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John Law : Economic Theorist and Policy-maker - Antoin E. Murphy

John Law

Economic Theorist and Policy-maker

Hardcover

Published: 1st March 1997
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John Law (1671-1729) left a remarkable legacy of economic concepts from a time when economic conceptualization was very much at an embryonic stage. Yet he is best known--and generally dismissed--today as a rake, duellist, and gambler. This intellectual biography offers a new approach to Law, one that shows him to have been a significant economic theorist with a vision that he attempted to implement as policy in early-eighteenth-century Europe. Law's style, marked by a clarity and use of modern terminology, stands out starkly against the turgid prose of many of his contemporaries. His vision of a monetary and financial system was certainly one of a later age, for Law believed in an economy of banknotes and credit where specie had no role to play. Ultimately Law failed as a policy-maker, in part because of the entrenchment of the financiers and their aristocratic backers and in part because of theoretical flaws in his vision. His struggle for power took place against the background of Europe's first major stock boom and collapse. The collapse of the Mississippi System, which he had conceived, and the South Sea Bubble led to a lasting impression of Law as a failure. It is this impression that Antoin Murphy seeks to dispel.

`Dr Murphy deserves our gratitude for having now rescued two remarkable men in a remarkable century from undeserved obscurity.' Irish Independent `Impressive book. In a series of clearly written short chapters Murphy outlines Law's early career ... With deft archival detective work Murphy sorts out Law's genuine publications from the many false attributions, and argues that he was an original thinker who left behind a rich vein of economic writing ... This is not the first study of the unusual Scotsman's career, but is by far the most complete and authoritative, written with great clarity and based on meticulous research.' The Irish Times `Aside from Murphy's masterful account of Law's contribution to economic thought, the book contains other stories to read.' Finance `Murphy's exploration of Law's own canon is sophisticated, scholarly and convincing... the most profound, sound and thoughtful study of Law available. The treatment of the Company of the West is masterly; as a claim for Law as an economist, Murphy's case is powerful and a valuable corrective to the easy dismissals of caricature. This is a very important study.' Murray G.H. Pittock, Eighteenth-Century Ireland `Dr Murphy deserves our gratitude for having now rescued two remarkable men in a remarkable century from undeserved obscurity.' Irish Independent `A detailed exegesis of his writings.' The Observer Review section, 6 July 1997 `Few have had the economic expertise and archival experience that Antoin Murphy displays in this impressive book. In a series of clearly written short chapters, Murphy outlines Law's early career, and the influence on his thinking of the growth of large banking and trading companies in Britain or the United Provinces ... This is not the first study of the unusual Scotsman's career, but is by far the most complete and authoritative, written with great clarity and based on meticulous research.' Irish Times `adds usefully to the study of Law ... a rational sympathetic treatment of Law's efforts to convert the French financial system from specie to paper notes ... One of this book's many virtues is a careful analysis of the documents brought together by Paul Harsin in the three volumes of what he called Law's Oeuvres completes ... The result of this critical scholarship is an impressive documentation ... this is a fine addition to the subject as a whole and deserves to be widely read.' J.F. Bosher, York University, Toronto, EHR, June 1999

Preface and Acknowledgementsp. vii
Abbreviations for Principal Sourcesp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Law's Writings and His Criticsp. 8
Law's Backgroundp. 14
Duelling Beauxp. 20
The 'Gambling' Bankerp. 35
Metamorphosis: John Law the Economistp. 45
The Edinburgh Environment in 1705p. 67
Money and Tradep. 76
Appendixp. 103
The Conceptualization of the Systemp. 105
Appendix: Technical Proposals In The Bank Of Turin Manuscriptp. 122
The Establishment of the General Bankp. 149
The Establishment of the Company of the Westp. 164
The Slow Development of the Systemp. 173
Appendixp. 186
The Rise and Rise of the Mississippi Company, 1719p. 188
A Specie-Less France, 1720p. 213
The Lull Before the Stormp. 231
The Measures of 21 May 1720p. 244
Law the Improviserp. 265
Requiem for the Banknotep. 293
The Possibility of a Recall to Francep. 312
Death in Venicep. 323
Conclusionp. 331
Notesp. 335
Bibliographyp. 367
Chronological Index of Arrêts, édits, etcp. 379
General Indexp. 381
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198286493
ISBN-10: 019828649X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 406
Published: 1st March 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.84