Say created a vulgar apologetic theory of production factors, pervaded by the idea that labor, capital, and nature play equal roles in the creation of value. Thus, Say denied the exploitative character of capitalist production and preached the harmony of class interests. Say was mistaken in his views, because the production factors—concrete labor, the means of production (in the terminology of bourgeois political economy, capital), and nature—play a role only in the creation of the consumption value of a good. The sole source of value is abstract labor. The acquisition of a portion of value, the surplus value, is the aim of capitalist production.

Say idealized the system of free enterprise and denied the inevitability of general crises of overproduction, admitting only the possibility of the overproduction of particular goods. He formulated a law of markets, according to which the exchange of one product for another results automatically in an equilibrium between purchase and sale. Say ignored the circumstance that the development of commodity exchange intensifies the contradiction between value and consumption value, leading to the isolation of money as a special commodity and to the emergence of a gap between the acts of buying and selling.

Say’s concepts were criticized by K. Marx. His apologetic views, particularly the theory of production factors and the law of markets, were extensively used in vulgar bourgeois political economy.


Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 3, ch. 48. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch. 2nd ed., vol. 25, part 2.
Marx, K. “Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (vol. 4 of Kapital). Appendix. Ibid., vol. 26, part 3.
Markov, I. G. Zh. B. Sei. (Ego zhizn’, deiatel’nost’ i uchenie). Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.
Anikin, A. V. lunost’nauki. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As someone who studies the Austrian school of economic theory quite often as a Libertarian anarcho-capitalist, I could say that fellow scholars (living and dead) like Milton and Thomas Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Steven Horowitz, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Jean-Baptiste Say and my personal favorite, Murray Rothbard, would agree that governmental mandates to increase wages is a bad idea.
There's an old law in economics called Say's Law that states: 'Supply creates its own demand.' Jean-Baptiste Say, the 19th-century French economist to whom the principle is attributed, didn't actually use those words, but wrote: 'A product is no sooner created, than it, from that instant, affords a market for other products to the full extent of its own value.' Classical economists throughout the 19th century believed in the principle, until John Maynard Keynes turned it around in the 1930s, arguing that raising demand was the key to get out of the Great Depression.
French economist Jean-Baptiste Say explained entrepreneurship in a great way.
(2001), "Jean-Baptiste Say and Spontaneous Order", History of Political Economy, vol.
It was received with great acclaim not only by the public but also by economists such as Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and Thomas Robert Malthus.
Jean-Baptiste Say: Revolutionary, Entrepreneur, Economist
Classical liberalism is built on ideas that had already arisen by the end of the 18th century, such as selected ideas of Adam Smith, John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, stressing the belief in free market and natural law, utilitarianism, and progress.
Money and banking in Jean-Baptiste Say's economic thought.
Buechner's claim that "there is no law of supply and demand as such in economics" and, while joining him in that error, she nevertheless deploys such concepts as "buyers" and "sellers"--precisely those who demand and supply things in accord with the law of supply and demand (which was concisely defined by Jean-Baptiste Say, as quoted in my review).
As explained in chapter four, attempts to square rising levels of wealth and public indebtedness with a stable constitutional order inspired and bedeviled thinkers, such as Roederer and Jean-Baptiste Say, who lived through and tried to understand, if not direct, the course of the French Revolution.
The French economist Jean-Baptiste Say, Smith's continental disciple, actually published one of the more compelling arguments on the economic rationality, at least in the short run, of slaveholding planters.
Republicanism and the French Revolution: An Intellectual History of Jean-Baptiste Say's Political Economy.