Richard Cantillon

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cantillon, Richard


Born 1680; died 1734. Banker, economist, and demographer. One of the first to study the capitalist mode of production.

An Irishman by origin, Cantillon was a businessman in Great Britain and France. His book Essay on the Nature of Commerce was published posthumously in French in 1755. Cantillon was the first to try to depict the circulation of industrial capital in the form of a diagram (this was done later by F. Quesnay in a more developed and logically consistent form). Many propositions developed by Cantillon (such as the differentiation between profit and entrepreneurial income, the analysis of the effect of currency devaluation on commerce, and the relationship between the amount of money in circulation and the mass of goods) were subsequently accepted in bourgeois political economy.


Eidel’nant, A. B. “Kantil’on i ego mesto v teorii vosproizvodstva (K istorii Ekonomicheskoi tablitsy Kene).” Vestnik Komakakademii, 1927, book 23, PP. 120–48.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Richard Cantillon's essay on the nature of trade in general.
It was first defined by the Irish-French economist, Richard Cantillon, as a person who pays a certain price for a product, only to resell it at an uncertain price, thereby: 'making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise.'
Yet, the fact is that entrepreneurship is actually one the oldest economic and social phenomena studied, and its academic roots can be traced back nearly 300 years to the early 18th century and the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon.
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Richard Cantillon (168?-173?) is widely considered the father of economic theory for providing the first theoretical analysis of commerce in his Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, posthumously and anonymously published in 1755.
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The term is originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome.
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The Irish economist established in France, Richard Cantillon, has the historic honour of `coining' the term `entrepreneur' in economic literature.
Political economy, whose leading eighteenth-century champions were Richard Cantillon, Francois Quesnay, and Adam Smith, followed up on Thomas Hobbes and William Petty's supposition that individuals behaved in the economic realm as rational, self-centered decision makers.
If Richard Cantillon had not written the Essai sur la nature du commerce en general, he would, nonetheless, have acquired some modest fame as a successful insider dealer and occasional associate of john Law of Lauriston, one of the pioneers of the junk bond.